Most buildings nowadays are made of concrete. This tendency can be attributed to its property of strength and hardness that makes it ideal for making permanent houses and structures. The other factor is that a composite of concrete and steel is what has revolutionized skyscrapers due to the strength that results from the combination.
While that is the case, the hardness of concrete poses a challenge when it comes to adding accessories to buildings that may need fixing after the concrete has cured. This is necessitated by situations like when a house owner might want to hang a work of art on the wall, or some cables need to be fixed. The good thing is that there are effective tools for drilling through concrete.
Choosing the right tools for the job
When it comes to drilling into concrete having the right tools is as having the job half done. Working with the wrong tools, on the other hand, is dangerous and can make you end up with poor workmanship. So what are the essential tools that anyone who would wish to have to drill holes must have? A good rotary drill is the one thing that you must have which should be coupled with a masonry bit.
For clarification, the rotary drill is the equipment that has a handle and is equipped with a motor with a position where the bit is attached. A bit, on the other hand, is the metallic ‘screw’ that bores into the concrete. A good rotary drill equipped with a masonry bit is enough light drilling provided caution will be taken to ensure that you do not burn out the motor or demolish the bit.
Later I shall illustrate step-wise how you go about it. But in case the amount of drilling to be done is heavy duty, then it is wise to consider using an electric hammer drill. Besides the drill and the bit, the following other accessories come in handy when one is drilling.
- Masking tape
- Tungsten carbide masonry bits
- Canned compressed air
- Large masonry nail
The right procedure for drilling through concrete
Yes, it is true that having the tools is an important part of getting the job done, but having the skills to do the job is the most important part of the job. Assuming that you have the tools that we have outlined above, this is the procedure that you employ to see that you accomplish the job in an efficient and safe way.
1. Mark the desired location on the concrete that you want to drill through using a pencil and cross-check the locations before doing anything else. Another special consideration that should be considered here is the depth of the holes to be made. This should be by way of setting the drill as per the manufacturers instructions. If the drill doesn’t have that feature, consider marking the bit using a masking tape so you can know when to stop.
2. Put on your goggles and insert the appropriate tungsten carbide masonry bit into the hammer drill. You should then get into the right position for drilling. That is, you get into position by planting your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
3. Make a guide hole first. Most of the drills operate at two speeds, that is a low speed and the high speed. The guide hole should have a depth of about 1/8 inch to a ¼ inch deep. Its purpose is to guide you as you start drilling to make sure you don’t veer off from the marked position.
4. With the guide hole already in place, insert the drill and if you are confident enough turn it to full speed. Precaution should be taken here though. This is because concrete contains pebbles and air-pockets which makes resistance unpredictable and can make a person easily lose control of the tool for a moment.
5. Periodically pull the drill out to brush away the concrete dust. Putting into consideration that a 2-inch hole can be drilled within a minute, one should preferably pause after every 30 seconds.
6. Once your hole has been drilled to the necessary depth, consider blowing the concrete dust out of the hole with a can of compressed air and then vacuum the dirt that falls to the ground.
7. Repeat the procedure with all the other holes that you wish to make.
Precautions to be taken when drilling
1. Donning on goggles cannot be overstated. When drilling, there will be much concrete dust that will be blown off. The last thing that you would wish to happen to you is to have all that dust getting into your eyes. If the work is to be done for long hours also consider putting on a gas mask.
2. In case you hit obstructions when drilling, never force the drill further into the concrete. This can damage the bits or the drill or even cause you to lose control of the drill and mess your hole or cause other worse damage. When you reach any tough spots that impede progress, put the drill down and use the masonry nail to break up the obstruction. After you are done take back the drill and resume at a slow speed until you are sure you have gone past the tough spot.
3. Caution should be taken when using hand-held tools as they can lead to hand-arm vibration syndrome and circulatory problems.
Whether to buy or rent tools for drilling concrete
Well, this depends on the kind of use that you have on the drills. If you are into the type of job that you need to keep on drilling into concrete, it is advisable that you invest in a good drill and masonry bits. On the other hand, if you only need the drill for some patchwork then you don’t have to keep on buying your drill and bits.
Some drills are cheaply rented and are available for that work. A rotary drill would go a long way in ensuring that you accomplish your work within the shortest time possible. Also, when renting or buying a drill consider getting the one that has a good power rating, preferably one-speed setting, a stop function and an auxiliary handle for comfort, safety, and control.