How to Drill a Hole Through Wall


Let’s accept it – calling a professional to get every little thing done around the house is just not practical. Each one of us has had to don the work hat of the handyman at least once in our lifetime.

While heavy and extensive jobs are best left to the professionals, you should be able to handle drilling a few holes through a wall. And if you doubt your skills, we are here to help you along the way.

intro drill hole through wall

Using the right drill is very important. For heavy-duty concrete, you may need a hammer drill or rotary hammer, but don’t go that far yet.

A general purpose drilling set should have all the drilling and screwing bits that you’ll need to work around the house. You can rent or buy a high-quality drill kit, such as Bosch, DeWalt or Makita brands.

Also, get acquainted with screw anchors or wall plugs, which you’ll need to hold a screw in the hole you drill. Keep in mind that you can always make a hole bigger, but you can never make it smaller. So, err on the side of the caution.

Whether you want to install a new shelf in the kitchen, make a DIY bee trap or just need to put a screw in a wall to hang a picture, here is how to drill a hole through any wall.

Method 1: Drill a Hole in a Brick Wall

To drill a hole in a brick wall, you’ll need to use the masonry bit that is specifically designed for such hard surfaces.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to drill a hole through brick wall

  • Hammer
  • Power drill
  • Masonry bit
  • Pencil
  • Black tape
  • Slot-head/flat-head bit
  • Slot-head/flat-head screws
  • Plastic screw anchors
  • Ornament that you need to hang

Step 1. Mark the drill points on the wall

mark the drill point on the wall

  • Use a pencil to mark the points on the wall where you intend to drill a hole.
  • Make sure the markings are accurate, especially if you are drilling more than one hole to install or hang an item.

Step 2. Mark the depth of the hole on the drill bit

mark the depth of hole on the drill

  • Hold a screw anchor of the right size lengthwise next to the masonry drill bit.
  • Mark the length of the screw anchor on the drill bit with black tape. This will help you know when you’ve drilled far enough into the wall.

Step 3. Drill the hole

drill the hole

  • Attach the masonry bit to the chuck of the power drill.
  • Hold the drill bit perpendicular to the wall at one of the drill point markings.
  • Start drilling the hole without applying pressure. Apply pressure only after the tip of the drill bit is firmly encased in the wall.
  • Keep drilling until the black tape on the drill bit is just inside the wall.
  • Keep the drill bit running at low speed while withdrawing it.
  • Move the running drill bit back and forth through the depth of the hole to dislodge and clear away any debris or dust created by the drilling. This will help ensure the screw anchor can be securely placed in the wall.

Step 4. Put in the screw anchor

put in the screw anchor

  • Insert the plastic screw anchor into the drilled hole. You can also lightly hammer it in place.
  • At this point, drill any other needed holes and install screw anchors in the same way.

Step 5. Drill in the screw to secure the ornament to the wall

drill the screw to secure the ornament

  • Insert a flat-head screw through the hole in the object you need to affix to the wall.
  • Use a flat-head drill bit to tighten the screw into the hole and screw anchor.

final drill hole through brick wall

Method 2: Drill a Hole in a Concrete Wall

Concrete is even tougher than a brick wall, but the masonry bit should help you tackle this as well. If you’re working with particularly strong concrete blocks, you may need to use a hammer drill.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to drill hole through concrete wall

  • Utility knife
  • Masonry bit
  • Marker
  • Slot-head/flat-head screw
  • Plastic screw anchor
  • Slot-head/flat-head bit
  • Hammer
  • Power drill

Step 1. Mark the position and depth of the hole on the wall and the drill bit

marke the position and depth of the hole

  • Mark the point on the concrete where you want to drill the hole.
  • Mark the depth of the hole lengthwise on the masonry drill bit with black tape. You can use the length of the screw anchor as a reference.

