How To Use A Drill – An Ultimate Guide

Knowing how to use a drill is important if you’re interested in getting some DIY projects done around the house. For both professionals and well-intended individuals, drilling is a necessary skill that will come in handy from time to time. In addition, a drill is a versatile tool to have so it’ll see you through a variety of projects or tasks.

While you may have observed a drilling scene personally or on screens and figured it isn’t a big deal, there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

To get the most desirable results with a drill, you need a certain amount of precision, focus and patience. It is best to be in a calm or relaxed state before using the drill. Take a break if you’re too shaky or feeling a bit anxious.

A job done hastily and shabbily will not only waste your time, drill bits and other resources, but it’ll also come out looking haphazard which is probably not what you intended it to be. So, take the time to do an excellent job.

This guide has been prepared to help you do so without stress. You’ll learn to use a drill on a variety of objects from glass, stone, concrete and brick to wood and metal. Read till the end to learn all you need to know about drilling.

Safety Measures

Maintaining a safe environment is essential when using any kind of too, including a drill[1]. When working with a drill, ensure you adhere to the following safety measures.

  • Do not wear loose or baggy clothing so your drill doesn’t get all twisted up with your cloth when it’s in motion.
  • Protective gear like goggles for the eyes, gloves for hands and dust masks to protect your nose are important. Ensure you put them on before working. Earmuffs are also important to protect your ears from loud noise.


Do a Quick Check before Drilling

It is important to check the other end of whatever surface you intend to use the drill on. You won’t have to worry about this when you’re working with metal sheets or any other flat surfaces, but it might get a bit problematic with cavity walls and stud partitions.


There may be some electrical wiring or pipes beneath the walls, so if you aren’t careful, you may cause some serious damages or even hurt yourself by electrocution in the process.

Ultimately, you need to always check so you don’t drill into where you’re not supposed to. How do you do that with walls? I got you. You need a live wire detector and a pipe to help you spot areas you should avoid when drilling. Hold them to the wall and hit a button; it will inform you if there’s anything within the wall at that region.

How to Use a Drill on Glass

Glass is a delicate object as we all know. You may think using a drill on the glass will ultimately result in broken pieces flying all around. However, that won’t be the case if you learn to properly handle the tool and use the perfect drill bit. You can create a precise hole on any glass piece. Bear in mind that you can’t use a drill on an already compromised glass.

Before you drill, mark out the area and start off gently and slowly. Do not use intense pressure while you drill, that will shatter the glass and you don’t want that to happen. Reduce your speed once you’re approaching the end.

Grass Drilling Tips

  • To help limit the possibility of breaking the glass, drill half-way on one side and complete the other half over on the other side.
  • Apply some coolant to your bit prior to and while drilling. This will ensure the bit doesn’t get too hot.

Drilling into Brick

Brick is a material that can be used to create a range of pieces. Perhaps you want to get creative and build a little something for yourself. Whatever it is, you may need to do some drilling along the way.

A high-powered drill is suitable for working with bricks; a regular drill may not be powerful enough to get the job done. Hammer drills will do an excellent job when it comes to bricks. If you don’t have one yourself, consider hiring from a store close by.

Of course, regular drill bits just don’t cut it here. Get some masonry bits, they have a triangular tip. Masonry bits are tough enough to go through bricks, so you need some of these if you intend drilling into bricks.

The depth and width of the hole are necessary parameters you need to consider. A wall anchor is needed to secure your screws. Its size should influence the width of your hole.

If you’re working on walls, ensure you check for any cables, pipes or wires that may be nestling beneath the wall so you don’t give yourself more trouble.

Mark the area you want to drill on the wall before you proceed. Try your best to drill through the mortar within the bricks, that’ll be less difficult for you. When you drill into the bricks themselves, they get weakened and have a higher chance of breaking.

For starters, drill in little bursts to create a hole, and then proceed to increase power gradually. For drills with hammer action, switch it on and slowly increase your force. The drill should be at an angle of 90 degrees to the wall while you’re working. It’s okay to take breaks in between so your muscles don’t get all weak and lead you into making mistakes.

To create a larger hole, you can use a small drill bit first to create a starter hole and get a larger drill bit to make the hole as large as you’d like. For a hole large enough for a pipe, a core bit will be important. It’ll help you cut out the exact diameter you need and not just bore through the wall.

Brick Drilling Tips

  • Be careful not to drill very deep or your anchor could get lost. Put a mark on your drill bit about 5 to 10mm longer than the screw’s length and stop drilling once you get to the mark. This will help you get the right depth for your hole.
  • The importance of cooling your drill bits can’t be overemphasized. Due to the intense energy, drill bits tend to get hot really fast. Have a bowl of water around where you can easily dip it to cool off a bit, but be careful not to dip in the entire drill.

Drilling into Concrete

Concrete is one of the most common materials drills are used. How you use a drill on concrete is similar to drilling into brick. Using a hammer drill and masonry drill bits is preferable for concrete as well. Also, wall anchors are needed to help secure the screws.

Once you’ve determined the depth and width of the hole you need, mark out the area on the surface. Ensure you’ve confirmed that there are no cables, pipes or live wires hiding beneath the concrete.

Start off by creating a shallow hole on low speed, then increase power and switch on hammer action if it’s present on your drill. If you want a larger hole, make a hole with a smaller bit first before completing the job using a bigger bit. This limits the stress exerted on surrounding concrete.

Concrete Drilling Tips

  • Retract your bit slightly from time to time while drilling to get rid of dust from your hole.
  • If you come in contact with a block of especially hard concrete, hammer a tough masonry nail to break through and go back to drilling. This will preserve your precious drill bits.
  • Use a pressurized air in a can or hoover to get rid of concrete debris.

