How to Drill into a Stud

How to Drill into a Stud?

It can seem a pretty complicated job if you want to drill through a stud. And it will especially be the case if you haven’t done it before. But it isn’t that tough if you follow a few simple steps.

All wall studs are different; some are made of metal (commercial), while others are wooden (residential). But the overall process is similar, and you can perfect it quickly.

Drilling to the stud to provide additional support to the things you want to hang is important. However, if you drill straight into the drywall, you might pick up the object from the floor.

Let's find out a solution to this problem once and for all.

How to Drill into a Stud? [Step-By-Step Guide]

The entire process is straightforward regardless of why you want to drill into a stud. You have to get a power drill and start working on it. Following are the four steps that you need to mind when you are looking to drill into a stud:

Step 1 - Locating the stud

The first thing you have to do is to locate the stud itself in the wall before you start drilling into it. If you don’t do this, the item you are looking to hang on the fall might end up falling on the floor and breaking.

Therefore, it is essential to find the stud before drilling into it. You can grab a stud finder, start looking for the stud in the wall and verify it by tapping on it. We will discuss it in more detail in the following text.

Step 2 - Finding the edge & center

Once you have successfully located the stud in the wall, you can use a pencil and pinpoint the location in the drywall. Again, it ensures you don’t end up drilling any wrong sides. You can tell the stud's end by knocking along the wall. These studs are usually about 2 inches long, so they should give you a good general idea. 

As soon as you have found both ends of the studs, take your pencil and mark the center to determine the exact drilling point. Just make the marks lightly so you can erase them once you finish the process. But erasing that hole you make with the drill would be a slightly more challenging.

Step 3 - Selecting the right drill bit

If you have wood studs, you won’t have to worry about going for a particular bit. Of course, you will need a proper screw. And this is especially the case if you want to go for that drywall screw. But after you have these screws with you, go for any bit that works well and goes into the screw, and you are all thumbs up.

You will need a screw if you want to hang something heavier on your wall. However, if you wish to hang a lightweight picture or something similar, use a hammer to nail the stud.

But if you want to hang something heavy, you will need a sturdier solution. It works well for brackets or if you're going to mount your television or a heavy frame. You will need screws for this because they are more robust.

For drilling into a metal or steel stud, you must be more careful about the drill bit you are using. The best choice is to go for a bit made of cobalt or titanium.

These bits are designed for heavy-duty drilling. And for the screws, you can go for drywall screws for these metal studs. Once you have chosen the right drill bit, it’s time for the drilling to begin.

Step 4 - Starting the drilling process

As soon as you have identified the right stud for your drilling process and marked the stud on your drywall, it's time for drilling to begin.

But before that, you might have to recheck your drill bits. First, you have to make sure that they are sharp so you don’t have to deal with any problems during the drilling process and stay sharp and precise.

Now that you are ready to go, place the tip of the screw right on the point you marked on your drywall using a pencil. Use one hand for this, and use your other hand to insert the drill into a screw head.

One more thing is that you must be mindful of keeping your drill leveled with the screw at all times to keep it going right into the wall. Apply a bit of pressure as you hold that screw to begin drilling the hole.

Hold your hands back as soon as the screw is about 1/3rd of the way into the wall. Now apply more pressure on the back of the drill. If you are planning to drill into the wood, you won't have to apply excessive pressure.

Nevertheless, you must apply plenty of pressure to punch it right through if it is a steel or metal stud. However, if you are having trouble here, you might want to use an impact driver instead of a hammer drill to make it work. You can also use a drywall anchor.

Remember not to drill the screw into the wall. If you do so, you won’t be able to hang anything as there will be no screw to use.

How Do You Know If You Are Drilling Right Into The Stud?

How Do You Know If You Are Drilling Right Into The Stud

First, you must know how to find a stud before drilling into it. There are different ways of finding it on your wall. The two most popular methods commonly used to find a stud are the following.

Using stud finder

Stud finders are small, and you can hold these devices in your hand. You will only have to run across your wall to quickly find out the stud if there is any there in the wall.

Use a stud finder, place the device flat on your wall, and move it slowly right along the wall from left to right. As soon as you find a stud, the device will start beeping, and you will know it's safe to drill in that area.

Some stud finders are more accurate than others, but a standard device will work efficiently. And you can verify its accuracy with another method we will elaborate on below. But make sure to place your stud finder flat on the wall.

Tapping on the wall

If you have drilled in a stud before, there are chances that you have done this tapping on the wall trick. It might not be the most reliable method to drill into a stud, but it verifies that you have found the stud in our wall before drilling into it.

You just have to knock right along the wall when there is no noise around you and listen for that hard hat. When you are knocking drywall, it sounds hollow. But as soon as you find a stud, it will sound solid.

Why Can't I Drill into a Stud?

There are various reasons you cannot drill into a stud. And we will try to find a solution to all these issues one by one in the following text:

Drill bit not entering the wall → Check the drill’s rotation direction

Your drill rotating in the wrong direction won’t enter the wall. For forward direction, your drill rotation should be clockwise. If it is rotating anticlockwise, it will not penetrate.

To change the rotation direction, you will need to change the rotation but the button on your drill.

Dull drill bits don’t guarantee proper drilling →Use new drill bits

You must ensure that you don’t have any dull drill bits that are appropriately sharpened. If they are not sharp enough, they will not penetrate accurately into the wall and will create a mess. You must use new drill bits or sharpen your old ones before beginning the drilling process.

Dying batteries causing weak drilling → Use new batteries

Cheap quality drills don’t come with lasting batteries. They are only good enough for one-time use. If you are using a weak battery, your drill won’t be able to punch through the wall. Therefore, ensure you use quality batteries to facilitate the drilling process.

There are metal plates in the wall →Don't keep drilling at that point

There are times when you end up hitting an obstruction in the wall. These obstructions, especially the steel plates, are there to prevent drilling from happening. You must move from the point and drill about 5 inches above or below the mark.

Masonry constructions are hard to drill into → Reconsider your plan

If you want to work on some exterior wall or a chimney area and your drill is not going in, you might have hit a masonry. It might be anything ranging from a cinder block, cement, or brick.

And the best solution is to move a few inches away from the mark you made. Unfortunately, you might have found the furring strips if you still hit another obstruction. So it is better to reconsider your plan here.


Drilling a hole into a stud might seem tricky, but it's a simple process, even though not all studs are the same. First, you must locate the stud in the drywall and start drilling into it.

Next, you must ensure you use a quality drill and drill bits to drill into a stud. It will ensure that you can get the best results and can constantly hang whatever you want on the wall for as long as you want.

Lastly, ensure that your drill is not rotating in the wrong direction when you are about to drill into a stud, or it won’t enter the wall.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *