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How Close To The Edge Of Concrete Can I Drill?

When drilling into concrete, one needs to be extra careful not to chip or take a chunk out of it. So, you might be wondering how close to the concrete's edge you can drill. Don't fret! We did our due research to find the answer you're looking for.

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As much as possible, avoid drilling any closer than six to four inches from the edge of the concrete. This is to prevent cracks from appearing and, at worst, a chunk of the concrete falling off.

This article will discuss tips and tricks you need to consider when drilling into concrete. On top of that, you will also learn how to drill into concrete. So, continue reading to find out more.

builder hammer drill perforator equipment making, How Close To The Edge Of Concrete Can I Drill?

How Close To The Edge Of Concrete When Drilling?

If you install railings or attach something to concrete, you will likely drill in a screw to help fasten it down. However, it's important to note that the closer you drill to the edge of the concrete, the higher the chances are for you to crack it and end up taking a huge chunk out of it.

Most professionals recommend that you keep a distance of 4-6 inches from the edge of the concrete to prevent cracking or chipping. If you can't avoid it, you can drill within 2 inches from the edge. However, consider a couple of tips before doing so.

First, you need to turn off the hammering action feature that comes with a hammer drill. This option helps drive the screw further into the concrete but shut it off if you drill closer to the edge than you initially want. This is to decrease the pressure the drill applies to the concrete.

And second, don't use any wedge-type fasteners and anchors. While they provide a stable base for whatever you're trying to attach, they give too much outward pressure. So using one will cause cracks to appear, and, in turn, you will have a broken piece of concrete to repair.

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What To Remember When Drilling Into Concrete

When drilling into concrete, there are a few things that you need to be aware of before and during the project. Below is the list:

Prepare a Variety Of Concrete Screws

plastic box variety metal fasteners old

You need to buy concrete screws with varying lengths and thicknesses. This will help you prepare for any unforeseen circumstances when doing a project. On top of this, buying them in bulk is cheaper than buying them individually or in small quantities. And screws are relatively cheap in the first place, giving you the most bang for your buck.

Additionally, if you tend to do a lot of home projects or is the type to do repairs around the house, having an assortment of screws available is such a time saver. You won't need to make frequent trips to the hardware or order online.

Drill A Deep Enough Hole

screwdriver screw dowel concrete wall background

One mistake that a lot of beginners find themselves making is not drilling a deep enough hole. The screw won't fully fit inside if the hole is too shallow. And if it's too deep, you weaken the concrete's structural integrity.

This is also why most hammer drills have an adjustable depth stop. It's a nifty feature that helps you figure out the exact depth you want to drill into.

So if you're planning to drill into concrete, the rule of thumb is to make a hole a quarter of an inch longer than the screw you're placing into it. Doing this creates a breathing space for the screw to get into without worrying about it wriggling out of there and causing cracks in the concrete.

Use A Hammer Drill

Often, you might think that a regular drill is more than enough to finish any project you have planned. However, you'll soon realize just how inefficient and time-consuming it is.

Buying a hammer drill is the best option if you want to put in as much work as possible while being efficient overall. Although expensive, it's long-lasting with proper care. And if you don't have the money to splurge on one, you can easily rent.

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To Help Speed Up The Process, Use Two Drills

Do you know what's better than owning one hammer drill? Having two hammer drills! This means you don't have to worry about switching between bits all the time while doing a project.

But if you're not keen on buying another one, consider getting an installation kit to help speed up your work process. They're cheaper and allow you to switch between drilling and driving modes far easier than the old-school method.

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How To Drill Into Concrete

Now that you know some tips and tricks for drilling, it's time to learn how to drill into concrete. And this section will tell you just that:

Gather The Tools And Materials

First, you must prepare and gather all the materials and equipment you need for your project. That way, you won't spend time stumbling all over the place, trying to collect everything you need. And as such, this is a short list of what you will need:

  • Hammer Drill
  • Protective Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Face Mask
  • Screws
  • Carpenter's Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Masonry Nail
  • Masking Tape
  • Hammer
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Canned Compressed Air
  • Masonry Bits

Mark Down The Areas For Drilling

Next, it's time for you to make a plan. Don't just drill holes into the concrete without taking proper measurements.

Use the ruler to help you figure out where to drill into the concrete and mark them down using the pencil. Make sure to double-check afterward to avoid any mistakes.

Prepare The Hammer Drill

Once you've properly marked where to drill a hole, it's time to prepare the hammer drill. Make sure the screws you're using are the correct length for the depth of hole they're going into.

Some hammer drills have a stop bar feature installed in them. This is to help you gauge depth when you're drilling. If your hammer drill doesn't have one, take a bit of masking tape and wrap it around a part of the drill bit where you want to stop.

Before installing the drill bit, decide on what size hole you want. This is to not waste any time later on in the project.

Additionally, if it's your first time using a hammer drill, be careful about the recoil. Make sure to use both hands when gripping the drill. If there's no free handle for your free hand to hold onto, support the drill by grabbing it on the back.

Make A Guide Hole

drilling gray wall drill close

After putting on some safety equipment, it's time for you to prepare a guide hole. To do this, set the hammer drill to its lowest speed and guide it to the marks you made earlier. From there, proceed to make a hole around a quarter of an inch deep.

If you're hammer drill only has a one-speed setting, use only short, controlled bursts when making the guide hole. But be attentive, as you could end up cracking the concrete or, worse, hurting yourself.

Start Drilling With Care

Once all the guide holes are ready, you can start drilling deeper until you reach the desired depth. Make sure to plant both your feet securely onto the ground when drilling.

If you ever encounter an obstruction when drilling, don't force it. Instead, use a masonry nail and a hammer to help break it apart. You only need a few light taps, so don't go overboard with them.

Then, resume drilling but take it one step at a time, as you don't want to damage the drill bit or ruin the hole you made. Pebbles and stones in concrete are just some of the issues you face when drilling.

Periodically Take Out The Drill

While drilling, you need to stop and pull out the drill after around fifteen to twenty seconds. This is to give you a break and let you check in on the progress you made.

Additionally, this is to prevent you from running into trouble while drilling. Air pockets are common within concrete and are disorienting if you hit one.

Clean Up And Repeat

Lastly, remove the concrete dust inside the hole using a can of compressed air before vacuuming. Then, repeat the whole process with the rest.

Final Statement

builder hammer drill perforator equipment making

To summarize, leave around four to six inches of space away from the edge of the concrete before drilling. This is to prevent chipping off a chunk of concrete. If you want to drill closer to the edge, it's best to turn off the hammering feature of the drill so that you can ease into the concrete and not apply too much pressure.

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