How to Drill into Concrete with a Regular Drill

You might think that you need a hammer drill when drilling into concrete. The truth is that you don’t.

Don’t stress yourself out trying to figure out how to drill into concrete with a regular drill.

We’ll walk you through it all – step by step.

Steps to Follow

When you’re drilling into concrete without a hammer drill, the steps are remarkably similar. The only real difference is the amount of time that it’s going to take. When drilling into some concrete with a regular drill, make sure you use masonry drill bits, and take your time and go slow, or else you might break your drill bit.

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is mark the spot that you want to drill into. Start with a small drill bit and apply steady pressure as you drill.

If you feel like the drill bit is getting stuck, back off a bit before starting to drill again. Failure to do so will likely result in a broken drill bit.

Step 2

Once you get your first hole drilled into the concrete, increase your drill bit’s size, and redrill the hole. Make sure that you are only increasing the size of the drill bit a little at a time.

You don’t want to jump sizes by anything more than 1/8″ at a time.

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If you try to skip too many sizes at one time, the chances are that you’ll end up breaking your drill bit.

drill into concrete

Step 3

When you’re drilling, you’re likely to hit a spot that you can’t get past. That’s perfectly fine. Back out your drill bit and increase the size like in step 2.

Once your hole is large enough, use a hardened nail to break up the concrete before drilling further.

This provides a means for your drill bit to get through a more challenging section of the concrete – without using a hammer drill.

While you won’t need a hammer drill to get the job done, you won’t be able to do this without a hammer.

What Kind of Drill Bit Do You Need?

The most common type of drill bit that you use when drilling into concrete is masonry drill bits. This is true whether you are using a regular drill or a hammer drill.

It would be best if you used a masonry drill bit made of tungsten carbide. That way, it is strong enough for concrete drilling.

If you’re anxious about your masonry drill bit being strong enough to get the job done, you can upgrade to a diamond plated bit, but this usually isn’t necessary.

Since you have to start with a small size and work your way up, you will need a wide range of bit sizes.

Furthermore, you’ll want your bits to be sharp. Otherwise, you won’t have the force you need to get through the concrete.

Other Tools That You Need

Just because you don’t have a hammer drill doesn’t mean that all you’ll need is a regular drill. These are some helpful tools that you might need to get the job done – whether you’re using a hammer drill or not.

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Trying to drill through concrete with a regular drill and without a hammer can be next to impossible. As soon as you hit a chunk of concrete that your drill bit can’t get through, you’ll be out of luck.

You’ll want to use a standard ball peen or claw hammer, no dead blows, or rubber mallets here!

Hardened Nail

You’re going to need something to use that hammer on. You’ll need to drill your hole way too wide to break it up by just smacking it with a hammer.

That’s why you need something like a hardened nail. A regular nail won’t do the trick – they’ll just bend or break before they tear apart the concrete.

Meanwhile, a hardened nail will retain its shape and break up the concrete without a problem. If you can’t get a hardened nail, you’ll need to find some other sharp metal object you can get with a hammer.  

WD-40 (Or Another Lubricating Oil)

Drilling through tough surfaces tends to heat up drill bits. The hotter your drill bit gets, the more likely it will be to break.

But if you use WD-40 or another lubricating oil and spray it onto your bit as you drill, you’ll keep everything a little cooler and let it spin more easily. This can save your drill bit and get you through tough surfaces.


Advantages of a Hammer Drill

You might find yourself asking how to drill concrete with a regular drill because you don’t need to do it very often.

But if you find that you’re drilling into concrete semi-regularly, you’re probably going to want to get a hammer drill. Hammer drills offer two huge advantages over regular drills.

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It’s a Faster to Use a Hammer Drill

In business, time is money. If you’re drilling into concrete as part of your business, you want a hammer drill. That’s because hammer drills are far faster than regular drills when it comes to drilling concrete.

Invest in the right tools, and you’ll be able to get the job done a lot more quickly – and your employees will thank you for it.

For more tips on drilling through concrete with a hammer drill, check out this list.

You Can Get Through Tougher Materials

Do you know how we mentioned needing a hardened nail and a hammer when drilling through concrete with a regular drill? You significantly reduce the chance of needing those when you use a hammer drill.

The drill itself provides the hammering motion, making a nail and hammer a little redundant.

Hammer drills will get you through materials that regular drills simply can’t. Even better, they reduce the chance of your drill bit breaking.  


Answering the question of how to drill into concrete with a regular drill is easier than you think. Start slow, start small, and just drill holes.

If you take your time, use some WD40, there’s no reason you can’t get through the concrete with all your drill bits intact.

So, what are you waiting for? Get drilling!