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    Drilling holes

    Summary: Learn how to drill a hole, how to drill holes in a wall, how to drill a hole in a ceiling, how to drill a hole in wood and how to drill a pilot hole.

    When drilling a hole, use the correct drill bit for the material you are drilling into. See the section on power tools for more information. To help you judge the depth to drill to, mark the required depth on the drill bit by attaching a piece of tape.

    Drilling holes in walls or ceilings

    If you are drilling fixing holes, remember you can only fix directly to timber studs, joists or noggings or to masonry walls providing you have inserted a wall plug. Use the correct bit for stud, masonry or plasterboard walls. Check that you have the correct length screw for the size and weight of the object you are attaching to the wall and drill the hole to the depth of the screw.

    • Mark on the wall where you require a hole.
    • Use a hammer and nail punch or bradawl to make a small hole over this marking.
    • Fit the drill bit into the hole, and begin drilling at a low speed.
    • Increase the speed of drilling as you drill deeper.
    • Reduce the speed to remove the drill bit, as switching the drill off will make it impossible to remove the bit.

    Drilling holes in wood

    Where possible, you should avoid drilling a hole straight through wood, as this causes wood to split. Instead, drill from both sides of the hole towards the centre. To make a hole for a nail or screw, first drill a pilot hole to prevent splitting.

    Making a pilot hole

    • Use a bradawl or a drill bit smaller than the gauge of your screw or plug.
    • Enlarge the hole with a larger drill bit to the depth of the screw you are using.
    • Insert the screw or plug.
    • Tighten the screw with a hand screwdriver or power screwdriver.


    If you want your screws to lie flush with the surface, you will need to create a tapered hole to accommodate the head of the screw.

    • Drill a pilot hole.
    • Fix a countersinking bit to your drill.
    • Drill to a suitable depth to recess the screw head.
    • Insert and fix the screw.
    • For a perfect finish, cover the head with some wood filler or other such compound.

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