Can You Use a Regular Drill to Drill into Concrete?

Can You Use a Regular Drill to Drill into Concrete
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One of the most common questions people have when it comes to drilling is whether it’s possible to drill into concrete without a hammer drill.

The truth is that yes, it can be done, but you must keep in mind that it’s not going to be an easy task.

When you need to drill into concrete, it’s ideal to have a hammer drill, but unfortunately, we don’t all have a hammer drill handy.

So, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got, right? If all you have is a standard cordless power drill, here are some tips for drilling into concrete with it.

Things to Know about Drilling into Concrete

Things to Know about Drilling into Concrete

Since concrete is a material that is made to last, it stands to reason that it’s going to be very strong. The reason it is so strong is because of the fact that about 65 percent of the mix is made up of sand, gravel, and aggregate.

So, when it comes to drilling, the very first thing you must understand is that you need to get through the aggregate. The only reason you’re going to be able to do this, especially if all you have is a standard drill, is to use a masonry drill bit, which is made to drill holes into concrete. 

You should understand that if you are using a standard drill with a standard drill bit made to drill through metal, wood, or other such soft materials, you can kiss the bit goodbye. It will be worn down in seconds by the hard concrete and all you will have left is a stubby piece of metal in the chuck of your drill.

Best Drill Bit for Concrete Drilling 

As we’ve already mentioned, if you plan to drill into concrete, you must use a decent quality masonry drill bit instead of your standard bit. If you invest in a set or two of various drill bits, you’ll have plenty of flexibility when it comes to choosing different size holes for your projects.

How do Masonry Bits Work? 

As you may have figured out, masonry bits are made to work with a hammer drill. In addition to turning like a standard drill, a hammer drill also hammers away at the concrete. However, since you don’t have a hammer drill right now, the only advantage you have is the turning action of your standard drill.

Always Keep Water Close By 

When you are drilling into concrete with a standard drill, it’s critical that you make sure you have water close by. After all, since you don’t have the hammering action that a hammer drill would have, your masonry drill bit is going to get very hot due to the friction created by the turning of the bit against the concrete.

In order to keep the drill bit from heating up too fast, you’re going to need to make sure that you are applying water to the drill site on a regular basis. This helps you avoid destroying your drill, so it will last longer for you. 

Things to Do When Drilling Concrete

When you are using your standard drill to drill into concrete, it’s necessary that you pull the drill out of the hole from time to time. This helps ensure that your masonry drill bit will create less friction and work more efficiently.

Things to Avoid When Drilling Concrete 

When you are trying to drill holes into concrete with a standard drill, it can be tempting to use a manual hammering action to move the process along. However, you must avoid doing this; you’re not using a hammer drill for this project, so you don’t want to treat your standard drill as if it is a hammer drill. When you use a manual hammering action with your standard drill, you’re increasing the risk of doing some serious damage to the drill as well as the drill bit.

Instead, you’ll want to remove the drill from the hole from time to time and clear out the concrete fragments and dust as mentioned in the “Things to Do When Drilling Concrete” section.

Six Tips for Using a Standard Drill for Drilling into Concrete 

Here are six tips to keep in mind when you are drilling into concrete. This will help you save wear and tear on your drill and make your project run more smoothly.

  1. When you are drilling, it’s critical that you are constantly lifting the drill out of the hole in order to make sure the hole and the flutes of the drill bit are cleared out.
  2. If you have a project that is going to require larger holes, you should always start with a smaller bit and expand the size of the hole step by step by gradually increasing the size of the drill bit. You will find that this will be much easier on you than starting the project with a large drill bit.
  3. If you do end up encountering a hard spot as you drill, it’s most likely a stone, so you’ll want to use a large nail and hammer to break up the blockage.
  4. Make sure that you never purchase cheap drill bits when you are working on a project. These will end up costing you more over time because they won’t last, and you’ll have to replace them more frequently.
  5. Always keep in mind that brick, mortar, and concrete are all extremely strong materials. In fact, you will find that concrete is much more unyielding and harder to get through than brick, mortar, or regular cement.
  6. If your standard drill with a masonry bit does not work, you can always rent a hammer drill to complete your project. You’ll find that they are cheaper to rent and in some cases, they will include a set of masonry bits to work with.

Ideally, when you are planning a project that requires you to drill through concrete, you really need a hammer drill. However, not everyone has one, so it is possible to use a standard cordless power drill, as long as you have the proper drill bits to make the project run smoothly. 

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Carl Green - September 22, 2020 Reply

It’s great to learn that you should use a quality masonry drill if you want to do concrete drilling. My wife and I are wanting to renovate our backyard patio and we were wondering what kind of drill should be used to remove some of the old concrete. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should get a quality masonry drill for work on the concrete patio.

    Power Tools - October 3, 2020 Reply

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