Drilling into bricks

Hey peeps,
I’m in the middle of my first serious DIY project at home involving brick laying, drainage pipes, batons, and all sort of new-to-me construction stuff.

I also have a fancy new drill with hammering action. I’m pretty sure I’m doing something wrong though because I’ve managed to break the tip of 2 of the masonry bits.
I’ve googled a bit about it and people suggest to use the slow speed setting of the drill.
Is that the correct thing to do?
Is there anything else I need to be aware of when drilling into bricks?


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Hi David,:smiley: right use low speed high torque do not use the hammer setting , push in and let the drill bit do the work remembering to use a push in/ pull out technique to clear the swarf (rubbish out ) be careful on the amount of heat that you are exposing the bit to as this will weaken it and it will either go blunt or snap. I hope this is of some help, keep well Brian D=

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No hammer setting? What should I use the hammer setting for then?

The hammer setting is great for using on long fencing screws or hard woods like oak, trying to use a hammer action on a solid surface like concreate or brick will either damage the surface of the material or break the drill bit due to brick being a solid and having no give like wood has (fibre within the material which acts as a pliable moving material ) Brick is hard baked at high temperatures with no fibre therefore no movement

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Interesting… I mounted a wooden base for a doorbell onto brick last week. I drilled holes for rawlplugs. The normal drill action wasn’t doing anything but the hammer action worked in no time. That was with a masonry bit. The brick was probably very old and quite forgiving compared to a new one.

Are you using a proper masonry drill bit? Hammer setting is technically designed for use on brick, concrete and masonry (sorry @platinumnqueen22).

The reason your drill bit might be breaking is from the reinforcing steel that’s in the material you are going into.

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Any idea on the type of brick?

Most old bricks are fairly easy to drill…but engineering bricks can wreck drill bits with ease

Are you getting any headway in the material?

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I’ve managed to drill a few holes, I think the combination of speed and not letting the drill out at all might have caused the bit to overheat. As soon as the sun comes out I’ll try with the new technique :slight_smile:

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This is my general wall drilling advice.

Please wear appropriate PPE.
eg. ear defenders/plugs and safety glasses.

Please check for pipes and wires.

Walls can often be different materials in different places. So, tap the wall with your knuckle, where you’re going to drill, and start drilling gently.

Having drilled 1000s of holes in most types of wall, there are some materials which simply destroy drill bits.

Hammer drills are different to impact drivers, which make light work of screws, including extraction. I’ve heard that you can use impact drivers for drilling but I haven’t tried it yet. You might need ‘impact rated’ drill/driver bits.

Using good quality drill bits and the following steps will help:

  1. ‘Gently’ make a small dent/hole with nail/screw and hammer, to help prevent the drill bit jumping all over the place when you start drilling.

  2. Start with the smallest ‘quality/professional’ masonry or multi-construction bit you can find (Bosch, Dewalt, etc).
    I had a fairly expensive 3mm until it got destroyed by an inconsiderate wall of type unknown. I’ve now settled on a much cheaper 3.5mm from FFX

  3. Start on non-hammer and progress to hammer, if necessary.

  4. Increase the hole size eg. 5/6mm, then 8mm, then 10mm. Again starting with non-hammer as it may become unnecessary as you progress up in size.

  5. On concrete or other super hard materials, a more powerful drill will make the job a lot faster/easier.
    eg. a 36v SDS made light work of some new bricks whereas an 18v struggled. Also a mains powered 500w or above should work well.

I second the PPE. Drilling masonry and repeated use of impact drivers are a recipe for tinnitus. Ear defenders a must.

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I was having trouble with my cordless hammer drill not really making much progress with holes in stone and so stumped for the following

I found it astoundingly useful over 2 years.
Even the bundled drill bits eat brick for breakfast. Slow speed, high torque with hammer but also the sheer weight of the drill helps.

Used the demolition hammer mode to excavate a brick and cement hearth. Tile lifting.
Mixing plaster with a paddle.

Well worth the price for me.

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I’ve got one of them it’s a complete Beast, is probably a bit much for most jobs

This Bosch is a more sensible size

I haven’t checked those 2 but consider getting one with the feature to disable the rotary action, which is useful for demolition work.

I’ve found Bosch products are usually of good quality but Silverline/Silverstorm(?) make something similar for less debt notes.

And many types of dust aren’t particularly good for us either