Drilling into concrete can be a messy business. If you’re not careful, it can also be one that’s hazardous to your health and safety. Here’s how we safely make holes in concrete projects!
What Safety Equipment Do You Need To Drill Into Concrete?
Like all other forms of concrete work, drilling requires the right safety equipment before you start. Make sure to set yourself up properly before drilling because it can be a loud, dusty, exhausting process! It also can expose you to silica dust from the rock and sand used to mix concrete; this is very harmful to the lungs.
Make sure to have the following equipment on-hand:
- Masonry drill bits in various sizes
- Water to apply to the bit if it overheats
- Shop vacuum with a bag and HEPA filter for cleaning the surface
- Eye protection
- Dust mask (luckily, you probably have a few floating around these days!)
- Work gloves
Safely drilling into solid concrete means you will need a drill bit that’s wider and more heavy-duty than the regular versions. The extra width of a masonry bit can create an opening wide enough for a proper hole in the concrete. Once the tip drills your opening, the rest of the shaft of the drill bit can slide in with no problems.
The kind of drill you use can impact the work – a hammer drill is very effective – but you can drill into concrete with a standard, run-of-the-mill drill. As the name suggests, a hammer drill hammers as it spins into the concrete, whereas a regular model only spins the bit into the material. Don’t worry about making a costly upgrade if you only have one project – if you start your tool at its lowest speed, you will have better control.
How Do We Safely Drill Into Concrete?
Once you have the proper equipment, drilling into concrete can be a very safe job. If you’re doing it at home, follow these steps to make sure the entire task is free of hazards:
- Mark the spot on the wall or another surface where you’d like to place the hole.
- Start by making a guide hole. Drill forward, using a light, steady pressure. Do not force the bit into the concrete, and if the drill resists, ease up and stop drilling. Never rush the process!
- Drill a guide hole about ⅛- to ¼-inch deep.
- If the bit overheats, apply water (especially if you don’t have a masonry bit).
- If there are blockages, either break it up with a hammer and nail or choose a new spot.
- Stop the drill and sweep or blow away the concrete dust that has accumulated around the bit. Keeping the area clean makes it much safer.
- Pull out the drill. If you’re as deep as you need, change to a slightly larger drill bit by 1/8 of an inch at a time.
- Drill the hole again until you’ve reached the right width and depth for your project.
While a hammer drill is a superior option, it’s not a tool in everyone’s workshop. A regular drill can take its place, and while it can be harder to use, taking it slow, having a variety of masonry drill bit sizes on hand, and paying attention to the heat of the drill can make for a successful project!