Should I Drill Brick or Mortar? (How-To Without Damage)

It’s not uncommon for people to wonder, “Which portion of the brick wall should I drill into?” only as they’re ready to start making holes in it. Do you recommend drilling into the brick or the mortar?

Brick is ideal for drilling into as long as it is in good shape. Stronger than mortar, it can support even bulky items like televisions. If the brick is too weak and easily cracked, then the mortar should be drilled. Unfortunately, mortar can never provide a reliable hold for anything heavier than a feather.

Not so fast! Is it not possible to just break the bricks? There is some truth to your observation; that is a problem. Inquire further into it with me.

Drilling brick vs mortar

There are differing views on whether it is better to drill into brick or mortar. The truth is that there is no single correct response because of the variety of variables involved.

With its superior strength to mortar, brick is the superior choice for supporting big loads. Brick’s sturdiness means it can hold heavy objects like televisions, paintings, or even hanging baskets.

In general, the age and condition of a brick determine whether it can be drilled through without cracking. When working with brittle bricks, drilling a deep hole can be difficult since it compromises the bricks’ structural stability.

Stress and potential cracking will rise if expansion anchors are also used. We’ll examine the possibility that improper drilling technique is to blame for the cracking of bricks.

It’s advisable to steer clear of or consult a professional function Object() { [native code] } if your bricks have chipping, flaking, cracking, or spalling (together known as “erosion”). Water and fire damage should be checked for as well.

Do what you think is right based on your gut. If you have doubts about the quality of the brickwork, you’re probably right. Once you’ve mastered the proper method, you’ll be set to go if the brickwork is in good form generally. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as dangerous as you may think.

Why avoid drilling mortar?

Its greatest asset is also its worst flaw. Mortar is weaker than brick and should not be drilled through. The diameter of the mortar joint will prevent you from drilling holes too large, limiting your options. If you drill a hole in the mortar that’s too big, the mortar will come free and fall apart.

Mortar is often misunderstood to be cement or concrete. However, mortar is merely a “glue,” while concrete stands on its own as a material in its own right. As opposed to brick, it’s quite pliable. If you want to hang something from mortar, it needs to be rather light. Use caution while hanging anything heavier than 4 pounds (2kg).

When is it better to drill into mortar?

Do not even think of drilling into mortar unless the masonry is completely inadequate. You should absolutely drill into the mortar if the object you are hanging weighs very little. Benefit #2: Mortar is soft, so it’s much simpler to drill through.

If a crack appears in the mortar between bricks, it can be easily patched. Not ideal if you accidentally drill into the wrong place or plan on removing the fixture at a later date. Mortar holes can be easily repaired using a tube of mortar repair, but brick holes are much trickier to fill and paint to match the surrounding brick.

What type of drill do I need for brick?

For brick, a hammer drill is the best option. It’s going to start a new tab. A corded model is preferable, although a high-quality cordless model would do in a pinch. Make sure it has a fully charged battery and that it has a high capacity.

Drilling into brick is a breeze with a hammer drill; if you need to make multiple huge holes, this is the instrument to use.

Use cautious if you think the brick could be a little weak. Turn off the hammer feature so that the bricks aren’t subjected to undue stress.

If this seems like a one-time job, renting a hammer drill might be worth it if you don’t already have one. Daily rental costs average $18.

What type of drill bit for brick?

A masonry bit with a carbide tip is your only option. It’s going to start a new tab. Always use a drill bit designed specifically for the material you’re drilling into, and never try to use a wood or metal bit on anything else.

Be careful not to drill too deeply into the wall, as you will need to insert plugs afterward. In order to drill a hole at the proper depth, please see the plug’s manual.

A depth-stop attachment is standard on some types of drills. If yours does not have this function, you can mark the depth at which you wish to stop drilling by wrapping multiple layers of masking tape around the drill bit and affixing the tape at the required depth.

If the hole is drilled too deeply, more than one wall plug may be required.

If you don’t think you’ll ever need your own set of drill bits again, renting them may be a better option. The average cost to rent a carbide-tipped masonry bit is roughly $4.

Can I use a regular drill for brick?

If you’re only drilling tiny holes in the brick, a standard cordless drill will work. Make certain that the masonry bit you use has a carbide tip. If the brick is particularly fragile, it may be best to use a normal drill instead. Brick requires a much larger and more powerful drill than a standard drill can handle, and even then you’ll only be able to make one or two holes at a time.

Make pilot holes before drilling into brick

Many individuals skip the step of drilling pilot holes before drilling into wood, however this is never done when working with brick. In contrast to brick, softwoods are far less dense and can usually withstand direct drilling.

Keep in mind that a wooden plank can be easily replaced, but your beautiful brick wall can’t. Don’t let idleness lead to a breach in the wall.

For the pilot holes, you’ll need a smaller drill bit, and maybe even an automated centre.

This link will open in a new window. you can punch me, too. To start a pilot hole without the drill bit slipping, automatic centre punches make a dimple in the material.

Automatic entrance punches use an internal spring mechanism, so you never have to use a hammer. In order to make a mark, simply pull the spring. If you go to your local hardware store, you can pick up a quality centre punch for under $6.

When drilling a pilot hole, go gradually at first, then increase the pressure until the bit catches. As soon as the bit starts to make progress into the target, you should increase your pace and maintain constant pressure.

How to drill brick without damage

It’s important to keep in mind the very real risk of shattering the brickwork due to improper technique.

I have compiled a list of the most vital procedures to follow in order to preserve the integrity of your brickwork and prevent its destruction. If you want to prevent expensive mistakes, however, you should read my whole post on how to drill brick without cracking it.

Remember to keep your drill perpendicular to the wall. Drilling at an angle may pose challenges with mounting alignment, and will undermine the brick’s integrity when it’s put under stress hanging your item later on.
The first step is to drill tiny holes to use as pilots. Increase the rate and force once you’ve begun drilling. To prevent the drill flutes from becoming clogged with debris, move the drill bit in and out (back and forth).
When you’re done with the hole, give it another go. Keep the drill bit spinning and repeatedly slide it in and out to remove as much debris as possible. The effectiveness of anchors and screws can be substantially increased by blowing away any leftover debris using a can of compressed air.
If there is only one speed setting on your drill, you should only use it for brief bursts.
Make sure your wall plugs or anchors can handle the weight. It’s preferable to use a stronger one than one that’s too weak for the weight of what you’re hanging if you’re not sure.

Can you hang something on a brick wall without drilling?

Hanging something on brick without drilling is possible, but only for small, light items. If you’d like a no-drill approach, I’ve provided some links to strips, fasteners, and putty that you can get from Amazon.

A brick clip is a type of fastener that can be used to hold together bricks. These are perfect for displaying photos or mirrors on brick walls with sunken mortar.
strips for hanging picturesOpens in a new window. You can also use these strips on mirrors and photographs. Prior to sending, take sure to verify the packet’s maximum weight. There is no sticky residue left behind after these strips have been attached to the wall.
The term “poster putty” opens a new browser window. This is a fantastic choice for extremely light objects like posters or miniature paintings.
Fasteners with Velcro Brand Industrial StrengthOpens in a new tab. Wonderful for usage in the great outdoors.

A word of advice before you start drilling

Drilling into brick will create a huge mess, so be prepared for that. Please have a broom and dustpan handy. Try attaching a brown paper bag to the wall as a dust catcher for a cheap and easy do-it-yourself project.

If you have any helpers around, have them hold a vacuum above the drill and a dustpan below to collect any debris that escapes.

Did I Cover Everything?

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