Do It Yourself: Drilling Holes In Concrete, Brick, And Masonry

Tips on the right technique to drill holes in concrete, brick, and masonry.

As a "do-it-yourselfer", there will be times when you will need to drill holes in concrete, brick, and masonry materials. You may need, for example, to drill a hole in order to run a pipe or cable through the masonry. These materials are strong, but porous, and, if the drilling is not done correctly, you could actually break or crack the material; you can also damage your tools.

The first thing you need to do, before you begin, is to properly protect yourself. You will, of course, need to wear safety goggles or glasses. These will protect your eyes from flying pieces of debris. You will also need to wear an appropriate air mask. The air mask will protect your lungs, as well as the rest of your respiratory system, from deadly silica dust. Silica dust is produced anytime that concrete, masonry, and rock is cut or drilled into. Breathing in the dust can lead to lung disease. You should also wear heavy gloves to protect your fingers and your hands.

Now that you have yourself protected, the second thing to do is to obtain the proper tools. You will need a heavy-duty electric drill that has a low speed. Don't try to use a light duty electric drill for this project. It probably won't be able to handle the stress. You will also need the right - sized drill bit that is especially made for drilling concrete, brick, and masonry. You can't use an ordinary drill, because they will become dull quickly. They may even break or crack under the stress of the drilling. Masonry bits have a larger - than - normal tip. The tip is made of durable tungsten carbide, and is connected to a steel shaft.

Before you insert the bit into the drill, you will need to inspect the concrete, brick or masonry area that you are going to drill into. Check the wall, or other surface, and check for signs of electrical wires or boxes, conduit, water pipes, and anything else you need to avoid drilling into. For your own safety, as well as for the safety of others, make absolutely sure that it is safe to drill a hole where you intend to.

The next thing you need to do is to securely attach the masonry drill to the low - speed electric drill. With your safety goggles or glasses in place, and your air mask and heavy gloves put on, place the tip of the drill bit against the mark where you want to drill. Hold the electric drill steady with both hands. Slowly press the speed button so the bit starts to turn slowly. As the bit turns, and then starts to grab the concrete, brick, or masonry surface, gently press the electric drill closer to the surface. As the bit grabs and works its way into the surface, keep pressing the electric drill closer. Don't try to hurry the drilling process, though! Keep the drill at a low speed, and slowly work the bit into the surface. If you try to drill through masonry at a high rate of speed, the masonry bit can quickly overheat.

After the drill bit has worked its way an inch or two into the concrete, brick, or masonry, you should carefully pull the electric drill back. Remove the bit from the hole it's making and clean off any dust and debris. Then, reinsert the drill bit into the hole and continuing drilling. Repeat this process until you have completely drilled the hole.

There is a second type of drill you can use to drill a hole in concrete, brick, and masonry. It is manually operated, and, as such, it can be slower to use than an electric drill. This other drill is called a "star drill". It has a shaft that is connected to a star - shaped point. To drill into a masonry surface, you hold the star drill by the shaft with one hand while you hit the top of the shaft with a hammer. In between blows, the drill is turned slightly to help it dig into the material. You then repeat this process with the star drill until you have completely drilled the hole.

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