Drilling into a concrete foundation becomes unsafe if you have no prior experience and need to drill more than a small hole. Concrete is a hard surface and requires control, expertise, and caution. However, does that mean you cannot drill at all?
It is safe to drill into a concrete foundation if you know its blueprint and have experience. Otherwise, you can hit plumbing or gas pipes, causing leakage. You can also damage wirings. Moreover, drilling at the wrong angles and using a poor technique can be unsafe and damage the foundation.
Before you decide to drill into your concrete foundation, you must prepare yourself well. If you’ve never done it before, it’s best to call an expert. This article will explain why drilling into a concrete foundation can be unsafe and what you can do to make it safe.
Reasons That Make Drilling a Concrete Foundation Unsafe
Here is why drilling a concrete foundation can be unsafe:
1. Foundation Can Crack
We assume concrete to be a very tough surface, but it can crack easily, especially if you drill into it.
If you don’t fix these cracks promptly, they can lead to severe problems such as weakening of the foundation.
These cracks will require a great deal of repair work that may cause a bill pile-up.
2. Concrete Dust Can Be Dangerous
If you are not an expert, you may not understand how to avoid concrete dust, which can cause severe damage.
Concrete contains silica, and the dust it creates has a high concentration of Respirable Crystalline Silica RCS.
Inhaling RCS can cause severe lung damage, leading to issues such as breathing problems and chronic coughing.
3. The Injuries and Kickback Crises
Drilling through concrete foundations requires heavier equipment and tools, generally used by professionals.
They can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle them.
Moreover, using hand-held drills or lighter equipment, the more rigid concrete can jam the tools, causing kickbacks.
The kickback from the equipment may make you lose control of the drill and cause severe injuries.
Even the noise concrete drilling causes can damage hearing.
4. Invisible Threats
The foundation may have wires or pipes that you didn’t know about.
If the wiring is electric, it can lead to grave consequences such as short-circuiting and electrocution.
Therefore, your safety while drilling concrete will be at risk if you are not an expert.
How To Minimize the Risks
If you cannot afford to call in a professional drilling company, you must prepare well before taking the task upon yourself.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Use the Right Equipment
You cannot drill concrete foundations using the regular drilling machine you use for wall hangings.
You need hammer drills and masonry bits with tungsten carbide tips for drilling small holes.
The hammer drill hammers the concrete while rotating, forming holes.
If you need to make larger holes, the right equipment is a rotary hammer. It has more power and works faster.
2. Learn the Right Technique
Learning the proper technique is crucial. You must first study the structure and see if it has pipes or wiring. Once you know the area well, prepare for drilling.
- Mark the spot where you want to start drilling and finalize how deep you want to go. Now set the drill bit length to the depth you want to reach.
- Next, you must get into the correct position and hold your drill correctly. The drill should be at a perpendicular angle from the surface.
- Start at a low speed and work through the concrete in short bursts. Create a small hole, which will keep your drill steady.
- Once you start drilling, go slowly, and increase speed as you go deeper. Keep drilling until you reach the drill bit’s preset length. However, you must stop when you feel an unexpected bump or hit a surface. If you hit a surface, or surface voids, put the drill away and clear the obstruction using a hammer and masonry nail.
- Keep brushing the concrete dust away. You can take a break every 15 to 20 minutes. These gaps will also allow you to give yourself and your electric equipment a break.
3. Wear Safety Gear
You should always put safety first:
- Start by checking your equipment and look for any live wires or loose screws.
- Next, you should put on your safety gear such as rubber or leather gloves, goggles, and a helmet. You should also use earplugs to drown out the drilling noise.
- It is best to have a second person stand with you. In case of accidents, they can call for help.
- You should wear dust masks with filters to save yourself from concrete dust. You must also try to use a dust extractor, if possible. However, not all drills have extractor ports.
Drilling a concrete foundation is not too difficult. It needs preparation, the right equipment, and safety gear.
You must spend some time learning the correct drilling technique.
It’s also a good idea to practice holding the equipment with steady hands.
If you make accurate measurements and take all precautions, you should be able to drill the concrete foundation safely.
Cheers, tools owners!