Drilling into Metal

Some DIY enthusiasts may avoid working on metals for one reason or another. On a good day, you may have to work with metal and its best you know how before that day creeps up on you without a warning.

The standard drill bits for metal will do great when working with soft metals, including aluminium and copper. It won’t be tough enough for stainless steel though.

You will need to get some HSS bits like cobalt or black oxide bits. Flat drill bits are good on softer metal so they don’t tear up. On the other hand, drill bits with sharp tips are just what a hard metal requires to limit shavings. The step bit gives you the best accuracy with sheet metal by allowing you to get the perfect diameter without much stress.

Know the size of the hole you want to create and have your bits prepared. To limit friction and build-up of heat, oil your bits before starting. Oiling is important if you want your bits to last long. While there are specific cutting oils if you can get hands-on multipurpose oil that will be fine.

Mark the area for drilling. To keep your drill on track from the start, hammer a dimple on the metal surface with a hammer and centre punch.

Your safety should be of utmost concern to you when working. Clamp up any metal piece that gets detached before drilling. With wood, you may be able to hold with one hand while you drill with the other. However, metal could hurt you if it isn’t properly clamped because it is really sharp. To prevent the occurrence of painful injuries, do what is needed.

If you want larger holes, start off with a small bit. Then, use larger bits to get your desired size. To prevent your bit overheating, drill slowly especially when working with harder metals. Your speed should be as slow as it can possibly be.

Metal Drilling Tips

  • Once you’re done drilling, smoothen the sharp edges around the hole with twist bits. Take one that’s with a diameter wider than that of your hole and twist over its top.
  • If you want neat holes on sheet metal, place the metal sheet in between two wood pieces and clamp. This will hold the metal in place so the drill bit doesn’t go off course while you’re drilling.

Drilling into Wood

Wood is arguably the most common material drills are used on. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you probably started off drilling into the wood before other materials. Carpenters and other professionals who work with wood all have a drill in their toolset.

For drilling into wood, you can make use of the standard bits. However, there are specialized drill bits available depending on the kind of hole you wish to create. Forstner bits are great if you need holes with flat ends and spade bits will give holes with a large diameter. Summarily, get bits to suit fulfil your personal needs.

Prior to drilling, measure the size of the hole you want and create a mark on the wood’s surface with a centre punch.

Clamping keeps you safe and ensures your bits don’t wander off or get stuck in the wood. For handheld drills, clamping will prevent the drill from getting out of your grip.

Begin drilling slowly into the wood and increase your speed as you go. Try not to apply so much pressure; you should be in total control of the drill. Sand edges after drilling to smoothen the surrounding.


Wood Drilling Tips

  • While large screws are best drilled with a higher clutch, smaller crews prefer the lower clutch.
  • You can use your old CDs to help you drill precise, straight holes. Place the CD such that its reflective surface faces upward and align your drill with the reflection so you create a perfectly straight hole.

Drilling into Plaster

It is a known fact that drywall and plaster wall isn’t as strong as brick or concrete walls. This makes it important that you check the stud will be able to adequately support whatever you intend to hang.

You’ll need to work with a drill if you intend fixing something on your plaster wall or drywall. Discover stud frame located behind your board with the help of a stud finder; you can get them as standalone or multipurpose tools that’ll locate cables or wires.

Afterwards, mark the area you intend drilling into. The use of standard bits is great for plaster. Drill slowly initially, and increase speed as you proceed. Wall anchors support your nails or screws.

Plaster Drilling Tips

  • Use nylon toggle for fixtures that demand more support, including shelf brackets.
  • A good spirit level will enable you to properly fix a shelf

Drilling into Tiles

You’ll definitely have to drill at some point if you’re working with tiles. Perhaps for fixing a towel or toilet roll holder in the bathroom or some cutlery holder in your kitchen.

Just like glass, drilling on tiles requires carbide bits. Diamond bits can work as well. The shiny tile surface demands you exercise extra caution when drilling so the bit doesn’t slip and ruin the tile. You can place masking tape on the tile’s surface to provide traction and make drilling easier for you.

Mark the area you intend drilling and start off slowly with minimal pressure. You’ll need to drill into the wall behind the tile. Fix the screw in place with a wall anchor.

Tile Drilling Tips

  • Slow your drill once you’ve gotten into the drywall. If you make the mistake of drilling through the wall, you’ll be unable to fix your wall anchor and the hole will be of no use to you.
  • Protect yourself from shards of tiles that’ll fly around while you’re drilling to avoid injury.

Drilling into Stone

Stone is a naturally hard material used to construct durable pieces. Drilling a hole through the stone isn’t exactly the easiest task there is, but with a few tricks, you can get it done.

Use a diamond bit to get the best results on stone. To create larger holes, the diamond core will get the job done. Remember hammer drills are the best for harder materials.

Mark the area you’ll be creating the hole. It’ll be difficult to correct a mistake on stone materials, so ensure your measurements are correct before you proceed. Drill slowly and steadily. Start off with slow speed and increase as you go. Enable hammer action on your drill at this point.

Stone Drilling Tips

  • If your diamond bits feel hot, that means they weren’t properly lubricated
  • You may get your drill bit stuck in stone. To remedy this situation, switch off your drill, set it to rotate a bit in an anti-clockwise direction and start-up drill gently with minimal power. This will solve the problem.


I hope you’re confident enough to drill a hole on any material of your choice depending on the situation with this guide. Ensure you use the right drill and bits on a material to get desired results. Also, maintain safety precautions.


[1] Power drill – Link