Why Can’t I Drill Into My Wall? Reasons And Solutions

Have you ever found yourself frustrated while attempting to drill into a seemingly ordinary wall? The scenario is all too common: you have a DIY project in mind, armed with your drill and enthusiasm, only to be met with unexpected resistance as the drill struggles to penetrate the wall.

Before you throw in the towel or contemplate the existence of supernatural forces preventing your progress, let’s dive into the intricacies of wall drilling and unveil the solutions to these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Why am I struggling to drill into my wall?

1. Wall Composition

Different walls come with different challenges. Here’s why you might be facing difficulty:

  • Drywall: Easily pierced but requires care to avoid damaging the underlying structure.
  • Plaster: Dense and brittle, often necessitating pilot holes to prevent cracking.
  • Concrete: Highly robust, demands special drill bits and techniques.
  • Brick: Varies in density; solid brick poses more resistance than brick veneer.

2. Incorrect Tools or Bits

Using the wrong tools can be a recipe for frustration:

  • Drill Bits: Utilizing regular bits on concrete or masonry will result in a lackluster performance.
  • Impact vs. Hammer Drill: Differentiate between impact and hammer drills for various wall materials.

3. Obstacles Behind the Wall

Sometimes, it’s not the wall itself but what’s hiding within it:

  • Studs: Wooden studs might obstruct your drilling path.
  • Pipes and Wiring: Hitting these can be dangerous and result in a halt to your project.

4. Inadequate Technique

Even with the right tools, improper technique can hinder progress:

  • Steady Pressure: Apply consistent pressure to maintain control and avoid overexertion.
  • Right Angle: Drilling at an angle can lead to crooked holes or incomplete penetration.

Why is my screw not going into the wall?

1. Pilot Holes

Creating pilot holes is a game-changer for screw insertion:

  • Size Matters: Use a bit slightly smaller than the screw’s diameter.
  • Reduced Friction: Pilot holes prevent wood from splitting and make screw insertion smoother.

2. Screw Type and Size

Picking the right screw is essential:

  • Material Compatibility: Wood screws for wood, metal screws for metal, etc.
  • Length: Choose a screw length that provides enough grip without going through the other side.

3. Dealing with Stripped Screws

Stripped screws can bring your project to a standstill:

  • Rubber Band Trick: Place a rubber band between the screwdriver/bit and the screw head for better grip.
  • Use Pliers: Gently rotate the screw with pliers while applying downward pressure.

4. Using Wall Anchors

When the grip is an issue, wall anchors are your allies:

  • Types of Anchors: Choose between plastic, metal, or self-drilling anchors based on wall material.
  • Installation Process: Insert the anchor, then insert the screw into the anchor for a secure hold.

How do you drill into a hard wall?

Selecting the Right Drill Bit

For hard walls, proper drill bits are non-negotiable:

  • Masonry Bits: Carbide-tipped or diamond-coated bits are your best friends.
  • Size Considerations: Choose the bit size according to the diameter of the anchor or screw.

Mastering Drilling Techniques

The technique is crucial, even more so with hard walls:

  • Steady and Slow: Apply moderate pressure and let the drill do the work.
  • Pulsating Motion: Pulse the drill to evacuate debris and prevent overheating.

Harnessing the Power of Hammer Drill Mode

Activate hammer drill mode for hard surfaces:

  • Impact Mechanism: Delivers rapid, short bursts of force to assist in breaking through tough materials.
  • Proper Handling: Maintain a firm grip, and let the hammer drill mode do the pounding.

Keeping the Bit Cool

Heat is the enemy of drill bits, especially in hard materials:

  • Intermittent Drilling: Drill in short bursts, allowing the bit to cool down between intervals.
  • Water Cooling: Spritz water on the drilling area to keep the bit’s temperature in check.

Why can’t I drill through my brick wall?

Understanding the Type of Brick

Different brick types require different approaches:

  • Solid Brick: Dense and formidable, it demands powerful tools and patience.
  • Brick Veneer: Easier to penetrate due to its thinner structure.

