Best drill for old plaster wall?

skubamanJuly 16, 2014

Hey guys,

I have this drill/driver which has been useful for small projects in the past, but I think now I need a real drill.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UMJJ3C

I have been afraid of drilling at my new home which has old plaster/lath walls, and the main reason is that I don't trust this drill and its bits to do the job without cracking the walls.

What would be the ideal kind of drill for plaster walls? A regular drill, a hammer drill, another kind? What should I look for in a new drill to help in a successful clean job on plaster walls?

I will also need to drill into wood (and other materials) at times, do I just need different bits?

Thanks so much

Here is a link that might be useful: Current Drill/Driver

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kudzu9

What you have is basically a cordless screw driver. You should get yourself a decent cordless drill. I have had good luck with Bosch and Makita. Here is a link to a really nice Bosch drill/driver with a lot of power and 2 batteries; it's less than $100:

http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-DDB180-02-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-Batteries/dp/B0046REI60/ref=sr_1_25?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1405558545&sr=1-25&keywords=makita+cordless+drill

As for drilling in plaster, it's pretty easy, but here are some tips...

Here is a link that might be useful: Drilling in plaster

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:01PM
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snoonyb

You have a typical, small, utility, home owner, crafter, cordless drill/screwdriver.
If the chuck accepts standard drill bits, it will chuck masonry bits up to the max. size it's rated for.

If it only accepts 1/4" drive bits, then there are drill bits available in that configuration also.

You should not have any problem drilling plaster walls with the tool, and the correct bit.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:05PM
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grubby_AZ

Agree quite a bit with the above comments. Remember that the drill bit is far more important than the drill motor, so buy with quality in mind.

You almost never need a hammer drill, and if you get one try to not use hammer mode when drilling through old brittle browncoat plaster that you don't want to patch! Speed and power there is your enemy.

I would also suggest that Black and Decker is, in general, excessively low quality.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:21PM
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Skie_M

I also agree concerning quality of the drill ... you get what you pay for. That having been said, if you just want something to do the job decently well and don't care how long it lasts, black and decker is reasonably good for the price. I buy my tools now at Harbor Freight, and their tools are around the same level in quality.

Now, on to the meat of your discussion ... It doesn't matter what brand of drill you use as long as you have variable speed control (squeeze the trigger harder and the drill goes faster). For drilling through something like your plaster walls, you'll want to be able to go fairly slowly in order to not tear large chunks out of your wall. You will also want to use the right kind of bits. For your purposes, I would select a "Hole Saw" bit.

There is a central guide bit that is held in the center to give you a central point, and there is a saw blade held on it that will cut around it using a fine tooth arrangement. The rule of thumb is, the finer the saw tooth or cutting edges, the finer (and more finished, with fewer jagged edges) the resulting cut will be.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:29PM
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skubaman

Thanks for all the feedback. Here are some additional comments:

"You have a typical, small, utility, home owner, crafter, cordless drill/screwdriver.
If the chuck accepts standard drill bits, it will chuck masonry bits up to the max. size it's rated for.
If it only accepts 1/4" drive bits, then there are drill bits available in that configuration also."

The VPX driver I have is clutchless, it uses the hex quick release bits. I found those harder to find then regular drill bits, right? I mean, I can find them online, but less options.

"Now, on to the meat of your discussion ... It doesn't matter what brand of drill you use as long as you have variable speed control (squeeze the trigger harder and the drill goes faster). For drilling through something like your plaster walls, you'll want to be able to go fairly slowly in order to not tear large chunks out of your wall. You will also want to use the right kind of bits. ""

Will a drill with 2 speeds only work well for this?

Thanks

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:53AM
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snoonyb

"The VPX driver I have is clutchless, it uses the hex quick release bits. I found those harder to find then regular drill bits, right? I mean, I can find them online, but less options."

Both HD,LOWE'S and ACE hdw. have these bits available from at least two mfg's, so I would imagine MENARDS also carries them, as well.

"Will a drill with 2 speeds only work well for this?"

The hardness of the material determines the pressure needed to penetrate, at speed.

Lower speed, greater pressure.

Higher speed, less pressure.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:14PM
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skubaman

Hi snoonyb, thanks for the response. Could you please explain this part?

"The hardness of the material determines the pressure needed to penetrate, at speed.

Lower speed, greater pressure.

Higher speed, less pressure."

?

Thanks

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:10PM
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snoonyb

Another name for lime putty plaster, is hardwall, and it goes to the consistency of the product, which in-turn, goes to the mix by the applicator and the formula.

Some putty-coat, the top and final coat in the lime plaster process, can be the hardness of casting plaster, which is very brittle and prown to flacking.

In other words, there is a slight learning curve, which only you will experience.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:27PM
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bcarlson78248

I picked up a Ryobi One cordless drill at Home Depot and its worked out very well for typical homeowner tasks. The batteries recharge very quickly, and the kit I bought (drill, reciprocating saw, two lithium batteries and a charger) was about $100. It is variable speed and has a clutch, but does not have a light or a level. The battery life and charging time is way better than any cordless tool I've had before.

I also have a corded hammer drill for more heavy duty tasks, but the convenience of cordless is great for most quick jobs.

Plaster walls are very hard, so you want to pre-drill any type of hole in the wall to avoid surface fracture of the plaster around the hole. Any standard metal/all-purpose drill bit should work fine. You do not need a masonry bit and you do not want to use a spade bit. I think a hammer drill would do more damage, and there is no need to use one on plaster.

Bruce

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:24PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

It all depends on the type of plaster and substrate.
My 1850 walls have super-soft clay-lime-horsehair plaster, with a slightly brittle thin lime whitecoat on top. If I pierce the whitecoat with a drill I can get through the browncoat no problem with a screw or nail. There are solid interior sheathing boards underneath to fasten stuff to.
On hard modern plaster over rocklath, a hammer drill is helpful, but on wood lath potentially damaging, here's why: A masonry bit is made for eroding its way through hard material by friction/hammering out particles. But it will not easily drill through hard dry wood. It will sail through the plaster but be confounded by the lath: 2 things can happen: it will break the lath, or it will push the lath back, breaking the plaster keys in either case. So if you use a hammer drill stop once the sand stops coming out of the hole, and switch to a wood bit for the laths.
If you have plaster over brick, concrete block, or high-fired structural terra cotta (hardest wall material beside stone) then you have no choice but to use a hammer drill.
Unless you have the above situation, with solid masonry, I find it best to sacrifice a wood drill bit. You may get a handful of holes out of it. Invest in a drill dr. and resharpen them.
Casey

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:52AM
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