Step 2. Drill the hole

drill the hole

  • Fix the masonry bit to the chuck of the drill.
  • Position the drill bit perpendicular to the wall, touching the marking for the hole.
  • Start drilling, but don’t apply any pressure until the tip of the drill bit is gripped in the wall.
  • Continue drilling until you reach the required depth. Stop pushing the drill in when the black tape on the drill bit reaches the surface of the hole.
  • Working through concrete may heat up your power drill and bit. Keep a bucket of water nearby to cool the drill bit every now and then. Dip just the drill bit into the water and avoid getting the rest of the drill wet.
  • Keep the drill running at low speed while withdrawing the drill bit from the hole.
  • When drilling through a horizontal surface, you need to remove the debris and dust without pushing it back through the hole. You can use a brush or a rag for this.

Step 3. Install the screw anchor

install screw anchor

  • Put the right size screw anchor into the hole. Hammer it into the depth of the hole if needed.
  • If there is any excess screw anchor sticking out, cut it off with a utility knife.

Step 4. Drill in the screw to install the fixture

drill in the screw

  • Put a flat-head screw into the screw anchor. First put it through the hole in the item you need to secure to the wall, if applicable.
  • Drive the screw in with the power drill mounted with a flat-head bit.

final drill hole through concrete wall

Method 3: Drill a Hole in a Wood or Plaster Wall

If you need to drill holes into a wood wall, you should use a wood bit with a brad point. The fine point of this drill bit ensures precision and keeps the drill from slipping during surface contact. This wood bit can also be used to drill holes in plaster walls.

When drilling holes in wood, you should always drill along the grain of the wood.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to drill a hole through wooden wall

  • Ornament that you need to hang
  • Hammer
  • Plastic screw anchors
  • Phillips head screws
  • Phillips head bit
  • Power drill
  • Wood/metal bit
  • Utility knife

Step 1. Mark the position of the hole on the wall

mark the position of hole on the wall

  • Hold the fixture that you need to install against the wall.
  • Make a mark where you need to drill the hole.
  • Use black tape to mark the length of the screw anchor on the drill bit, so you’ll know when you’ve drilled deep enough into the wall.

Step 2. Drill the hole

drill the hole

  • Mount the wood bit properly on the chuck of the drill.
  • Holding the drill perpendicular to the wall, touch the drill bit to one of the hole markings and start drilling.
  • Don’t force the drill in. Push forward only when the tip of the drill bit is embedded in the wall.
  • Continue drilling while holding the drill bit perpendicular to the wall.
  • Stop pushing the drill in when the black tape on the drill bit reaches the wall surface.
  • Operating the drill at low speed, move the drill bit back and forth through the depth of the hole to clear away any dust and debris before finally withdrawing the drill bit.

Step 3. Install the screw anchor in the hole

install the screw anchor

  • Hammer the plastic screw anchor into the drilled hole. Do it for each hole in the same manner.
  • Cut off any excess length of the screw anchor with a sharp utility knife.

Step 4. Screw in the required fixture

screw in the fixture

  • Thread the Phillips screw through the hole in the fixture and then into the hole in the wall.
  • Drill the screw in with a Phillips bit mounted on the chuck of the power drill.

final drill hole through wooden wall

Tips

  • Take proper safety precautions by wearing a dust mask, protective eyewear and gloves. You may also need ear protection if you’re working with a hammer drill.
  • While drilling holes in a wall, avoid running into fixtures like wiring and pipes. As a precaution, study the layout of the room before attempting to drill into the walls.
  • The heavier the fixture you wish to install on the wall, the more heavy-duty screw anchors you should use.
  • If you end up drilling too deep into the wall and the anchor gets lost inside the hole, you’ll need to use two anchors in that hole.
  • When drilling through brick or concrete, try to position your drilling points over mortar if possible for easier drilling.
  • Always ensure that the drill bit fits the head of the screw snugly before using it to drill the screw into the wall.
  • If you’re working on a wooden piece instead of a wall, place a scrap panel underneath the piece you are drilling into. This will not only protect your worktop, but also keep the fibers of the wood from being torn out in case you drill through the piece.
  • Tape a paper plate to the wall below the point marked for drilling. This will collect the dust and make for easier clean up afterwards. You can also ask a friend to hold a vacuum cleaner hose while you work with the drill.
  • You can also use wooden screws to install fixtures on a wood wall.
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How to Drill a Hole Through Wall

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