How to Drill Into Stucco – Tips & Step-By-Step Guide

Is your home made from stucco and you would like to hang decorative art objects on the exterior walls?  If yes, you’re probably wondering how you can drill holes through stucco without damaging it.

After all, stucco looks and feels like concrete, which can make the thought of drilling through it a little overwhelming.

The good news? It is actually easy to drill through this material. But before we explain exactly how to drill into stucco, let’s first find out what this material is.

What is Stucco?

Simply put, this is a material that is made out of binders, water, and aggregates such as sand. It is usually applied wet to walls or ceiling and then hardens. Generally, it is commonly used as a decorative coating.

Ideally, there are two types of stucco, including:

Traditional

Also known as cement-based stucco, the traditional kind of stucco is made with lime, water, sand, and cement. When dry, it becomes as hard as a rock. This means that it is harder than synthetic stucco.

Additionally, if you hit or tap cement this material with your hand, it will not feel hollow. The good news is that it is to work with and if you’ve got the right tools, drilling into it is easy.

Synthetic

When it comes to synthetic stucco, this type is made from foam, fiberglass mesh, and synthetic stucco. Besides, it includes some form of top coating to seal it all up. Also referred to as Exterior Insulation Finishing System (or EIFS), this material.

On the flip side, though, it can be hard to distinguish between these two when comparing them together. This is because they look similar. So, a sure way to differentiate them is to press on the stucco. If it feels soft and hollow, it is synthetic, but if it doesn’t, then it is traditional stucco.

More Read: Best Quality Concrete Drill Bit

Can You Drill Through Traditional & Synthetic Stucco?

Yes, you can if you have the right tools. However, you should not drill holes into EIFS without first contacting the manufacturer as it you void its warranty. More so, you could leave your home susceptible to SFGate reports or mildew.

Therefore, you need to contact the manufacturer to be advised on how to drill through synthetic stucco. This way, you can do it safely and without damaging the material.

How to Drill into Stucco – A Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you know it’s possible to drill a hole through stucco, how do you go about it? Below, we’re going to provide you with easy steps to help you. But before doing that, let’s find out what tool you need:

  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Turkey Baster

Step One: Take Measurements

Accuracy is important when drilling holes in any kind of material. So, if drilling several holes into stucco, you should measure them to ensure they are done at the right points.

Use a pencil to mark the measurements to avoid any mistakes. Consequently, this will make the drilling process easier and enhance your accuracy even further.

Step Two: Choose the Correct Bit

The next step after taking measurements is to pick the right bit for stucco, which is best for the task. However, this may not be an easy task because of the many options available on the market.

Generally, a masonry bit is considered to be very effective at drilling into the stucco. This is because it is best suited for hard materials like concrete.

But for the best results, make sure you pick a bit that is of the right size. The right size bit should match the size of holes you need to make.

You see, a bit that is too small will force you to push it into the stucco. As a result, this could damage it or cause the bit to crumble.

Additionally, if the bit is too big for the hole, then the screw could wobble and not stay securely in place.

Step Three: Drilling

Now that you already have the measurements and the right bit, you can go ahead and start drilling into the stucco.

However, if you’ll be drilling into traditional stucco, you will need to get a hammer drill. It will provide you with superior mobility, control, and the power you need.

To start drilling, press the masonry bit on the pencil mark you had already made on the stucco. Next, switch on the hammer drill trigger and hold it firmly. Then, push the drill forward against the mark.

And to obtain the best results, avoid pushing the drill too much unless you feel no resistance.

Step Four: Clean Up the Mess

If there is dust in the hole you’ve just drilled, use a turkey baster to remove it. Blowing the dust away with your mouth is not recommended. This is because it can lead to the dust flying back into your face and getting into your eyes. 

Cleaning up the mess enables you to decide if your work was top-notch or not.

What are the Different Drills You Can Use?

There is a wide range of drills available to choose from out there. However, the right one depends on the bits you will be using.

For instance, if you are using smaller bits which are about 3/8”, you will need a standard drill. This type of drill is, however, only useful when making one or two holes.

However, when making holes larger than 3/8” in size, you will need a hammer drill or a rotary hammer drill. Just make sure not to use a standard drill for larger bits. This is because it lacks the “hammer action” required to drill into a hard stucco surface.

What are the Best Types of Bits to Use?

There is no definite answer to this question. It all depends on the size of holes you plan to drill into the stucco. Some of the common bits you are likely to come across include:

Smaller Bits

These are the easiest bits to find and use. Generally, they can be categorized as any bit 3/8” in diameter.

Larger Bits

Any bit that is larger than 3/8” in size is considered to be large. However, for 1/2″ bits and large, they may need an SDS type of connection since they are made for rotary hammers.

Precautions to Take Before & After Drilling into Stucco

It is important to take some precautions when drilling holes through stucco to ensure safety and the best results. These include:

  • Keep in mind that there are electrical wires inside the walls. So, you should not puncture through the stucco too rapidly but rather slowly.
  • Make sure to seal up the perimeter of the holes after drilling. This is important if you’re drilling a hole to insert ducts or pipes.

When Not to Drill into Stucco?

If the stucco is damaged, you should never try to dry through it because you could cause more damage. But once the material is fully repaired, dried, and checked by a professional, you can go ahead and drill into it. 

Additionally, it is not advisable to drill areas of a wall that have electrical wires. If the bit touches the wires, it could cause more issues that might be expensive to repair.

Also Read: Top Drill Bit for Brick

Final Thoughts

When drilling through stucco, you might experience pieces of the material flaking off. As a result, this may leave you with ugly results. But if you know how to drill into stucco and have the right tools, you won’t have to worry about this happening. So, follow the above steps to make clean and accurate holes into the stucco.

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