Drilling, Nailing, Screwing: Can They Cause Cracks in Concrete?

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Drilling, nailing and screwing can all cause concrete to crack if they’re not done properly. Although it seems like a very tough material, concrete is in fact extremely brittle and prone to cracking. What’s important to stop concrete cracks when doing these things is knowing how to do them properly. Failure to do so increases the probability of concrete cracks.


For drilling into concrete without causing concrete cracks, use a hammer drill, not a regular drill. You also need to use a carbide-tipped drill bit. These two pieces of equipment can make a great deal of difference. Between them, they cut through the concrete to make the hole cleanly and without the risk of the drill burning out. The carbide tipped drill bit will remain sharp on the job, unlike regular drill bits, which will become dull very, very quickly.

A good technique is also important. The drill needs to be held perpendicular to the surface that’s being drilled. Don’t force the drill but use light pressure to let the bit do the work. The bit should be bouncing p off the bottom of the hole which breaks it up giving the tip a surface it can bite on. Forcing it can increase the possibility of concrete cracks by putting more pressure on the concrete. Don’t drill deeper than necessary. Measure the anchor or bolt that you’re putting into the concrete. Mark that depth on the drill bit with a piece of masking tape and stop when you reach that depth. The deeper you drill the weaker the concrete can become and the greater the likelihood of concrete cracks.


Screwing into concrete also requires drilling before the screw can be put into the anchor. You need to drill and then insert the anchor, with the anchor being tapped into place with a hammer.

Perform the drilling operation as described above, being careful not to make the hole too deep. When putting the screw into the anchor, it’s vital that the screw isn’t too tight. The tighter you make the screw in the hole the greater the pressure on the concrete and the stronger the possibility of concrete cracks. It can even cause the concrete around the screw to break if not done carefully. It’s a fine line, as you do need the screw to be tight, but not too tight. Essentially you not only have the problems associated with drilling into concrete but also add to those by increasing pressure with the screw. Beware of that and remain very careful.


For nailing into concrete and not causing concrete cracks a concrete nail gun is the best option. It runs on compressed air so it has the force to push a nail firmly into the concrete.

It’s the method that’s least likely to cause concrete cracks, although no method is infallible. As it’s done quickly, with a much smaller hole there’s less build-up of pressure within the concrete itself. You can also use a masonry hammer and concrete nails. This takes much more physical force and increases the possibility of concrete cracks due to repeated blows from the hammer to push the nail properly into the wall.