Stucco Qall

How to Drill into Stucco Without Cracking: A Step-by-Step Guide

Stucco is a material that is often used on the exterior of houses but can also be found in rooms, plastered over walls and ceilings. While not the most popular material, stucco is an excellent idea for people who want to make their properties look unique and beautiful.

The only bad thing about stucco walls is that they can be damaged if exposed to a strong force, such as a hammer or standard drill. So, you need to pay extra attention when trying to drill into stucco.

In today's guide, I will tell you how to drill into stucco without cracking it. I will go over the best drill bits for stucco drilling, the best drill type, the types of stucco you need to know, and many other things. If you want to learn more on this topic, stick around for the rest of the guide!

What is Stucco?

What is Stucco

As mentioned in the previous section, stucco is used to paint a house's interior or exterior, as a decorative coating on various surfaces, or to build sculptures. The material is a mixture of cement and some sand, lime, and water. You create the mixture, use it on whatever surface you need to, leave it for a few hours to dry, and enjoy its magnificent look.

Many people use stucco in their homes because this material has several notable features. First, it is one of the easiest materials to maintain, as it will take years and years before it shows any wear and tear. Even if it does, you can easily fix it with some caulk.

Another thing that makes stucco great is its durability, so you can use it on your house once and stay on for years. That is great, considering that stucco can be a bit expensive, which is one of the downsides of the material. It is not the best option for people on a tight budget, but it can be a wise investment considering how long it lasts.

Furthermore, people have the option to choose between several different types of stucco. I will mention the names and features of the three main stucco types in one of the following sections, so ensure you stick around for that!

Step-By-Step Guide

Drilling into stucco is not the easiest thing to do. This is concrete-like material that can easily crack under pressure. So, if you need to make holes in your wall for decorative purposes or otherwise, you must be very careful and use the proper drill and drill bit.

I would recommend two types of drills for drilling stucco - the hammer drill and the standard drill, although the former is the better option. Small hammer drills are affordable and can be used with various-size drill bits. After you have the drill, you can think about the drill bit you want to use depending on the size and depth of the hole you want to make.

If you want to do a home improvement project and drill into stucco without cracking or damaging it, there are five steps you need to follow. Here is a bit more information on the steps:

Step 1: Choose the Right Drill Bit

One of the things you must remember when drilling into stucco is to go with the proper drill bit. Not only do you need to have the right size, but you also need the proper material drill bit.

When it comes to the material, there are several options to explore. You can use drill bits with diamond or carbide tips. As for the material of the actual bit, you can go for a masonry drill bit, as that one is sturdy and easy to use.

As for the size, you can get a drill bit that fits the size hole you need to make. You will need larger bits for larger holes, which are more difficult to control and must be used with an SDS connection on the hammer drill. As for small holes, you can go with a 3/8'' drill bit or smaller.

Generally, I recommend getting a drill bit the same size as the hole you need to make. Still, you can get a smaller one to ensure a snug fit between the hole and the anchor.

Step 2: Mark the Spot

After you gather everything you need for the actual drilling, you must decide on the exact spot where you want to drill into the stucco. You only need to make a pencil mark on the wall for this part. Still, you can also measure if you need the hole to be at a specific height or distance compared to something else.

Once you have the drilling spot, you can move on to the drilling part. That is when the home improvement project gets more interesting!

Step 3: Drill the Pilot Hole

The first thing you should drill is a pilot hole. Pilot holes are very small holes that serve as a guide for the larger hole. They make it easier to control where the drill bit goes while allowing you to keep the hammer drill in control.

Before you start with the pilot hole, I recommend putting on some safety gear. You should wear protective goggles and a dust mask as a lot of dust could come from the stucco. You should protect yourself instead of letting it get into your eyes and lungs.

Once the protective gear is on, grab your hammer drill and put a smaller drill bit on it. Use it to make a small hole only a few millimeters wide and deep. If you do not have a small masonry bit, you can use a nail and hammer to make the small hole.

You should make the actual central hole only after you make the pilot hole.

Step 4: Drill the Central Hole

Finally, this is the step where you will do some actual drilling. Equip your drill with the suitable drill bit and secure it tightly. If the drill bit is much larger than the hole you need to make, you can use a tape measure to decide how much the drill bit needs to go into the stucco wall. Then, use some tape to mark how far should the drill bit go into the wall.

With the right tools, the drilling will take only a few seconds. You should turn the drill on, set it at low speed, and drill slowly into the wall. Use steady pressure to push the drill bit to the desired depth. You can hold the drill at a slight angle, but ensure you are not allowing it to touch any of the surrounding stucco.

Step 5: Insert the Screw or Anchor

If a lot of dust is stuck in the hole, it might be a good idea to use compressed air to push it out. When the hole is clean, you can put the anchor first and then the screw. Everything should fit tightly, but you must ensure the anchor and screw will not move around even if you hang significantly heavy things.

And just like that, you have learned to drill into stucco without cracking or damaging it. How cool is that?!

Types of Stucco

Types of Stucco

If you want to drill into stucco, follow the five steps above and make the perfect hole. The same process can be used for drilling into all types of stucco - from traditional stucco to synthetic stucco.

As a final step before finishing this guide, I want to tell you more about the three most common stucco types that you can often come across. All have similar features and give that natural stone look that everyone enjoys. But there are still some slight differences that can help you decide which one you want to get.

So, here is how you can differentiate between the different stucco types:

Traditional Stucco

Traditional stucco is the most widely used type of stucco. If you want a stucco wall, I recommend using traditional stucco as it comes at a lower price than the other stucco varieties.

Still, this stucco has some fantastic features. For one, it is an extremely durable material that does not require any maintenance at all. It is fully fire-resistant and pest resistant, so nothing can damage it. Once you add it to your house, you will not have to worry about it for years.

You can make your own stucco mix or buy a ready-made stucco kit that often makes applying stucco easier. The stucco will have three coats - the first is a scratch coat, then a brown coat, and finally, the top coating called finish that gives a distinct look.

Exterior Insulation Finishing System Stucco

Synthetic stucco is the one that is also called exterior insulation finishing system stucco, or EIFS for short. This is one of the most modern stucco types. It comes with all the great features of standard stucco but with added insulation.

Unlike the previous option, this stucco features foam board insulation, making it more energy efficient. People use it to improve the insulation on their homes. While a bit more complicated to install, it is still a great idea for many.

Also, drilling through this type of stucco is easier but requires more precision. Should you damage the stucco when drilling into it, you can fill the holes with some caulk and leave it to dry for at least a few hours.

One-Coat Stucco

Finally, the one-coat stucco is also a great option, but it lacks the quality of the previous two options. This stucco is mainly based on cement, is thinner than the other two options, and is less durable. If you drill into it, even when using the right tools, you can cause more damage than you would with the other two stucco options. So, that is something to consider when deciding the type of stucco you want to add to your home.


Thank you for reading this detailed guide on how to drill into stucco without causing any damage to it. I hope you have a clear idea of the type of drill you need, the correct drill bit for the job, etc. Remember to use rotary hammer drills with masonry drill bits with diamond tips. That is the best way to efficiently drill into stucco without cracking it.

If you know any other tips or tricks on drilling into stucco, I would love to hear them. Feel free to share them with the other readers and me in the comment section below. I appreciate your input on the topic and cannot wait to hear everything about your stucco drilling experience!

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