For whatever reason you might be considering drilling holes into your fence posts, it’s important to know how the posts will hold up under this project. So, can you drill into concrete fence posts?
It is possible to drill into a concrete fence post. With the proper tools and approach, it’s easier than you might think. There are some necessary things to take into consideration before you start drilling, such as the type of drills you will need and the specifications of your posts.
The durability of concrete can make this project a little bit of a hassle, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Below is a little guide with information you will need to know for drilling into concrete fence posts.
Before You Begin
One of the perks of concrete fence posts is that they’re quite durable and last much longer than wood or vinyl fence posts. So before you begin drilling into them, there are some things to think about and take care of.
First off, decide how deep you plan to drill and measure it either on the post or on your tool in some way. This will help you keep track as you work. Putting duct tape or masking tape on your drill is a good way to mark where you need to stop drilling. If your drill comes with a stop bar feature, you can also use that to help you keep track of it.
Be sure that even after you’ve marked where you need to drill to, you double-check just to make sure. Measure twice, drill/cut once.
Here are some things you will need to protect yourself while you’re working: protective eye gear, gloves, appropriate outdoor clothing according to the weather, ear protection (such as earplugs or noise-reducing earmuffs) to help with the noise of the drills if necessary, and even protection for your nose and mouth (like a mask) to prevent the dust that comes from the concrete as you drill into it from getting into your body.
Type Of Drill
The type of drill you choose to use is essential to the success of your project. There are always many drills and bits to choose from, so which ones work best for concrete?
Standard rotary drills can work well but only for very small projects; if you’re dealing with older concrete or are doing more than just a couple of holes, you will want to upgrade to a better-working drill because at that point the standard drills won’t work well enough.
Hammer, SDS (slotted drive system), and rotary hammer drills are the best kinds to use for this project. All work well for projects concerning masonry. Use a hammer drill if it’s not too big of a job without too many holes. An SDS drill is best suited for heavy-duty utilization. Use a rotary hammer drill if it’s a bigger job, like drilling multiple holes or really deep ones.
If you choose to rent a drill for this job, make sure to read the owner’s manual before using it to understand and be comfortable with the tool. Some of the best brands of drills to go with, whether you rent or not, are DeWalt, Black and Decker, Milwaukee, and Bosch.
For your drill bits, make sure to use one of the appropriate sizes. High-quality masonry drill bits are the best ones to use for drilling into concrete.
Drilling Your Holes
Now once you have the proper gear and drill, it’s time to get started actually drilling your holes!
Begin by drilling your pilot hole. Start with a short start-up to make sure you have the alignment right. Make sure you have a firm grip on the drill; if it has an extra spot on the side with an auxiliary handle, hold that for extra support. Also, make sure you have a secure stance and start out drilling slowly in the beginning.
After that, use moderate pressure and moderate speed while drilling, and don’t be too hard or rough. Too much pressure can break the drill bit or ruin the surface of the concrete. It’s not a wise choice to drill your holes too quickly or in with too high a setting.
Stop every so often to blow out the dust in the hole and make sure the hole looks good and clear. Don’t force the drill if you feel any obstructions or extra resistance. Instead, take the drill out and just try and break through the barrier by gently tapping at it with a masonry nail. Tap and do not pound otherwise you could crack the concrete or do something to the hole you’ve been working on. Once you’ve breached the barrier you may continue working with the drill.
All concrete posts should have rods in them as a way to support their structure and shape. Concrete fence posts are no different. Usually, there are 4 in a fence post. Typically they should be found in the corners, so if you’re drilling towards the center you should be fine.
If you do hit one of the rods or rebars in one of your fence posts with the drill, it can compromise the integrity of the post. Use caution if you have to drill by where one of the rods should be, or if you think you might be nearing one in the concrete.
Just some final tips and warnings to help you with your project:
One helpful tip is that if you need to screw something into your drilled hole, use a hex screw because they work best in concrete.
Another thing is to watch out for air pockets inside the concrete while drilling as they can be an unexpected part of the project.
Fence posts may crack under the wrong amount of pressure so take it slow while you work and know that it will be worth the patience!
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a while to drill holes so this project shouldn’t take too long. Remember to use caution and you should be done in no time!