Digging Post Holes in Solid Rock

Digging post holes in solid rock is a hard chore no one wants to do.  Have you ever really wanted to install a fence along your property only to find there is solid rock right in your way?  

You might be surprised at our recommendation for drilling post holes in solid rock.

digging post holes in solid rock
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Digging Post Holes in Solid Rock 

There are many pieces of advice for drilling post holes in solid rock. Can a post hole digger go through rock? Sorry to say, but even the best post hole auger won’t be able to dig post holes in solid rock.  Ditch that idea.

The easiest ways are to think outside the box.    

Do you really need a traditional fence or could you plant a fast-growing hedge or even make a rock wall fence instead?  Maybe it would require less maintenance or look better with your landscaping?  Maybe, you could even save yourself some cash AND not have to dig fence post holes in rocky ground?   

Some types of rock are easier to drill and others, are, well, as hard as a rock can be. 

How do You Dig Post Holes in Solid Rock? Consider Hiring a Professional 

Can you auger through rock with a regular post hole auger? No way. You have the option to call in professionals who drill in these sorts of conditions.  They have the know how and the expensive equipment to deal with digging post holes in solid rock.  It could even be the same price as renting or buying all the special equipment to do it, not to mention save you a ton of time.  Have the holes drilled for you in no time and without any effort on your part. 

Can you tell we are trying to make this easier for you?  Frankly, I would find any way to avoid digging post holes in solid rock. 

How do you Dig Holes in Solid Rock?

If you absolutely must drill into solid rock, the deeper the hole, the more labor and more expensive tools you’ll need.  How do you dig a post hole in solid rock? For shallow holes, you can probably use a hammer drill.  For deeper holes, you will need a jackhammer, a drifter drill and maybe, even dynamite.  It can depend on the type of rock as well. Some types are “softer” or break apart much easier than others. Careful with all of the above.  If you are not confident with these sorts of tools, hire someone. 

Drilling Post Holes in Limestone

Rock Drills for Fence Posts

Many parts of the world and in the USA have limestone under the topsoil. The best tool to try and drill a hole in limestone is a tractor or skid steer auger that is called a rock auger. You’ll have to figure out how to weigh down your vehicles enough so that there is downward pressure on the auger bit sufficient enough to break into the limestone.

Look into buying a 3 point down pressure kit to increase hydraulic pressure in a downward fashion on your tractor.

Otherwise, you’ll have to hire someone with a larger auger that is meant for these sorts of soil/rock conditions.

If you have rocky soil, you can use a post hole auger and various tools to get the rocks out of your way, check out our details how to dig in rocky soil post.

Options To Try Digging Post Holes in Solid Rock

There are a few options you can try, but they will be time consuming and maybe difficult.

You can try digging holes with a backhoe or a ram hoe attachment and chipping away at the rock, if it’s the type of rock that will chip and break (unless you’ve got solid granite which won’t break apart). For smaller holes, you can try a jackhammer or even a hammer drill. This means that you might only be able to install a post brace or some sort of steel bracing structure for your post. It means you are probably going to have to get creative with the way you anchor your fence posts or your structure into the rock.

You may have to build secure cages for your posts as a brace to anchor your posts. You can even drive in steel posts instead of wood posts, or secure the steel posts to the anchor you’ve drilled into the rock.


Digging post holes in solid rock is not something I ever want to do myself.  This is one of those jobs where you just bite the bullet.  Pay the Pros.  They will be in and out with all the top-notch gear and you’ll have perfect post holes in solid rock. 

Can you Break apart rock and install fence posts?

Depending on the type of rock and how deep you need to anchor your posts, it may be possible, but it will be back breaking work.