Concrete is everywhere, and once in a while, you will need to dill or screw it to make attachments. In this article, we will discuss how to drill into concrete using traditional and advanced methods.
So let’s dive in for a concrete guide on concrete drilling.
Concrete is hard & tough, and it can get harder with time. So it is not that easy to drill into it. You will need special tools and techniques to get the job done.
- Tools required to drill into concrete
- The procedure of drilling into concrete
- How to drill into concrete with a regular drill
- How to drill without a drill
Tools required to drill into concrete
The first question that may come to your mind might be, “Do I need a special tool or drill to make a hole in concrete”?
The answer is yes, and no. You will need a special drill bit, and this is a must. However, the drilling tool can be a Hammer Drill or an ordinary one. Hammer Drill will make the process quite easy and efficient.
In total, you will need the following tools to drill into concrete. The first three are the essentials.
- Masonry Drill Bits. These bits come with tungsten carbide tips and edges and are strong enough to drill into concrete, bricks, and stone. However, you will need special drill bits if you are expecting to drill through rebar. We will discuss it further in the blog.
- Hammer Drill. Hammer Drills are recommended for drilling into concrete. More about them coming in the next heading. You can use a powerful ordinary drill as well, but that will be a little more time-consuming.
- Masonry Screws: These are special screws you can use to make the attachments you intend to make.
- Plastic or sleeve Anchors. These are very helpful in making a tight and secure grip with the concrete. Plastic Anchors are very common and should be used with solid concrete and for lighter jobs. Sleeve Anchors work great in porous concrete walls and can support heavy weights.
- Canned Air. It is always recommended to clean the hole after drilling for a tighter grip. You can also use something else like a wet piece of fabric and insert it via a screwdriver. Just do what looks appropriate to clean the hole from inside.
- Personal Protective Gear. You should always have protective gear like a helmet, goggles, dust masks, earplugs, and safety gloves.
- A pencil or marker. You will need a pencil or marker to mark the spot you intend to drill.
- Dust Collectors. You can also get hold of a dust and debris collector tool, which will help make the place more tidy and clean. Very helpful if you plan to make multiple holes.
- Depth Guide. Most of the drills are equipped with a drill gauge to make holes with the perfect depth. Tip: You can use a simple scotch tape to mark the depth.
Hammer Drill vs Regular Drill
Hammer Drills have an additional feature in which the drill moves to and fro with a very high frequency and keeps hitting the material being drilled. This makes the drilling process very efficient and helps drill in hard materials like concrete, tiles, marble, bricks, etc. This function can be turned off with a select switch, and the hammer drill works like a regular drill without a too and fro motion.
Regular drills only lack the above-explained feature. That’s it.
Type of Drill Bits Required to Drill Into Concrete
Drilling into concrete requires special drill bits that can withstand the high temperatures at the drill bit’s cutting edges due to concrete’s high friction.
If you are drilling into concrete, you must get a hold of the correct type of drill bits as a non-compatible one will break easily. For concrete, the type of bits used is known as masonry bits. These bits come with a tungsten carbide tip and are strong enough to drill into bricks and stone as well.
Sharper drills are always recommended for all types of drilling jobs. Below are a few drill sets you should have in your toolbox, which can cater a wide varity of drill hole sizes.
- DEWALT Titanium Drill Bit Set, Pilot Point, 21-Piece (DW1361)
- DEWALT Masonry Drill Bit Set, Percussion, 7-Piece (DW5207)
- Bosch 9-Piece Impact Tough Titanium Drill Bit Set, TI9IM
How to identify Masonry Drill Bits and Types
Identifying masonry drill bits that are specifically used for drilling into concrete is relatively easy. The first thing is to look into the tip of the drill. The tip of a masonry drill bit is gently slopy. They have a little excursion at the tip, which reduces the friction for the rest of the drill and helps avoid it gets stuck.
Sometimes, the tip of masonry drill bits has a different color due to carbide coating. There are a few types of masonry drills available in the market and are as under.
- SDS-plus® – These are the most common drill bits used for concrete and are most widely available. They can withstand high temperatures and last longer for drilling into a more rigid material. They can embrace high impact like a hammering feature, which is commonly seen in standard drills.
- Rotary Percussion – These drills have a precise hardened tip for high-speed drilling. These can also drill into rebar (metal or steel rods used in concrete or ceilings). Contractors use these drill bits for the most demanding jobs.
- Double Flute – These drills can quickly clear the debris, making the drilling process very effective and fast. These are normally 2x faster than standard masonry drills.
- Concrete Saw Drill – These drills are like a circular saw used to drill larger holes in concrete for making a pass way for ducts, pipes, etc.
The above are a few of the most common drill bits available in the market, and you may find some specialty drill bits designed for concrete drilling. I’m not going to discuss all of them. Here is a comprehensive article on drill bit types for your consideration.
The procedure of drilling into concrete
Okay, so now let’s dive into the actual drilling process as we have covered which tools and equipment are required to drill. The drilling will consist of three phases; The first one will be the prep, the second one will be drilling, and the third one will be post drilling steps.
