How to Drill Into Concrete Safely and Effectively

How To Drill Into Concrete Safely And Effectively

It is always useful to learn how to drill into concrete. Once you learn this very important skill, there are a number of things you will be able to do.

For example, you can hang paintings on your wall, install lights in your home by yourself, and put up shelves in your bedroom or office, among other things.

Once you learn the proper and safe way to drill into concrete, you can do these things effectively and safely, without having to call anyone at home to help.

The process isn’t at all difficult.  All you have to do is learn which tools to select and the proper method to drill. Learning how to drill into concrete can also save you a whole lot of precious time and money.

Can a Cordless Drill Go Through Concrete?

Cordless Drill Concretes

A cordless drill refers to an electric drill which makes use of rechargeable batteries. Cordless drills are similar in function and effectiveness to corded drills. The features of both cordless and corded drills are also pretty similar.

Cordless drills are available in the hammer drill variety, most of which are accompanied by a clutch.

This clutch is what allows the screws to be properly driven inside various materials without the risk of damaging them.

Cordless drills are typically capable of handling materials such as concrete, brick, cement, and mortar. In fact, in terms of drilling into most materials, cordless drills aren’t too different from corded drills.

​The ability of any drill to go into concrete depends on three main factors – hammer action, torque settings, and battery power.

Importance of Hammer Action

While most drills have a ‘normal’ drilling action, some of them come with a drilling option called ‘hammer’ action.

This sort of action allows the drill bit to not only vibrate and spin, but it also allows the drill to function somewhat like a small hammer. 

The hammer action’s speed is measured in terms of bumps per second (bps). Whenever you drill through hard materials like concrete, this hammer action becomes very important.

Drilling into concrete using hammer action can speed up the entire process. Whenever you go cordless drill shopping, make sure to buy a cordless drill that includes hammer action.

Importance of Torque Settings

Torque Setting

The effectiveness of a cordless drill for drilling into concrete depends significantly on the torque settings.  Most people, who attempt to buy a new cordless drill don’t understand much about the ‘torque’ settings on a cordless drill. 

Many people mistakenly assume that the higher the rating of the torque is, the faster the drill will work. However, this doesn’t always hold true.

The torque setting has a whole lot more to do with the power of the drill rather than its speed. It can be useful to think of the ‘torque’ as the power that is sent to the chuck as either a turning or twisting action.

Cordless drills are generally accompanied with a whole range of torque settings. These settings lie on the control ring, located near the chuck, and tend to have a whole set of numbers on them.

When drilling through concrete, you require a lot of power, so a high torque setting needs to be used.

The one thing you need to be careful of when selecting a cordless drill is choosing one that has a wide variety of torque settings.

Importance of Battery Power

Cordless Drills

Typically, most cordless drills tend to have a decent battery life and can last up to at least a few hours. However, any sort of heavy drilling is likely to drain your cordless drill’s battery life.

However, if you are doing some heavy drilling such as hanging shelves, you need to understand that your cordless drill’s battery life may run out pretty soon, way before you get your job done.

The good thing is you always have the option of purchasing a cordless drill with differing battery sizes. When drilling through concrete, the bigger the battery, the better. Go for an 18 or 20 volt battery, instead of the smaller 12-14 volt alternative.

Generally, most cordless drills come with two batteries, so you can always charge one while the other is in use. That way you don’t have to face any inconveniences. Running out of battery halfway through the drilling process is likely to be pretty frustrating!

The bottom-line is, in order for your cordless drill to effectively drill through concrete, you must make sure that the drill you purchase has at least an 18 or 20 volt battery, decent hammer action, and a variety of torque settings to choose from.

What Drill Bits Should You Use?

Dill Bits What to picks

When drilling through concrete, the drill itself is only a single part of the entire process. The drill bit is just as important as anything else.

For concrete, you will require a masonry drill bit.  Carbide-tipped masonry drill bits that are designed especially for hammer drills are the type that you will need to drill into concrete.  

When buying a drill bit, remember that the flutes of the drill bit need to be at least as long as the hole that you plan on drilling.  These flutes are essential for cleaning the dust out of the hole.

Masonry drill bits come in a range of different sizes. The most popular sizes are 8, 10, and 12 mm.​ Depending on what you are putting up on the wall, or the reason you are drilling, you need to decide the size of the drill bits that you require.

Your masonry bit needs to be large enough to drill an appropriately sized hole into the concrete, so that you can put up whatever you are putting.

When investing in a masonry drill bit, make sure that it is of good quality. You don’t want to be throwing your money on a drill bit that fails to perform effectively.

How to Drill Concrete with a Cordless Drill?

Drilling Concretes

1. Mark the spot where you will drill

The first thing you need to do to drill into concrete is to mark the spot on the wall where you plan on drilling. 

Use a pencil to make a mark or a small cross on that particular spot.

2. Drill a ‘pilot’ hole

Once you have marked the spot where you plan on drilling, slowly put your cordless drill on that spot and begin to drill.

If the cordless drill that you are using has a speed control option, begin to drill for a short, steady while at a low speed. If it doesn’t have speed control, drill in short bursts.

Next, you need to make a hole that is relatively shallow, roughly about 3 to 6 millimeters wide.

This will be your pilot hole and will set the stage for the actual hole that you will drill.  

If the final hole that you need to make requires a drill bit of a larger diameter, you might want to use a smaller drill bit in your pilot hole because this ensures that the final hole is stable.

3. Continue drilling with increased power

Marking Drill Spots

If you own a cordless drill with a hammer option, you must turn that on before the drilling process starts.

Then, place your cordless drill inside the pilot hole that you made. Make sure that you keep the drill perpendicular to the concrete.

Start by drilling with firm pressure, thrusting the drill forward. Slowly, start to increase the speed of your drill and increase pressure if necessary.

You must make sure that the drill is under your control and stable at all times. Because concrete isn’t a homogenous material, it’s possible for the drill bit to skid a little, especially if it hits a pebble or an air pocket.

Then, make sure you are applying sufficient pressure to keep the drill in place, but under no circumstances should you thrust it forward by force because this risks damaging or even breaking it.

The more often you use your drill, the more you will be able to learn the right amount of pressure to apply.

4. Pull the drill out from time to time

Drilling isn’t a constant process. You will need to pull the drill back slightly from time to time, and then thrust it forward again.

You may have to repeat this process every 10 to 20 seconds. This process is important because it helps pull dust out of the hole.

It’s also important to stop drilling every now and then so that the drill gets time to cool down.

Drills can easily overheat, especially when drilling into a tough material like concrete. You can also sprinkle a bit of water to help the drill bit cool down.

5. Break through any barriers with a masonry nail

Drill Betons

Remember that drilling may not always go as smoothly as you would expect. At times, it is possible for things to go unexpectedly wrong.

If you end up hitting a particularly tough piece of concrete, try inserting a masonry nail into the hole and hammer it, in order to break up the concrete.

Make sure that you don’t hammer the nail in too deep, though. Then, insert the drill once more and start drilling.

6. Blow the dust out

Removing dust is important because this ensures that the concrete is able to hold the weight of whatever you will drill into it.  

In order to remove dust, you can make use of a squeeze bulb or even a compressed air can. Make sure to keep your goggle son while you do this because concrete dust can be quite hazardous for health.  

Here’s all you need to know about how to drill into concrete safely and effectively. If you feel that we have missed out anything important, let us know in the comments below.

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