Needed to do some work involving drilling some holes in concrete? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll be more than willing to impart some wisdom to you to help you get that project done.
First up, drilling in concrete can be a bit challenging. It’s cool and a great way to design your place but if you don’t know what you’re doing then you might either end up with broken drill bits, damage our tool, or worse injure yourself.
So brace yourself as we are going to talk about how to drill a hole in concrete and whatever valuable information that comes with it. Let’s get to it!
What is concrete?
Concrete is a common construction material that is composed of cement, and fine aggregates like sand and at the same time coarse aggregates mixed in with water that in turn hardens with time. In the construction of buildings, concrete is primarily used for the construction of its foundations, beams, columns, slabs, and a variety of its load-bearing elements.
There are a variety of binding materials utilized other than just cement such as lime and bitumen for lime concrete and asphalt concrete respectively which the latter is utilized for road construction.
Concrete versus Cement
These two materials are often interchanged by people but concrete and cement are two different things.
Cement is just one component of concrete.
In turn, concrete is made up of 3 basic components namely water, an aggregate i.e. rock, gravel, or sand, and mostly Portland cement. Cement usually comes in powder form, serves as a binding agent once mixed in with water and the aggregate. The combination, or the concrete mix, will then be poured in and turn into the hardened durable material that we are all familiar with.
Know your tools and drill bits
Having the right tool in your hand and equipping it with the right drill bit is key to effectively drill holes into it, so before we get to the drilling part let’s get to know the tools and the bit that you are going to utilize.
Masonry Drill Bits
Masonry bits are what you want to use if you want to drill holes on concrete. They are also great for drilling holes through stones and bricks. Drill bits with tungsten carbide tips are the strongest, the sharper the better for solid concrete.
Masonry bits with durium or carbide tipsare primarily intended for hammer drills and are more efficient when penetrating hard surfaces.
Hammer Drill versus a Regular Drill
Regular drills are powered by electricity, physical effort, or compressed airand it supplies a standard rotary action to drive drill bits or any accessory that fits in its chuck. This includes screwdriver bits, wire wheels, flap wheels,countersinks, andnut drivers.
Though you might encounter some trouble with manual hand drills, thistoolis utilized to make holes in wood, metal, ceramics, and also plastics without much difficulty. Regular drills though may have some issues on tougher jobs.
Hammer drills employ a rotary action that is supplemented by a series of hard and fast impacts to the back of its chuck. This force is enough to enable a masonry drill bit to punch through hard materials as opposed to just cutting into them like a normal drill bit would for metal or wood.
How to drill a hole in concrete (A step by step guide)
We’ve come to the main part of our discussion and here we are going to illustrate how to drill a hole in concrete.
First up, is of course to mark the desired spot for the holes with a pencil on the surface of the concrete. Next is to double-check the locations before proceeding. Also, during the planning phase or prep work, already consider the drilling depth that is necessary for the holes.
Caution Tip: Always don proper safety eyewear or facemask when drilling!
The next step is to insert your tungsten carbide masonry drill bit (preferable)tothe desired hole size into your hammer drill. Then get into position to start drilling by making sure to plant your feet firmly on the ground, and shoulder-width apart.
Always hold your drill securely using both hands.Make sure to grip it in one hand like that of a handgun, and, the auxiliary handle for your other hand, if there is no auxiliary handle then use your other hand as a brace to the back of your drill.
After, you need to create a guide hole. Most hammer drills will offer two speeds, so put your drill at a slower speed to have the best control when you makea guide hole. If your drill only has one speed, then you can work in short, but controlled bursts for a few seconds until you’ve created a hole.
Start with a guide hole with at least 1/8” deep. Your drill will then be easier to control. Then, continue to operate your drill with a steady and light but firm touch so you don’t have to force it in.
Once you’ve successfully drilled the hole and to its necessary depth, then blow the concrete dust out of it using a can of compressed air then after vacuum up any that has fallen to the ground.
Repeat steps as necessary.
A few other reminders and best practices
- Concretehas air pockets and also pebbles or stones that may make resistance quite unpredictable.
- If you hit some obstructions, don’t force the drill into the concrete farther.
- Whenever you reach too tough to crack spots which impede progress, put the drill down and then grab a masonry nail and a hammer. Set the tip of your masonry nail at the spot and give it some taps lightly using the hammer to get rid of the obstruction. Once done, resume at slow speed at first.
- Periodically pull your drill out and brush away concrete dust.
Enjoyed our article? We sure did on preparing it for you. Whether you are a do-it-yourself kind of guy or seasoned at this, this article is a great refresher to remind us of some of the best practices and ways we can get around our projects efficiently.
So stay cool and stay safe!