Drilling into concrete walls with a normal drill can be very frustrating and the results very untidy and disappointing. If you have to drill into a concrete living room you need to use a hammer drill fitted with tungsten carbide masonry bits.
Step 1 - Mark the Position of the Holes
As always, the accurate marking of the holes is important. Make sure that they are all at a level or exactly where they are supposed to be.
Step 2 - Decide How Deep the Holes Need to be
Some drills have a stop bar that allows you to only drill a hole to the depth that is required. If your drill does not have one of these, use a piece of masking tape wrapped around the bit to mark the full extent of travel required.
Step 3 - Holding the Drill
It is important when drilling into concrete that you have full control of the drill. You must hold it by the handle and present it to the wall perfectly horizontally. If there is only one handle, use your spare hand against the back of the drill. You don’t necessarily have to use more pressure, but you do need to keep proper control of the drill. The hammer action makes the drill behave slightly differently to a normal drill, but it is not difficult to accommodate.
Step 4 - Starting the Hole
If your drill has a speed control start the hole off at a low speed. This will give you much better control until you have made a start in the wall. If there isn’t a speed control, use the drill in short spurts until you have a guide started. The guide only needs to be an eighth of an inch or so deep.
Step 5 - Finish the Hole
Once you have a start made it is easy to let the drill continue. The guide and your proper hold on the drill will prevent the drill slipping across the wall or simply chewing the wall up by bouncing around inside the guide. It is important that you keep full control of the drill at all times because concrete does not give a steady resistance.
Step 6 - Obstructions
One of the problems with drilling into concrete bathroom walls is that you can often run into obstructions that the drill cannot get through. In this situation, use a strong masonry nail to try to break through the blockage. Don’t forget that masonry nails have to be tapped rather than hammered. Once you have the obstruction broken you can start with the drill again. Be careful in case some of the obstruction is still effective.
Step 7 - Clean the Holes
Use a pump or compressed air to blow the concrete dust out of the hole. Many masonry bits do not always drive the dust to the top of the hole. Wear safety goggles while doing this. Leaving the dust in the hole could result in the fastener being held at an angle.
Although concrete is a more difficult material to work with, the new tools help get the job done quite easily.