Thursday, July 25, 2024

How to successfully drill masonry 

The growing DIY popularity in the UK has seen many homeowners tackling projects that involve drilling into masonry for hanging shelves, installing cupboards or securing garden features.  

Brick, concrete and stone are robust and drilling into them requires a different approach to softer materials like wood or plasterboard. With the right knowledge and a few key tips, you can conquer your next project like a pro!  

This article outlines essential tips to ensure a safe and successful drilling experience. 

Photo by Matt Antonioli on Unsplash

Safety first 

Safety should always be your top priority. While taking on this task, wear goggles, a mask and hearing protection.  

Masonry dust can be harmful, particularly if it contains silica as it can cause lung problems. Loud noises can damage your hearing too, so invest in a good pair of ear defenders. 

Mark precisely 

Before you start, take your time to guarantee your holes are exactly where you want them. Use a spirit level to check for straight lines and a masonry marking tool like a scribe to mark the drilling location.  

A wobbly drill bit can lead to cracked masonry and uneven holes, so taking this step can save you time and frustration later. 

Choose the right drill bit 

Don’t even think about attempting to drill masonry with a standard bit! You’ll need a hammer drill and high-quality drill bits for concrete and masonry.  

Masonry bits have unique heads made from extremely hard tungsten carbide. These are designed with two functions: to rotate and cut to deliver a hammering action that breaks up tough material.  

Start slow and apply pressure 

Unlike wood or plastic, patience is key when drilling masonry. Here are some steps to follow to improve your chances of success: 

  1. Begin slowly and let the hammer drill do the work. This hammering will gradually break up the material.  
  1. As the bit bites into the material, you can gradually increase the pressure on the drill.  
  1. Take breaks to clear dust from the hole using a pump action on the drill or a bulb syringe. This will help the bit perform more effectively and prevent overheating. 

Clean up thoroughly 

Use a hoover to remove dust and debris once you’re done. This is especially important to prevent future cracking around the hole and to ensure a secure fit for your anchors or fasteners. Residual dust can make it difficult for the fastener and the masonry to bond. 

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