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Can’t Drill Through Stud? Here Are 6 Reasons Why

Whenever I do any type of renovation, I get incredibly frustrated if I can’t get through the wall. When you need to install something, like a light fixture, and your drill won’t go through, it can mean you won’t finish your project in time. 

The reason why you can’t drill through a stud could be a dull drill bit, failed drill battery, wrong drill rotation direction or an impenetrable metal/steel member of the wall structure.

Here are the causes in detail to help you out.

Why your drill won’t go through the stud

Most of us have run into problems when trying to drill through a wall. 

We drill a hole just to find out that the drill bit stops halfway through the wall.

It seems so simple, but it’s not. 

Even pros have a hard time with it. 

Because the studs in a wall or ceiling are never perfectly straight or positioned just right, it’s nearly impossible to drill a hole in the wall right where you want it. 

Here are 6 reasons why your drill won’t go further inside the wall or stud.

1. Issue with drill bit being dull

There are many common myths that circulate in our culture about how to drill a hole through a wall. 

One is that if you take a dull drill bit and try to drill through the wall, the dull drill bit will “self sharpen” and go through the wall easier. 

This is not true. 

While the drill can “self sharpen” in one sense, that is not what happens when the drill bit is dull.

Drill bits are really made for one thing only – to drill through various materials. 

I mean, it is only practical to have different sizes of drill bits, but if you are using a drill bit that is not sharpened, then it will not go through.

The average drill bit is engineered to cut through soft materials like wood or plastic, but it can’t go through harder objects like steel or concrete, or even harder substances like diamonds. 

What gives? Sharp edges are what make drill bits so useful.

2. You could be hitting nail plates

Obviously, drilling through walls is a fairly challenging thing to do

In fact, there are some mistakes you should avoid.  

The first thing you should remember is that the wall that you are going to drill through is not just a wall.

It is made of different layers and materials. 

Some can withstand the piercing of a drill, while others such as the ones containing metal, structural steel or nail plates will cause your drill bit to shatter at the slightest pressure.

3. Drill has no enough power

For many people, drilling from one wall to another using a drill with an electrical cord is a classic DIY no-no.

In this case, a drill with a battery comes handy.

There is a common misconception that a battery with little to no charge left can still be used to drill through walls. 

The drill bit might spin around, but in this case, it’s not doing anything. 

The main reasons for this are the fact that its battery is drained.

The first thing to look at when you are attempting to drill through a wall is the power of the drill that you are using. 

If you have a brand new, high-quality drill, you will be able to drill through almost anything, whether you are using wood or metal.

4. A row of large conduit pipes 

Sometimes you may find yourself crawling on the floor of your garage or workshop, drilling a large hole through a wall using a masonry drill bit. 

You may have no idea what you are doing wrong, but you seem to be drilling and drilling, and nothing is happening. 

What is wrong? 

Well, you could be drilling a conduit pipe.

Despite the fact that conduit pipes look extremely thin, they are actually quite thick and difficult to penetrate.

5. Drill rotating in the wrong direction 

Drill rotation direction is an aspect of drilling that is not often discussed, but is actually quite fundamental to the drilling process. 

The direction in which you rotate your drill can have a measurable effect on the performance of your drill, and how it interacts with the surfaces you’re drilling through.

If you’ve ever tried to drill like this through a wall, you know it’s harder than it looks. 

The drill bit can get stuck on the wall, or break, or your hand cramp up. 

It’s frustrating, especially if you’re just trying to hang a picture. 

But there’s a simple fix to this common problem. You need to change the direction in which you drill.

6. You may be having metal studs instead of wood

Despite being so ubiquitous in the home construction industry, wood studs are relatively unknown to the average person. In fact, it is not uncommon for even builders to mistake wood studs for metal studs. The difference between the two is subtle enough that it often goes unnoticed.

The easiest way to tell if a wall is built from wood studs is to look for wooden or metal anchors (typically ¼” or ½” in diameter) protruding from the wall. If you see one or more anchored into the wall, it is likely that the wall is made of wood studs.

Conclusion 

Owning a home is a great step in life. 

Unfortunately, there will be instances of repairs and renovations that may need to be carried out, especially if the home is over a decade old. 

While you’ll try to do all the repairs and renovations yourself, there will be instances where some repairs will require the help of a professional. 

One such example is drilling through studs. 

While it’s possible to do this, you need to have the right equipment, a good technique, and the understanding of the causes I’ve shared here.