Can You Drill Into Basement Walls?

Are you planning to drill the wall in your basement for one reason or another? If so, you could be wondering how to go about it. Are there any dangers to watch out for? What precautions does one need to observe? What are the safety measures to take? What are the appropriate tools? We have researched to answer these questions and more.

Yes, it is possible to drill into basement walls but depending on the purpose for which you need it, only one of the two holes mentioned below will suffice:
• A small hole
• A large hole

Continue reading to learn more about the methods used for drilling each type of hole, the tools to use, and the precautionary and safety measures to follow.

A man with glasses fixes a ceramic socket in a hole in the wall using an electric drill, installing an electric socket to a room with gray walls using a hand tool, male housework to replace a socket, Can You Drill Into Basement Walls?

How To Drill Holes Into Your Basement Wall

To carry out your drilling successfully, you need to use the correct method and the right tools.

If you are drilling a small hole, a regular drill will do. For larger holes, a rotary hammer drill is the best, though it’s also perfect for small holes. Drills use electrical power and work by applying pressure on them as you drive the drill into the wall to create a hole.

You can use a standard carbide drill bit that is suitable for use in any drill, or you can opt to use a special bit, specifically for use in a hammer drill.

Let us look at how to drill each type of hole.

Drilling Small Holes

A hole is considered small when it is 1/2-inch or less in diameter. These holes are normally drilled when you want to hang light objects like pictures, decorations, or ornaments.

The steps to drilling a small hole are as follows:

  • Understand your tools - Read the manual for your hammer drill and bit to understand how to use them correctly.

  • Wear your safety gear - Wear protective glasses to protect your eyes against the dust spat out of concrete while you drill. Also, wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in the concrete dust.

  • Connect the bit into the hammer drill - After identifying the carbide bit to use, insert it into your hammer drill and use the key to tighten the chuck. Alternatively, you could use an SDS drill bit, which is preferred by contractors as it does not slip.

  • Turn on the drill - There’s a knob on your hammer drill, which you should press to put it in hammer position. However, check the manual on your hammer drill for correct instructions.

  • Drill the hole - Place your drill bit where you want to drill the hole, and then apply pressure on the hammer. Start drilling in, about an inch, making sure you are drilling in and out. This ensures that the powder from the cement is removed. When your first inch is done, continue to drill another inch.

Do not rush when drilling, but lower the speed, to avoid the bit from becoming dull due to spinning too fast, making your work more laborious. In fact, you will know it is spinning very fast when your bit is penetrating the wall too slowly. The correct speed to drill is one that is not too fast and neither too slow.

Click here to see this Dewalt rotary hammer drill on Amazon.

Click here to see this rotary hammer drill bit set on Amazon.

Drilling Large Holes

Large holes are anything from 3 inches and above in diameter, and are usually drilled when you want to carry out repairs, renovations, or upgrade your basement. These holes are drilled using more powerful, heavy-duty drills that come with larger handles.

It’s quite tricky when drilling large holes because concrete becomes weaker when more holes are drilled into it, creating the potential risk of the basement either being damaged or even collapsing.

If you are planning to dig holes larger than 3 inches in diameter, then it is highly recommended that you involve a structural engineer. Another reason to involve an expert is that it’s difficult working with a large rotary drill.

For example, if it binds, let it go as it is likely to spin and may injure you. Keep in mind that these drills are very powerful and can be difficult to keep steady while drilling with the following steps:

  • Read the manual and wear protective gear - Just as with the small holes, read the manual for the drill and bit you will use, and don’t forget to wear your protective gear.

  • Drill a pilot hole - Start by drilling a 3/8 inch pilot hole because large bits normally have a tendency to bounce around, making it difficult to begin your job. Thus, the pilot hole is a guide for your large bit.

  • Drill the hole - Insert the bit into your hammer drill and drill your hole to the required depth. Just as with small holes, drill in and out to get rid of the dust from the concrete.

Click here to see this heavy duty rotary hammer drill on Amazon.

How Do You Screw Into A Basement Wall?

If you want to hang a decoration or other items in your basement, you will have to fix screws into the wall after drilling the holes. Below, find out how to go about it:

1. Gather Your Tools

The tools you need include:

  • Concrete anchor
  • Mounting gear
  • Screws
  • Screw driver
  • Hammer drill
  • Masonry hammer
  • Carbide drill

2. Mark Your Drill Bit

Using a pencil, mark on the wall where you want the hole to be. Next, place the anchor on your drill bit and mark at a point that is slightly longer than the anchor. This ensures the anchor fits snugly into the hole.

3. Drill The Hole

Take your hammer drill and begin to drill a hole. Remember to push the hammer in and out several times until you reach the depth of the hole you require.

4. Secure The Mounting

Tap your anchor into the hole using a masonry hammer. Afterward, place your mounting over the anchor and secure it by pushing in the screw using a screwdriver. This will require you to use some force to push the screw firmly into place.

Can You Hang Things On Concrete Walls?

TV media basement living room with leather sofa

Yes, you can hang things on your concrete wall. You only have to use the correct anchoring gadget that can hold the weight of the items hung. Also, use the proper tools, materials, and the correct technique.

How do you hang things on a concrete basement wall?

Hanging things on your basement wall is possible by drilling and then screwing into the concrete. However, if you don’t want to drill or you don’t have a hammer drill, there are other ways of hanging your items:

  • Adhesive hooks - With a variety to choose from, pick your favorite, and then wipe the wall with rubbing alcohol to clean it. Next, remove the adhesive paper at the back of the hook and press it against the wall for 30 seconds. Ensure to identify one that can hold the weight of the item you want to hang.

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  • Masonry nails - This is an old traditional method, whereby masonry nails are hammered into the wall using a masonry hammer. But, they should be driven only 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches into the wall. Even with this method, put on your protective glasses as tiny bits of metal can be sent flying from the hammering impact.

Will Drilling Into Concrete Crack It?

Concrete is hard and brittle and prone to cracks. If the drilling, screwing, or nailing is not done properly, concrete can crack.

To prevent cracking, it is better to use the rotary hammer drill as opposed to using a regular drill. Also, use carbide bits that are sharp enough to drill through concrete.

When screwing into concrete, make sure you do not tap the screw too tightly into the anchor because cracks may form. And when nailing, use a nail gun instead of a masonry hammer to prevent cracks from forming.

What Is The Best Drill Bit For Concrete?

As previously mentioned, the best drill bit for concrete is the carbide bit. This is because it is a hard material with a sharp end that easily grinds through concrete.

Check out this product on Amazon.

In Closing

At some point, you will need to drill into your basement wall, either to hang items such as decorations or to carry out some repairs. Thus you will need to drill either a small hole or a big hole.

There are different techniques and tools to drill the holes. Also, take precautionary and safety measures, to ensure you drill correctly. It’s also important to read the tools manual, not forgetting to wear your protective gear.

Finally, use the correct method and equipment to drill your holes to prevent concrete from cracking.

Check out these previous posts on reasons basement ceilings would crack and how to lower the floor in your basement:

Why Is Basement Ceiling Cracking?

Can You Dig Basement Deeper To Lower Floor?

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