Leveraging Masonry Anchors

Masonry anchors are your allies in brick wall conquests:

  • Types of Anchors: Sleeve anchors, wedge anchors, or expansion anchors provide robust attachment points.
  • Installation Process: Drill a hole, insert the anchor, expand it, and secure your fixture.

Preventing Unsightly Cracks

Brick wall drilling can lead to cracks if not handled carefully:

  • Mark the Spot: Clearly mark where you’ll drill to avoid multiple attempts.
  • Slow Drilling: Gradually penetrate the brick, allowing it to adjust to the pressure.

When to Seek Professional Help

Some situations call for expertise:

  • Reinforced Brick: Reinforcements like rebar might necessitate professional tools.
  • Complex Installations: Complicated projects, such as large fixtures, might warrant expert intervention.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why can’t I drill into my wall?

A1: There could be various reasons why you’re facing difficulty drilling into your wall. One common reason is encountering a stud, which is a vertical wooden or metal support beam within the wall. Using a stud finder before drilling can help you avoid these areas and find suitable spots for drilling.

Q2: Can I drill into a wall without damaging it?

A2: Yes, you can drill into a wall without causing damage if you follow proper techniques. Use a stud finder to locate studs and avoid electrical wiring or plumbing pipes. Start with a small pilot hole and gradually increase the size. Consider using anchors if you’re drilling into drywall to provide support for heavier objects.

Q3: Why is my drill not going into the wall?

A3: If your drill isn’t penetrating the wall, you might be hitting a stud, encountering a particularly hard section, or using the wrong drill bit. Make sure you’re using the appropriate type of bit for your wall material and that your drill is set to the correct speed and torque settings.

Q4: Can I drill into a tiled wall?

A4: Yes, you can drill into a tiled wall, but it requires careful handling. Use a masonry bit and start with a small hole to prevent the tile from cracking. Once you’ve penetrated the tile, switch to a regular bit for the wall behind. To avoid damaging tiles, go slow and use light pressure.

Q5: Why can’t I find a stud on my wall?

A5: Finding studs can be challenging, especially in older homes or walls with varying construction materials. Ensure you’re using a reliable stud finder and follow the instructions carefully. If you’re having trouble, look for clues like visible nails, electrical outlets, or switch boxes that are often mounted to studs.

Q6: Why can’t I drill into plaster walls?

A6: Drilling into plaster walls can be tricky because they are more delicate than drywall. Use a masonry bit and go slowly to avoid cracking the plaster. If you’re having difficulty, consider using adhesive hooks or anchors designed for plaster walls to hang objects.

Q7: Can I drill into a wall with pipes?

A7: It’s not recommended to drill into a wall without knowing the location of the pipes. Hitting a water or gas pipe can lead to serious problems. If you suspect there are pipes in the area you want to drill, use a pipe detector or consult a professional to ensure safe drilling.

Q8: Why is my drill bit burning and smoking while drilling?

A8: If your drill bit is overheating and smoking, you might be using too much pressure or the wrong type of bit for the material. Keep the drill speed steady, use cutting oil for metal, and let the bit cool down if it gets too hot. Using the right bit for the material will prevent excessive heat and smoking.

Q9: Can I drill into a wall with insulation?

A9: Drilling into a wall with insulation is possible, but you should exercise caution. Insulation can create resistance, making drilling harder. Use a bit that’s slightly longer than the thickness of the wall, and be prepared for some resistance. Keep the drill steady and avoid pushing too hard.

Q10: Why can’t I get my screw to stay in the drilled hole?

A10: If your screw isn’t staying in the drilled hole, it might be due to a few reasons. The hole could be too large, causing the screw to wobble. You might also be using the wrong type of anchor or not drilling deep enough. Using the appropriate anchor and making sure the hole matches the screw size will help keep it secure.


Drilling into walls is more than just a mechanical task; it’s a blend of technique, understanding, and adaptability. By deciphering the nuances of wall composition, employing the right tools and bits, and mastering drilling techniques, you’ll transform from a frustrated DIYer to a confident creator.

Whether you’re dealing with a stubborn drywall or a tenacious brick wall, this comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge to overcome challenges and make your DIY dreams a reality.

So, go forth, armed with your drill and newfound expertise, and conquer those walls with ease!