Aiming to put some bike hooks into a plaster on brick wall - We've acquired a hammer drill and have been practicing on a spare brick and a backyard cement wall but the drill is just barely / not really progressing.

Not at all working as quickly as it shows in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjE6nsfdjpo

Some details:

  • It's a corded drill
  • We are using masonry bits - they've got the little hammer heads on the edge
  • We've tried a larger and a smaller size bit
  • The drill is in fact set in the forward position :)

Are we missing something?

  • 1
    Probably best to state what make/model you are using, as there are multi-function drill/drivers, which along with functions that drill wood, drive screws, etc., also have a "hammer drill" setting... and rotary hammer drills that are made exclusively for drilling and chiseling masonry. The latter being intended solely for this purpose, are more powerful. The multi-function drill/drivers are usually strong enough to get the job done, but not all drill/drivers are made equal.
    – Michael
    Jun 5, 2011 at 2:12
  • Could you post a video of your efforts for people to analyse? Jun 5, 2011 at 8:18

4 Answers 4


Assuming the drill you have is working properly, you may have dull or worn bits. A masonry bit does not last long, especially in concrete or brick. Cheap bits are no bargain. Start with a new bit, when the speed of boring slows to about half or less, time for a new bit.

  • 1
    Gave it another shot, grabbing another bit and this one went through in a reasonable time. So, bit really does make the difference.
    – sbuck
    Jun 6, 2011 at 19:49

For both masonry and cement you need to make sure hammer action is selected on the drill. You should find the drill vibrates a lot when hammer action is selected and the drill will need some pressure applied in the direction of drilling for hammer action to work.


I recently did my first project involving a hammer drill - installation of a rubber roof on my poured concrete garage. I used a Black & Decker 3/8" hammer drill. My checklist was:

  • drill is turning clockwise
  • hammer mode selected
  • 2nd (faster) gear selected
  • masonry bit is in good shape

I installed about 150 fasteners during the project and went through, I think, 4 masonry bits. If I had bought a couple more I would probably have switched more often. Also, if you happen to be installing a lot of concrete fasteners, the Tapcon Condrive system will save you a lot of time.

Finally, there were some spots in the concrete where I just couldn't drill through. Probably I was hitting some rebar or a particularly strong stone, but sometimes persistence just wasn't good enough. At those points I'd either switch to a shorter fastener or find a different location to drill.

  • also don't let the bit overheat, if it is to hot to touch have a break before the next whole
    – Walker
    Jan 13, 2012 at 15:23
  • The Tapcon link isn't working. (I know it's been over 10 years, so fair enough!) Perhaps see if you can find a product page on the manufacturer's site, which might survive linkrot a bit longer, or ditch the link and add a sentence that says a bit more about the product you're recommending. Thanks! Nov 7, 2022 at 13:48

The brick in the video must be pretty soft. Last time I had to use one of these, it was into a cement foundation, going about 15-20" down with a large bit (maybe 3/4"). It's been years ago, but I'm pretty sure it took about 30 minutes per hole.

For our depth, pulling the bit out frequently is very important, both for clearing out the hole, and for straightening up any rough sides (maybe once for every inch drilled). Don't ignore the suggestion for the earplugs and other protective gear, unless you want to ask everyone to repeat themselves for the next few days.

  • Concrete foundations are typically MUCH stronger than brick... so yeah, the brick he's drilling into is relatively soft compared to what you did.
    – Michael
    Jun 5, 2011 at 3:20

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