Did you know you can save money by learning how to drill into concrete yourself?
Home improvement on wooden houses is cheaper than on concrete houses. Wooden materials can be easily replaced or repaired with just a few tools, but flaws in concrete walls can be costly to fix. Even the simplest of changes such as drilling a hole into concrete needs care and precision to avoid damages.
Sounds like a lot of risk for a small task, but…
Working with concrete walls can be intimidating. By learning how to drill into concrete, you’ll be able to take on any concrete wall drilling tasks with ease. Read on and discover how you can turn into a concrete wall-drilling pro in just 5 easy steps!
You’ll need to gather some supplies.
Jose is a freelance writer and a self-professed techno geek. A father to four beautiful daughters, he is on a personal quest to sort out the best value items from the marketplace. He is also an incorporator and board member at Stealth Digital Media, a BPO and digital marketing agency in Manila, Philippines.
Simply follow these steps and you’ll be a pro at drilling concrete in no time!
Remember to wear your safety eyewear, dust mask, and gloves for this project. Drilling into concrete can launch small bits of stone everywhere. Drilling through concrete can generate respirable crystalline silica dust, which can cause damage to your lungs. Make sure that you have your mask and goggles on whenever you drill to protect your eyes and respiratory system.
1.Mark the spot where you want to drill a hole
You may think this step is as basic as it gets – pick a spot, mark it with a pencil, and you’re done!
But there’s more to this step.
You’re most likely not just randomly picking a spot to drill. You need an accurate measurement and a steady hand to prevent errors and make sure the hole is in the correct spot.
Most drilling tasks involve boring more than one hole. If you need the holes to be level with each other, both holes must have the same vertical measurement. Simply measure the vertical distance between the floor and the hole marking with your measuring tape. Use the same measurement to mark the next hole.
electric wires and plumbing pipes are inside concrete walls. Make sure that you are not drilling holes near pipes and electric wires. Pipes and electric wires typically run vertically through walls. Do not drill holes near faucets, water supplies, and/or electric outlets.
2.Drill Guide Holes
Now that you’ve marked the right spot, you can start preparing to drill. If you need help choosing the best drill bit to drill into concrete with, be sure to read the full article. I’ll go over this to detail in a bit farther down.
In some cases, you may need to start with guide holes. Guide holes are 1/8 to 1/4-inch deep holes used to make drilling easier for larger drill bits. If you need to drill a wide hole, it’s best to use drill guides.
Use a drill bit smaller than the desired hole size to drill ¼-inch deep guide holes in the spot you marked in Step 1. Then change the drill bit to right-size. Drill into the guide hole to the correct length.
For concrete slabs that are extremely resistant to your drill, start with smaller drill bits and reach the full depth rather than only making a ¼-inch guide hole. Then change to a larger drill bit to widen the hole, until you reach your desired width.
Pull the drill out periodically to remove the dust. Keep in mind that drilling into concrete will make the area extremely dusty. You can cover furniture and other fixtures with plastic or cloth to avoid getting concrete dust in them. You can clean up the dust by cleaning the dust with a powerful vacuum and a wet rag.
You need to be at a proper angle to drill straight holes. Your mark must not be higher than your shoulders, or lower than your elbows. Use a ladder if necessary. This angle allows you to properly aim for a straight bore, and it also allows you to grip and control the hammer drill the right way. Drilling from a low angle may give you a slightly-inclined hole, and drilling from a high angle may prevent you from controlling the drill.Control by pushing forward
Grip the drill bit from the handle and the foregrip. You can control the direction where the power drill is going by pushing forward slowly. Be careful not to tilt the drill as it may create uneven holes in your wall. Push forward with a slow and steady force. Do not attempt to force the drill to move forward. If you encounter an obstruction, stop drilling and see what the obstruction is.
3.Install wall anchor
If you need to screw a fixture to the wall, you will probably need a wall anchor. Wall anchors are plastic devices that fit inside drilled holes to ‘anchor’ screws to the wall. Wall anchors widen when a screw is fitted, which locks it in the hole.
To install a wall anchor, first ensure that the hole is free of dust or debris. You can use compressed air to force debris and dust out of the hole. Once you have the debris and dust out of the way, you can push a wall anchor inside the hole. The wall anchor and the hole needs to be a secure fit – secure enough that you need a little bit of force to get the wall anchor in.
4.Install the wall fixture
Concrete holes can hold a lot of weight. You can install fixtures that hold heavy items such as books and home entertainment systems. Whether you drilled a hole to install a bookshelf or a flat screen TV bracket, you would need to properly test your work before putting any serious weight on it. Try pulling on brackets and screws with a significant force to test the stability of the wall anchor. Check for any play on the screws. Each screw needs to be securely fit, without any hint of vertical or lateral movement.
