How To Drill Into Concrete With A Regular Drill
Concrete is a commonly used material in building mainly due to its strength. You can ensure that something will remain stable for a very long time by using concrete to reinforce it.
In addition to its strength, concrete is also valued because it’s an energy-saver, environmentally friendly, and it looks great. If you’re looking to drive up your home’s value, adding a concrete driveway can help you do exactly that. You can even choose to install new fixtures over concrete if you so desire.
To prep the concrete for the addition of new fixtures, grab a small masonry bit and put it in your drill. Start drilling and gradually use bigger drill bits to open up the hole in the concrete. A hammer and nail will be needed to break aggregates, but the drill should be enough for most of the concrete.
Learning how to drill into concrete properly is important if you want to take on different home improvement projects. Find out how to do that and more by continuing with this article.
Why Is It Difficult to Drill into Concrete?
Have you ever wondered about what concrete actually is? Well, allow us to tell you more about it. For starters, you should know that concrete is not just one kind of material. Instead, it’s a mixture of both aggregates and paste, according to Cement.org.
The aggregates make up most of the concrete. They specifically account for about 60 to 75 percent of the concrete. Two different kinds of aggregate are used to make concrete.
First, you have fine aggregates and they are typically made using crushed stones or sand. The crushed stones and sand grains must be small enough to pass through a 3/8-inch sieve before they can be used.
Meanwhile, the coarse aggregates consist of particles larger than 0.19 inches. Bits of gravel and crushed stone are commonly used to make the coarse aggregates. Concrete manufacturers also make sure to use clean materials in order to maintain the strength of the aggregates.
The paste is the other component of the concrete and it is just as important when it comes to imbuing strength. The paste is usually made from Portland cement and water and it’s then used to coat the aggregates.
Once the paste starts to harden over the aggregates through hydration, it forms a stronger and more durable mass. That mass is what we know as concrete and its strength should not be surprising considering its composition.
Now, imagine having to drill into all of that. The hardened paste alone is already a strong material. When it’s strengthened further by the aggregates, drilling into the concrete becomes a very difficult task.
How to Drill into Concrete Using a Regular Drill
Drilling into concrete is a necessity in different kinds of home improvement projects. If you want to drill a well on your property, you’ll likely have to break through some concrete. Projects such as that will require hiring the professionals.
However, if what you want to do is drill into concrete to add lights or pictures, you can handle that yourself. You don’t even need to prepare specialized tools for the job. A regular drill and a few other items will suffice.
Step 1: Get Your Tools Ready
The regular drill is obviously the first tool you will need. You then need several masonry drill bits that are compatible with your drill. Masonry drill bits are best to use on concrete for a few reasons.
First, the design of a masonry drill bit is great for working through the concrete. As noted by How Stuff Works, masonry drill bits use tips that are larger in diameter than their shafts. Thanks to that design, the whole drill bit can work through the sheet of concrete more effectively.
Furthermore, masonry drill bits don’t have to be deployed at high speeds to work well. Even at a lower speed, they can plow through the concrete just fine and create the opening you need. Working at a lower speed is even best for drilling into concrete, which is another reason to use the masonry bits.
Some masonry drill bits also come equipped with carbide tips. Carbide tips are more durable, more suitable for concrete, and they also produce less dust and vibrations while working. Purchase the masonry drill bits with carbide tips if you don’t have them already.
You should also prepare a hammer and nail before drilling. Those two items will be needed to break through the harder portions of the concrete. A marker of some kind that will appear on concrete is also required.
Step 2: Prepare Your Safety Gear
Drilling into concrete can be harmful in a few ways. Small bits of concrete may scatter all over the place and dust particles may start to release into the air. The noise produced by the drill can also have an adverse impact on your hearing.
You need to protect yourself adequately against those potential problems. At a minimum, you should wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and some earplugs. Also, consider putting on some gloves so that you can maintain a firm grip on the drill.
Step 3: Mark Where You Will Drill
Pick up your marker and use it to indicate where you want to drill. Since regular drills don’t pack a lot of power, you have to make up for that with accuracy. You need to hit the same spot consistently to progress deeper into the concrete and the marker will help with that.
Step 4: Start Drilling with the Smallest Masonry Bit
Place the smallest masonry bit you have into the drill and start working. Just be steady with the force you’re applying but don’t apply too much. Eventually, you should start to notice the hole forming.
Step 5: Increase the Size of the Drill Bits You Use
The reason you started drilling with the smallest bit is because you need that opening. Now that it’s there, you can increase the size of the masonry bits you’re using to make the hole wider. Keep drilling and switching to larger drill bits until you’ve created the hole you need.
Step 6: Cool Down the Drill Bit if Needed
If the drill bits are getting too hot, douse them with some water to cool them down. Allow them to cool for a while before you resume drilling.
Step 7: Use a Hammer and Nail to Clear Aggregates
Remember those aggregates we talked about earlier? There’s a chance you’ll bump into them as you’re drilling into the concrete. A regular drill is not enough to break through them.
Grab the nail instead and place that in the hole. Secure the nail in place and then hit it with the hammer. That should be enough to bust through the aggregate blocking your drill.
Step 8: Continue Drilling until the Hole Is Big Enough
With the aggregates now out of the way, you can resume drilling. Continue drilling until the hole you’ve made is the right size.
Can You Drill into Reinforced Concrete Using Only a Regular Drill?
If the concrete you want to pierce through is reinforced, a regular drill may not suffice anymore. The thing about reinforced concrete is that it uses steel rebar to become sturdier. Drilling through that steel rebar is going to require more force.To work your through reinforced concrete, you will first need a stronger drill. A hammer drill will work best in this situation.Aside from the new drill, you will also have to get your hands on some new drill bits. You should specifically look for rebar-cutting drill bits if you want to make any progress. Upon securing the new tools, you can just follow the same steps as outlined in the previous section.
Which Type of Drill Is Best for Concrete?
Although regular drills can work just fine on concrete, you should still look into using a hammer drill whenever possible. Hammer drills pound through concrete with great force, leading to the material coming loose faster.You can also use rotary hammers for working on concrete. Rotary hammers are great for projects that involve plenty of concrete processing because of the force they consistently generate.
Can You Crack the Concrete with Your Drill?
Yes, cracking the concrete is a possibility even if you only use a drill. Cracking often happens when the drill is not used correctly.When drilling a hole into concrete, make sure that the tool is perpendicular to the surface you’re working on. Also, refrain from pushing the drill into the concrete. Rely on the drill bit instead and let that burrow into the concrete with you only offering support.
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