I'm just in the process of hanging a heavy flower basket which requires 3 screws for maximum strength.

The basket will be hanging on a wall.

I inherited the drill bits, so I'm not really sure if they are for drilling brick but they drilled the mortar just fine. They also have been used for drilling metal and wood just fine too.

Whilst trying to drill the third hole in the brick I can only get a few mm deep.

Is this likely due to the bit being wrong, or due to being a cheap drill?

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    You've told us nothing about the tool you're asking about. A description, brand name, and/or photo seem like a minimal requirement here. – isherwood Sep 8 '16 at 12:46
  • Hi isher, sorry. What should I include? I know very little about DIY and tools. – Terry Sep 8 '16 at 12:47
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    I provided a list of suggestions. It's not a matter of tool knowledge, but of simple communication. :) – isherwood Sep 8 '16 at 12:49
  • Probably the key question is whether the bits have a simple sharpened cutting edge or hardened plates welded in (sesatools.com/sesatools/usuariosFtp/conexion/album17a.jpg). – isherwood Sep 8 '16 at 12:51
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    It is best not to drill directly into brick. The preferred way is to drill into the mortar since it can be more easily repaired. Your drill most likely is not a hammer drill, so it is not meant for masonry. The only thing you will succeed in doing is burning up your bits. – Jason Hutchinson Sep 8 '16 at 20:22

they drilled the mortar just fine. They also have been used for drilling metal and wood just fine too.

They are probably ordinary "HSS" drill bits mainly intended for drilling metal but also usable for wood (and, with care and low speed, most plastics)

HSS bits will get blunted quickly if used to make holes into mortar or brick. You can sharpen them if you have some suitable tools.

For drilling holes in bricks, you'll get the fastest results from

  • A masonry bit. These have a piece of tungsten carbide brazed into the tip.
  • A drill with hammer action.

A corded drill will usually perform better than a battery-powered drill of the same price.

An SDS drill would be the very best but purchasing one is probably overkill if you only have a few holes to drill.

Other experts herebouts have previously pointed out that you can succeed with an ordinary electric drill and an HSS bit. I have found that to be hard work (different types of brick vary a lot in hardness) and much prefer using a masonry bit in a hammer (or "combi") drill.

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A masonry drill bit typically has "wings" on the tip. These are ill suited for drilling wood and metal. Based on that alone, my bet is they are standard bits. Standard bits "tear" into the material, while masonry bits are designed to grind.

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While there is a variety that can be used with a normal drill (Vermont American has one, not sure if anyone else does), most are designed for a hammer drill (vibrates the bit to improve grinding and dust movement).

As to your question about the hole, you can kinda get away with drilling masonry with a normal metal bit on a normal drill (especially on older, more brittle mortar and brick), but you'll wear the bit out much faster since it's not built for grinding alone. If you're only drilling one hole, I would just go get a normal non-hammer masonry bit (many big box stores carry them) and call it good. My bet is you hit a harder section of the masonry and have dulled the normal bit to where it can't grind it effectively. If you do these on a semi-infrequent basis, your best bet is to go get a cheap hammer drill (i.e. Harbor Freight) and some normal masonry bits (which are far more common). This opens up a broader world of masonry fasteners (i.e. the ubiquitous Tapcon). I have a cheapie hammer drill and have more than gotten my money out of it.

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    I generally use my hammer masonry bits without hammer action if drilling mortar, with hammer for brick/concrete – Chris H Sep 8 '16 at 18:04

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