By following these steps, you can be a pro at do-it-yourself concrete wall drilling. Mastering this skill adds a notch to your D.I.Y belt. Contractors typically charge between $70-100 for the similar task.
Think of all the money you’d be saving!
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Keep in mind that there are different drill bit types for different kinds of tasks. For this project, you need a masonry drill bit, a drill bit specially designed for drilling into stone and concrete materials.
Drill bits are special tools attached to the drill head to make specific types of holes. Different types of drill bits are created for specific drilling tasks. Discard worn drill bits and choose the right kind of drill bit for the task. Choosing the right kind of drill bit would make any drilling task a lot easier. See our list of the best drill bits to narrow down your choices.
When choosing drill bits, you need to know two things – size, and surface.
Surface – special kinds of drill bits are created for the surface you want to drill on. For concrete, you would need a masonry drill bit, which are extremely hard metal drill bits, typically with a tungsten carbide-coated tip. Masonry drill bits would let you drill through concrete with ease.
Size – the right size of drill bits would let you drill the perfect holes. If you are planning to attach screws to the hole, simply match the diameter or thickness of the screw with the drill bit. Keep in mind that the holes created by drill bits have a bigger diameter than the drill bit itself. Choose a drill bit that is a size smaller than the screw. You can always make the hole bigger with a bigger drill bit if the screw would not fit.
Some drills and bits (not all) are secured by a chuck key. Use the chuck key to tighten the locking gears on the drill head. This will ensure your drill bit is properly secured. To use, simply insert the notch on the head of the chuck key to the groove on the drill head. Turn the chuck key tightly to lock the drill bit in place. Don’t think about skipping this step. Securing your drill bit is important to prevent the drill bit from coming loose while drilling.
Before you go on a drilling spree, you should know that…
Drilling in rental properties might be prohibited. Many rental properties would not allow drilling on their concrete walls. If you plan on drilling concrete walls while in a rental property, you should contact your landlord or property owner first. Drilling into concrete walls may lead to the forfeiture of your deposit.
You may consider:
There are alternatives to drilling. If you choose to drill holes in your wall, the holes would remain there until you decide to repaint your walls and cover up the holes with plaster. Before deciding on drilling as your option, consider other options such as high-grade adhesive hooks. For light loads such as picture frames, wall clocks, and paintings, these adhesive hooks should do the job just right.
If you CAN drill, but you’re on a budget –
Consider renting a hammer drill. You would not want to spend heavily on a tool that you’d only use once, right? Equipment rental is a popular option for those who want to do one-off tasks. Some hardware shops offer equipment rental for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one. Better yet, borrow from a friend or neighbor and save yourself from all the hassle!
Sounds simple enough, right?
At the end of the day…
Learning how to drill into concrete is a useful skill that would save you the trouble of hiring a professional to do a simple task. Every person who lives in a house made of concrete would eventually need to learn how to improve its looks and functionality without spending too much on materials and labor. Now that you’ve learned the basics of drilling into concrete, you can think of all the home improvement projects you can start!
Let us know what your next project is by commenting on the space below!
If you need to buy everything brand-new to drill into concrete, then you’re looking at around $80-$100 for everything.
But, wait – consider this:
Over 65% of people reading this article already have rotary drills at their disposal. If you have a rotary drill in your possession, then you could be are just looking at a total cost of just $30 or less for the drill bits and safety equipment.
Standard rotary drills lack the hammer action of hammer drills, which allow it to drill through concrete. Hammer drills are made specifically for drilling holes into concrete. Most battery-operated, wireless rotary drills lack the hammer action needed to drill into concrete. Forcing a regular drill to bore holes into concrete may damage the gears that operate the drill.
Drill bits made for drilling on other materials such as wood and steel cannot be used to drill into concrete. Masonry drill bits are specially-made with a hardened tip, which allows it to penetrate concrete. Drill bits that are meant for wood and steel typically have a sharp tip and could break if you use it to drill into concrete.
You can use a masonry putty or concrete patch to cover the holes in concrete. Simply fill the hole with putty, and leave it to dry for a day. You can also smooth the surface before applying paint.
You should consider hiring a contractor to drill holes into concrete if you are not completely confident of completing the job on your own. You should also consider hiring a contractor if the task is more than just drilling holes into concrete, such as installing a chandelier, or security cameras. Call contractors if the task is too complex or dangerous for you to finish.