Home Repair

How to drill holes into a masonry walls

To drill the required holes in a masonry wall, you can use either a star drill or a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit. Star drills are hammered in much like a cold chisel. Instead of a single cutting edge ( like a chisel) , the star drill has two crossed cutting edges which form a sort of star-shaped pattern. To drive one of these, a heavy hammer should be used. The drill is struck repeatedly with steady blows, rotating it slightly after each stroke.

A carbide-tipped bit is used with an ordinary electric drill. Bits up to 1/2 inch in diameter can be purchased with 1/4 -inch shanks so that they can be used in standard 1/4 -inch drills. To keep bits from wearing rapidly, bear down hard with steady pressure so that the bit cannot slip inside its hole. Releasing pressure while the bit is turning will permit it to slip—and will cause it to dull rapidly.

For light-duty jobs where the stress is parallel to the surface (rather than straight out), smaller fiber or plastic anchors can be used. These come in smaller sizes than the lead anchors and are designed to accept conventional wood screws rather than bolts. Anchors of this kind are particularly suitable for use in brick walls, and they are widely used for such jobs as hanging fireplace tools on a mantel, hanging pictures or mirrors and fastening shutters on brick or stucco.

For jobs where a great many fasteners are required, there are special tools which can be used. These enable the handyman to anchor wood or metal to concrete almost as easily as ordinary lumber can be nailed up. The tools drive in threaded studs or nail-like fasteners which are made of specially tempered steel. They will hold permanently in concrete, cinder block or brick, and they eliminate the need for boring holes beforehand.

Called stud drivers, these tools generally fall into one of two categories. The commercial or industrial models are powder-actuated. That is, they use gunpowder in special cartridges which are similar to those used in ordinary firearms. Instead of a metal bullet or slug, the driver “fires” a steel stud or nail into the concrete.