If you are carrying out a construction project yourself you are likely someone who enjoys the process and has some knowledge and experience with various DIY jobs. However, whether you love DIY or are new to it, it does not mean you know properly how to drill into concrete. Concrete is a great material, it is versatile, strong and durable. But that strength and durability can have a double-edged sword when you are trying to change things up. Here is a guide with some useful tips on drilling concrete.
You need the right tools
You are probably going to have to invest in some more concrete drilling tools or rent the right ones out to have any success with drilling into concrete. Special tools you need are:
- Hammer drills (or rotary hammers as they are also called) – the good ones can go down into two inches of concrete in only a minute which is a lot faster than a rotary drill. If you do not want to invest in one to add to your tool collection rent one. Make sure you get one powerful enough for your needs, that it does not only have one speed and that it is safe with a stop function.
- Drill bits to the length you need – the length should be at least an inch longer than the material you need to drill through. If you are drilling into a concrete wall that is 8 inches thick you need a bit at least 9 inches long.
- Choose high-quality masonry drill bits. Although some drill bits are marketed as multi-function, it’s best to get the right bit for the job. Also, look for ones that are carbide tipped. Here’s some further information on the best concrete drill bits.
Seven step guide to drilling into concrete
Step One – Getting your drill bit ready
On the concrete mark where you want to drill and double-check all your measurements. Work out how deep you need to go and choose the best drill bit. Use the stop bar to set the depth or if there is no stop bar use a piece of tape at the length you need to go to.
Step Two – Getting into the best drilling position
You should be dressed in appropriate and safe construction clothing and have your safety goggles on. Put the drill bit into the drill and get into the proper drilling position where you are upright, standing with the drill in both hands. Hold the auxiliary handle too for the best control to get a straight hole make sure the bit is perpendicular to the concrete surface.
Step Three – Create a guide hole
Put the drill to its lowest setting and in short blasts create a guide hole that around a quarter of an inch deep. The guide hole gives your drill better stability when you are drilling into a concrete slab.
Step Four – The drilling can commence!
Place the drill in the guide hole and keeping yourself steady start drilling. When you are confident enough turn up the speed and drill until you reach the tape on the drill or the stop bar. Be careful, the air pockets and small stones can change the resistance level in concrete. If you hit an obstruction do not try to force through it, you might lose control or damage the drill bit. The best practice in how to drill concrete if you reach an obstruction is to stop and get a hammer and masonry nail and chip through it.
Get your drill speed right. Often people drill at too high a speed, resulting in blunting and burning out the drill bit. The general rule is the smaller the drill bit the higher speed you need and larger drill bits require a slower speed. If you still have the drill bit packaging take a look for further guidance.
Step Five – Take care of the dust
Now and then stop drilling and deal with the dust building up by brushing it away. Pausing regularly also stops the drill from overheating.
Step Six – Finish the hole
When you are at the depth you want, pull out and use compressed air to blow out the dust and then use a vacuum on the rest. Make sure you keep your goggles on for this step on how to drill into concrete.
Step Seven – Repeat as needed
For however many holes you need to drill repeat the same process making sure you allow time for the drill to cool.
Did you hit rebar?
If your drill suddenly stops on its own, you have probably hit some metal rebar. For regular rebar up to 5mm you can clean the hole and then carefully drill through it. If the rebar appears larger, stop. It could be structural, in which case you should drill a replacement hole.
Drilling holes in concrete is hard work. You need to measure carefully and you need the right tools. If you are not sure about doing it yourself, call in the Melbourne concrete drilling experts and we can help you quickly with all the tools and experience needed.