Phase 1: Drilling Prep
Step 1 – Understand the drilling surface: The first thing is to understand what type of material you will drill. Drilling an old foundation is quite different than drilling a new concrete wall. Similarly, drilling a concrete ceiling will require a different approach than drilling a concrete floor.
You need to understand the material you are going to drill, and that will help you make the right choice in the drill bits and drilling tool. This will also help to avoid any miscalculations resulting in an incident.
Step 2 – Identify the Hole Depth and Diameter. Before you start drilling and screwing in, it is recommended to make sure what type of screws you will use and the hole’s required depth. Normally, it is recommended to make the hole a little deeper (1/4 of an inch) than the screws you’re planning to use. This will help accumulate the debris, and the screw will hold properly.
I will discuss what type of drill bits and screw combinations you should use at the end in this same blog post.
Step 3 – Mark the drilling spot. Now you need to identify the exact location or locations where you want to drill. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to undo the drilling process, so you need to be sure about the drilling spot. Mark that spot with a pencil or marker so that you should not make any mistakes.
Also, make sure that the spot you plan to drill is not porous by hitting it with a wooden hammer or the back of a screwdriver and analyzing the sound.
Phase 2: Start Drilling
Step 4 – Get in a proper position. There is no single definition of a “proper position.” It totally depends upon your situation: Where are you standing? Where you intend to drill the hole?
In general, make sure that you stand firmly, shoulders wide apart, the drill is perpendicular to the surface, and hold it with both hands. Assess the situation properly and look for all safety hazards.
Step 5 – Drill a pilot hole. It is always recommended to start with a pilot hole. Start with half an inch pilot hole and drill it at slow speeds. This will help achieve a clean hole and won’t chip out the surface concrete coat, Which is normally soft and can crack.
Step 6 – Adjust the Depth gauge of the Drill. Once you are done with the pilot hole, Adjust the depth gauge to the desired depth of the hole, and start drilling. You should not drill at high speeds and keep moving your drill to and fro so that all of the debris can come out easily.
Also, apply a little pressure so that the drilling can be effective. Avoid too much pressure; else, it can result in a broken drill bit. Plus, don’t forget to move the selector switch to the hammer drill position. If your drill does not have a hammering feature, try to replicate it by moving your drill to and fro.
Once you reach the desired depth, keep your drill steady and running for a while. This will also help to remove the debris from the hole.
Phase 3: Post Drilling Procedures
Step 7 – Clean the hole. Once you’re done with the drilling, It’s time to clean the hole. You can clean it with a compressed air-can or blow it in with your mouth. You can also use a wet piece of fabric folded around a screwdriver. Cleaning the hole is preferred but not compulsory.
Step 8 – Install Plastic or Sleeve Anchors. Now it’s time to insert plastic or sleeve anchors so that the screws can have a tight grip. If you plan to hang a lightweight item, anchors are not compulsory.
Step 9 – Screw-in. Now it’s time to install the screws. You can use the driver feature of the cordless drill to drive the screws in. Make sure that the screw fits in completely and is not lose. If the screw is too loose, try using a different type of size of anchor sleeve. If the screw is not getting in properly, then drill again and a little deeper this time.
How to Drill into Concrete Celing
>>Drilling into a concrete ceiling is almost the same as drilling into a concrete wall except doing it overhead, making it challenging.
While drilling into a concrete ceiling, the first thing is to take care of all safety hazards. This includes covering your head with a helmet standing on a proper stool or scaffolding, ensuring that the process is entirely safe. If you are not sure, I will recommend using third-party services. They can do it more professionally.
Follow following steps to drain into concrete ceiling.
- Get hold of masonry drill bits and a hammer drill. If you need to drill deep enough, you may have to drill through rebar. In that case, you will need a Carbide SDS-Plus Rebar Cutter Drill Bit.
- Mark the spots you need to drill with a pencil or marker.
- Stand firmly & straight, at a height so that you are near to the ceiling.
- Drill a pilot hole first. Start drilling slowly.
- Once done with the pilot hole, adjust the gauge depth, and start drilling the main hole. Keep the drill perpendicular to the drilling surface and press a little into the direction of drilling. Make sure to turn on the hammer feature of the drill.
- Once you reach the desired depth, keep the drill running for a while so that all debris can come out easily.
- Install the plastic anchors and screw in.
How to Drill into a Concrete Foundation
Drilling into a concrete foundation is not different from drilling into a concrete wall, except that concrete foundations are very hard and have plenty of rebars.
For drilling into concrete foundations, ensure that you have a powerful hammer drill and a Carbide SDS-Plus Rebar Cutter Drill Bit. The process is the same, starting with marking the spot where you intend to drill, adjust the depth gauge, start slowly, keep moving your drill to and fro so that all debris can come out easily and once you reach the desired depth, keep the drill running for a while.
How to Drill into a Concrete Floor
Drilling into a concrete floor is my favorite. It is comparatively easy as the drill weight helps to push the drill bit optimally. However, sometimes concrete floors can be very challenging as they can turn out to be very hard. This is due to the starting layer made up of a concrete mix, which results in a great finish, hence harder.
