If you are a fan of DIY, you need to learn how to drill into concrete at some point. Whether you want to mount some shelves around the house or installing a window box or some outdoor lights, you will need to learn the process of drilling.
What You Need to Know to Drill into Concrete
Concrete has become a go-to design touch in almost every modern home nowadays. In modern concrete, you can drill a hole or screw into it armed with nothing more than a rotary drill. However, when it comes to an older concrete that is much denser than the modern finishes, you may have to use something more suitable than a rotary drill. Which, in this case, would be a hammer drill or a rotary hammer.
A hammer drill works in a way that combines the vibrations and the twisting action from a rotary drill. And is primarily used for smaller holes and occasional drilling of things like screws and plastic anchors. And the rotary hammer is smoother to operate, drills faster, and makes larger holes. However, it is more expensive than the hammer drill.
To begin with, we are going to explain the process of how to screw into concrete without a hammer drill or rotary hammer:
For this activity, you will need a regular drill and some drill bits. Just make sure that you are using some of the best drill bits that you can find, so you don’t make a huge mess.
Start with a small masonry drill bit with a sharper tip, penetrate the concrete first, and try to keep the consistent pressure on the drill. When you have created the starter hole, re-drill the hole with a larger bit to increase the size. If you notice that the bits are stuck, that means that something is blocking the way, and in that case, you will need a hammer and a masonry nail to break up the blockades. Regular drills are not made for concrete drilling, so they may get overheated. In that case, just add water to your drill and let it rest for a bit.
However, the right answer to the question “how to drill into a concrete wall” depends on your needs. If you need to make smaller holes, use a hammer drill, and if you need to be done with the job faster and make larger holes, then use a rotary hammer. Hammer drills and rotary hammers are specially designed for drilling into rocks using a rapid hammer action. So when buying or renting this kind of tool, look for the ones that have good power, a stop function, more speed settings, and a nice handle for your hands to enhance control, safety, and comfort.
The following are some tips on how to drill into a concrete wall at home:
- Before you begin, choose the holes’ position and mark them with a pencil on the concrete. Think about the depth you want for each hole to be, double-check their position and put your goggles on before you start. If you want your holes to be the same depth, then you should set the stop bar on your tool to stop at the exact depth that you desire. If your tool doesn’t have a stop bar, you can wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit to keep track of where to stop. The standing position is also pretty important for drilling. You need to stand still, with your shoulders wide apart, holding your tool with both of your hands.
- Controlling the drill at the beginning could be hard, but when you start to make a hole, the drill should be perpendicular to the concrete. You should always begin with the slower speed at first to be able to control the drill better while making the guide hole. However, there are cases where the tool has only one speed, and in that case, you may need to use your tool in a short burst of just a few seconds until you have established a hole. Once your guide hole is made, you will have much better control over your tool, so if you feel confident and it’s not your first time using a hammer drill or a rotary hammer, you can turn the speed to full.
- Always keep in mind that concrete can have stones or air pockets and pebbles that can give you an unpredictable resistance, and in that kind of situation, it can be easy to lose control over your tool. Suppose that happens and you hit obstruction during the drilling process. In that case, you should never force the tool into the concrete, this can damage your drill and the bits, damage the concrete’s surface, mess up your home, or you can hurt yourself. You can solve that obstruction problem by taking the tool out and grabbing a hammer and masonry nail. With tapping the masonry nail, you can easily break up the obstruction.
- Once you have drilled your holes to the depth you desired, blow all of the concrete dust out of the hole using compressed air and vacuum the dust from the ground. You shouldn’t take off your goggles for this step either, in order to protect your eyes and face from any dust or shards that may fly around. Concrete dust is also hazardous, so make sure to wear a mask, so you don’t breathe it in.
The key to how to drill into concrete can be all about the methodical working. Having the right tools, plan where you want to drill the wholes, etc. If you are having a hard time finding the right tools, you can check our article about the best hammer drills on the market.
Drilling into concrete is a hard job, so don’t worry if you are facing any challenges along your drilling way. Just take a moment to use the right tools, and carry on.