Simple Solutions

How to Drive Screws in Wood Without Splitting

By: Joe Truini
Drilling a pilot hole in a wood board.

Drilling a pilot hole to keep from splitting wood when driving screws.

Cordless drills are great for driving screws; but they are so powerful, they can split the board if you’re not careful.

To prevent this from happening, drill a pilot hole in the wood and countersink the screw head before driving the screw.

A reversible drill driver bit, such as the DeWalt Flip Drive, which has a drill bit and countersink on one end and a screwdriver bit on the other, is a great way to speed up the process. Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Joe Truini: A cordless drill provides a great way for anyone to drive screws with power and accuracy. The problem is today’s drills have so much power, you can easily split the wood. Let me show you how.

This is particularly a problem when you’re driving a screw near the very end or edge of the board. Once the head tightens up, you can see what happens, it splits the wood.

Now, to prevent that what you can do is drill a pilot hole or a screw-shank clearance hole with a drill bit, then come back with a screwdriver bit to drive the screw. But that means you have to keep switching back and forth.

So to prevent that, get yourself a drill-driver bit. This is the best accessory for any cordless drill. It’s basically just a screw-driving tip on one end, but if you unlock the collar and flip it around, you see you have a pilot bit and a counter bore and a counter sink all in one.

So what you do first is before you drive the screw—drill the hole. Then drill down a little bit for the counter bore, or the counter sink, for the screw head. Then simply flip it around, drive in the screw, and don’t worry about splitting the board.


Please Leave a Comment

7 Comments on “How to Drive Screws in Wood Without Splitting”

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.

  • Wendy Murray Says:
    April 5th, 2019 at 12:04 am

    How do I know what diameter a pilot hole to drill when putting screws in a floor that squeaks. The screws I am using are 10g x 50mm and the pilot drill is 4.0mm, is this correct?

  • Kenneth Says:
    March 19th, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    I did this and the wood still split. I was using brand new oak boards.

  • Steve Says:
    October 18th, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Found water faucet fix video thanks, Steve

  • Steve Says:
    October 18th, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you. Have you guys thought about writing a book about these great show tips. I use most that are featured. I also find the new product segment most helpful. I bought the ladder and am ordering the Husky saw horse that was featured. Would you guys do a segment about how to fix a leaky outdoor water faucet, the safe way.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 28th, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Steve and Gary,
    The reversible drill/driver attachment used in the video above was the DeWalt Flip Drive.

  • Gary Torres Says:
    September 27th, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Who makes this product? I have looked for this reversible drill driver bit on the web and stores with no luck.

  • Steve Says:
    September 26th, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Who makes the drill driver bit featured in this video. I could not find it at Home Depot or Lowes?

    Thanks great segment on show.

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at

 characters available

How to Drive Screws in Wood Without Splitting