How to Screw into Concrete – Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Screwing into concrete wall, using an impact drill

Concrete is one of the most used materials for house and apartment walls and floors and is often thought to be an impenetrable surface. While it is true that concrete is a very strong and resistant material, it is not impossible to drill into it.

As more and more structural elements are made of concrete, fixing screws in concrete is becoming increasingly important. There are different screws to consider. Below you will learn how to drill into concrete. Therefore, you will find detailed information on the concrete screws and the respective fixing principles.

Overview: Screwing into Concrete Walls and Slabs

The concrete walls are hard surfaces and a common component in many structures. Usually, they are built solid and strong. Although drilling such walls may seem like a difficult task, it is not impossible; It is actually simple and anyone can do it as long as they have the suitable tool and the right method.

6 Simple Steps to Screw into Concrete Surfaces

Now, let’s look at all the steps, tricks and tips you need to know how to drill concrete walls or slabs correctly:

1) Check the Spot for Wires (if Drilling into Walls or Ceilings)

First of all, make sure that there are no pipes or cables inside the wall at the point where you are going to make the hole. This way, you will avoid many problems. Use a good wire detector (check price on Amazon) to check whether a certain spot is safe to drill. If you do not have that tool at hand, avoid the walls that are shared with kitchen and bathroom. If you have no other choice, observe and avoid the perpendicular of taps and plugs before using the drill and minimize risks.

However, using a tester is in any case the recommended method to make sure you don’t accidentally pierce electrical wires or water pipes. Also, wear protective goggles for drilling and consider getting a mask, particularly for larger and dustier projects.

2) Select the Right Tool and Drills

Apply the following steps in mind to prevent holes from becoming crooked or too large:

Select the screws and the corresponding plugs or anchor suitable for the work you are going to do. Expandable plugs are generally used for wall mounting (more details on fasteners on confast.com). Make sure you use a drill bit size that fits the size of the plug.

For drilling in classical concrete, an impact drill – also known as percussion hammer drill –  is suitable. If you want to drill in very hard concrete, you may need a rotary hammer drill and special drill bits.

Examples of Impact Drills:

High-End DrillThe All-RounderThe Budget Choice
Example:
Metabo BS 18 LTX-3

Example:
Makita XPH12Z 18V LXT

Example:
SKIL 6445-04

Check current price on Amazon. Check current price on Amazon. Check current price on Amazon.

3) Determine and Mark the Drilling Points

Determine the exact position of the holes and mark it with a pencil. A laser cross line level makes this task easier for you but you can also use a bubble level.

Choose a concrete drill bit with the same diameter of the block you wish to use. Hold the drill well centered and firmly in the chuck.

You will need to support the tip of the drill bit in the pencil mark that you have made. Either you use a center punch (find it on Amazon) or with the drill itself: Hold it forming a 90º angle with the wall and give it a slight blow with the free hand on the back of the drill.

This will produce a slight grimace in the wall, which will prevent the drill from slipping when we start drilling.

4) Drilling a Hole into Your Concrete Wall or Slab

Hold the drill firmly and start at a smooth speed, without firing mode, and increase the pace as the drill bit is introduced into the wall and you begin to notice stability (source).

At this point, it goes into firing mode and pressing lightly allows the drill to go deeper into the wall or slab. Do not press to hard though, let the drill to do its job of gradually drilling the surface – it is not about making the hole by manual pressure.

If you do not know the characteristics of the concrete at all, drill first without percussion and change once its resistance has been checked. Wait for the drill to find a firm base to put pressure on the tool.

Drill to a depth that both the plug and the screw are fully inserted. If possible, use a depth stop that you have adjusted accordingly. To remove the drill, run it with a low speed while pulling it out.

Remove the dust formed from the drilling process. Therefore, the drill bits will grab better.

5) Screw into the Wall

Insert the plug first and press lightly – it should fit into the hole but sit firmly at the same time. If necessary, go one step back and enhance the drill hole.

Once the anchor is fully inserted, you can fix whatever you need to fix by screwing the screw into the plug. As the plug expands, it will provide a firm base to hang or fix things.

Use the screwdriver tip (screw application) that fits perfectly with the screw. Otherwise, it could slip when screwing.

6) Tips and Tricks

When drilling and screwing into a wall or slab, consider the following expert tips:

  • Do not press the drill with great force because the drill could break.
  • It is recommended to use a drill with hammering function that will make drilling much easier.
  • Keep in mind that the masonry bits get very hot so try to wear thick gloves when you go to do the job.
  • Drilling with percussion when drilling concrete makes a lot of noise and releases dust. Therefore, try to protect your ears and wear a mask.
  • Use the depth control bar to adjust the maximum distance you want to drill when drilling.
  • If for some reason the drill bit gets stuck in the wall, you have to change the direction of rotation of the drill and you will see how it fixes itself.
  • If a second person is around, a vacuum held close to the drilling point reduces the dust production.

How to Choose a Good Hammer Drill for Concrete

To be able to drill concrete walls you must buy a quality hammer drill (the Washington Post calls it one of the top-5 tools for DIYers), which meets the following characteristics:

  • power,
  • adjustable speed,
  • impact function,
  • depth adjustment, and
  • good grip.

Power is probably the most critical factor when you drill concrete: starting with a cheap drill that has less power will be difficult. If the holes that you will drill are not deep enough, your anchor and screw will not sit firmly – things can fall down and it can ruin the appearance of the wall. Buy a quality product rather than the cheapest stuff, it will be worth the money.

For drilling walls, the best value all-rounder tool is probably the Makita XPH12Z (check current price on Amazon), since it is a cordless impact drill that provides up to 2,000 RPM and a maximum torque 530 in.lbs. Thus, it is capable of drilling most, if not all, hard surfaces around the house without any problem while it is still affordable.

How to Choose Good Drill Bit for Concrete

The second thing to keep in mind before getting to work is to choose the right drill.

The concrete drill bits have a reinforcement in the head that provides grip and punch in a similar way to a shovel. This reinforcement is a material of a high hardness to give it better durability.

As an inexpensive alternative to drill bit sets from popular brands, I personally recommend this K Kwokker 15 pieces set since it can easily penetrate the concrete, among others such as tiles, bricks, glass, plastic, wood, marble etc.

In addition, the pack consists of 15 bits with sizes from 3 bits of 16 mmmm for you to choose the one that suits you best at all times and has received lots of positive customer reviews on Amazon.

Conclusion

As you have learned, drilling and screwing into concrete is not a rocket science at all. You only need to have the right tools for the job. You can find the right equipment, read user reviews and compare prices on Amazon.

If you like to learn more about drilling into concrete, read our article on hammer drills and their uses.

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