The biggest advantage of drilling concrete floors is that it is easily approachable. This makes the job quite easy. Start with setting up the hammer drill and installing masonry drill bits. After adjusting the depth gauge, begin drilling with slow speed. You can adjust the speed as per the requirement; however, higher speeds are not recommended for concrete drilling as they can heat the drill bits, resulting in a broken bit. You can also add some water to make the process smoother and dust-free. Install masonry screws as per the requirement.
How to Drill Into a Concrete or Cinder Block
Concrete or Cinder blocks are widely used as a construction material for homes and buildings. They are pre-made blocks and joined together with cement sand mix. The blocks are comparatively very hard then the in-between cement sand mix. Crawling into Concrete or Cinderblock is comparatively similar to drilling into a concrete wall.
Mark the position you intend to drill; make sure that you have more sports on the blocks for a better grip. Turn on the drill’s hammering feature, insert the masonry drill bit, and adjust the depth gauge. Start grilling slowly and increase the speed once you reach a little depth. Keep the drill running for a while once you reach the desired depth so that all debris can come out. Install the anchor sleeves and screw in as per the requirement.
How to Drill Through Rebar in Concrete
The steel rods mesh used in concrete construction is known as rebar. Rebar is a fundamental part of concrete construction and is widely used in ceilings, stairs, foundations, floors, etc. When drilling deep into concrete, you may have to drill through rebar, and in that case, you will need specialized Rotary Percussion drill bit or core drilling.
So, drilling through rebar is the same as drilling through concrete, except for using specialized rotary hammer drill and percussion drill bits. We recommend using Hilti TE-CX drill bits as they are widely popular and well trusted. Once you have the right tool, mark the spot you want to drill, start slowly, and hold the drill with both hands and firmly. Always use proper safety gear to protect your ears, eyes, head, and lungs.
How to drill into concrete with a regular drill
If you plan to drill into concrete but don’t have a hammer drill, you can still drill with a regular drill. The process will be a little difficult and will take longer, but still, you can drill into concrete with a regular drill.
The process is the same as drilling with a hammer drill, except for being patient, as it will take longer and more effort. The best way to do it is to replicate the hammering feature with your hands. Keep pushing and pulling your drill in & out, just like a hammer drill will do it itself. Start drilling with smaller masonry drill bits and then move on to a larger one. Use water to keep your drill bits cold and effective.
I have written a comprehensive guide on drilling into concrete without a hammer drill; you can check it here.
How to drill without a drill
And at the end, let’s discuss how to drill if you are out of all lucks and need to drill through concrete. Well, you won’t drill through concrete for fun; most of the time, it will be for making some attachments. The first thing you can do is, avoid drilling and use concrete masonry nails made of harden steel and can go through concrete. Use a framing hammer to install them.
Still, if you need to drill into concrete without a drill and have no other option, you can use a star drill and a simple hammer. The process of drilling through concrete with a star drill is simple and time tested. Place the star drill on the spot you plan to drill a hole and punch with a hammer sled, slightly rotate it, and repeat. This will be a little slow but will eventually take you there.
What size of the hole should I drill?
How to Drill 8-inch Hole in concrete?
Drilling an 8-inch hole in concrete is not common and finding a regular drill bit is almost impossible. The best luck is to go for core drilling and for that, you will have to hire a contractor.
If you plan to do it yourself, the best way is to draw an 8-inch circle on the wall and use a long 5/16″ drill bit to make a series of holes. Then use a small sled to knock out the hole.
How to Drill 4-inch Hole in concrete?
How to Drill 3-inch Hole in concrete?
How to Drill 2-inch Hole in concrete?
How to Drill 1-inch Hole in concrete?
Is it safe to drill into the concrete foundation?
Yes, it is safe to drill into concrete foundations. However, you may need specialized tools to drill through concrete foundations. You will also take care of drilling through rebar, so get hold of specialized rotary hammer drill and percussion drill bits.
We recommend using Hilti TE-CX drill bits as they are widely popular and well trusted. Once you have the right tool, mark the spot you want to drill, start slowly, and hold the drill with both hands and firmly. Always use proper safety gear to protect your ears, eyes, head, and lungs.
What drill do I need to drill into concrete?
You will need a hammer drill for drilling into concrete. You can also drill with an ordinary drill, but that will take a lot of time.
Can you use a regular drill to drill into concrete?
Yes, you can use a regular drill to drill into concrete, but that will require a lot of effort and time. Your best luck is to use a sharp drill bit, use some water to make the drill cool, start drilling with smaller size drill bits, and move on to a larger one.
What is the easiest way to drill into concrete?
The easiest way to drill into concrete is by using a hammer drill with masonry drill bits. A hammer drill will keep hitting the concrete with very minute but powerful displacement strokes. This makes the drilling very easy and convenient.
Will a cordless drill go through concrete?
Cordless Drills now a days are very powerful and can easily go through concrete.