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Unfortunately I can only drill in the late afternoon or during weekends, but my area is very quiet and I would really like to avoid driving my neighbours mad...

So is there anything I can do to make drilling (masonry) less noisy?

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What's making the noise? The drill itself? Vibrations from drilling? Grinding in Masonry? –  Mike B Oct 16 '10 at 16:10
    
I'd say grinding in masonry and vibrations from drilling. –  UncleZeiv Oct 17 '10 at 0:12

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Not really.

Drilling is an inherently noisy activity. There may be low noise drills, but the act of rubbing hardened steel against brick at high speed will make a lot of noise. Lower speeds will reduce the noise, but you will take longer to make the hole. Using the hammer action will increase the noise, so try and avoid that if possible.

The best you can do is talk to your neighbours and explain what you are doing and when you'll be working. Ask them if there are any times they'd prefer you not to drill and try to stick to these times.

I'm assuming you're doing large scale renovations to your house - so give them an idea of how long you'll be working on the project. If they can see an end in sight, they might be more forgiving of a bit of noise and disturbance now for a quiet life later.

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2  
agreed .... drilling itself is noisy, drilling through masonry often requires an impact drill which adds a whole new level of noise. Best to tell your neighbors what's happening and apologize in advance. –  Scott Vercuski Oct 17 '10 at 0:55

Technically your only option is to replace an impact drill with a pneumatic hammer - the latter drills much faster (so you produce noise for shorter periods) and the noise is different - lower frequencies (IMO less annoying).

Also how you drill matters. If you need to make a series of holes you better make them in long series with short pauses instead of one-by-one with long pauses. The more you concentrate your activity in time the easier it is for others to tolerate it - they can for example go out for that period instead of sitting home listening to noise all day long.

And finally user ChrisF is sooo right about you having to talk to your neighbours - being considerate to other people is very important in such cases. Being neighbours is a mutual relationship after all.

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Many impact drills can be set part way between impact and non-impact. Try a setting in between (the drill may or may not change it by itself), as that will reduce the noise quite significantly, albeit at the expense of efficiency. Depending on the hardness you are drilling you may even be able to drill without impact.

Also try slowing the drill down. According to a representative from Ramset, a local manufacturer of masonry drill bits, most people run their drills much too fast, which not only creates a lot more noise but also shortens the life of the bit. Their recommendation is no more than 700RPM for up to 1/4" bits and proportionately slower for larger ones.

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Let your neighbors know ahead of time, and bribe them with cookies or something. People can be very accommodating if you let them be.

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