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SPECIAL SERIES: INS & OUTS OF CORE DRILLING

CORE DRILLING APPLICATIONS, PREP WORK & PRODUCT SELECTION PRE-CONSIDERATIONS

This is the first installment on a special series we’re doing on core drilling.  Concrete drilling tips and recommendations will be included.  We’d like this series to be useful for all in our trade who come across it, from the concrete laborer learning from the start to the expert concrete finisher.  So here we go, from the beginning. . 

CORE DRILLING APPLICATIONS

 What do alibis, golf courses, and concrete walls all have in common?  Holes matter for all three - one can’t have , the second must-have , and concrete walls sometimes need .    

In the case of concrete walls (and floors, etc.), holes of sizes up to 60 inches are sometimes needed to make openings to run plumbing, electrical or HVAC conduit and more.  

The solution is a concrete coring drill with a quality diamond coring bit (see some of the best here).  Diamond core drills & bits boreholes in concrete, asphalt, stone and masonry structures with both high-speed and precision.  In addition to being fast, concrete diamond core drilling is safe, quiet and doesn’t cause impact or vibration damage to the surrounding area, fighting the good fight against spalling and eliminating would-be fractures.

Because diamond core drilling creates clean, straight openings, it doesn’t require patching or cosmetic repair and allows moving on to the next project task without delay.  Because core drills easily cut through rebar, holes can be drilled wherever most suitable in the area.

All of these factors combine to make concrete core drilling with the proper drill and a diamond core bit a very efficient and high-production method of drilling.

CORE DRILLING JOB PREP WORK

Before setting up for core drilling, it’s useful to make sure you’ll have the following available at the worksite:

  • Concrete anchors and anchor setting tools 
  • Threaded studs, bolts, nuts, and washers 
  • Wrenches for bits, drill spindle, extensions, leveling screws and anchor nuts or bolts
  • Level and tape measure
  • Bit extensions and adapters
  • Water hoses, electrical cords, ground fault interrupt, and assorted electrical plug adapters
  • Power supply (if the drill motor is other than standard electric)
  • Pump and water supply
  • Wet pick-up vacuum cleaner
  • Coring bits - You can find some great deals on quality concrete coring bits here. See next paragraph for more.
  • The right Roto-hammer / concrete coring drill & bit(s) for the job, which leads us to our next prep work topic . . .

CHOOSING A CORE DRILLING SYSTEM

A week or so out, at the latest, you’ll want to know what type of core drill(s) and concrete coring bits that will be needed for the job.  This will allow time for purchasing or financing a type you need if you don’t already own it or have access to one.  The person who shows up to do a big concrete coring job and forgot to answer the following questions first is likely the same guy who risks holding up the job for a day while scrambling to get the right drill and/or the right core bits. Here’s what to find out the answers to first:

  • What is the ultimate use for the hole?
  • What is the precision required and how many holes? 
  • Material - type of masonry to be drilled?
  • What is the dust/water control required on the job site?
  • Is anything embedded in the structure?

Answering the above core drilling project questions will help you choose between the many different options.  I’d also add considering how many projects of that sort you expect to do in the next year for most bits, or next several years for concrete drill selection - once you’ve found the multiple options that similarly meet your job requirements.

While there are differences in brand and quality for both coring drills and bits, which materials bits are best on, how long they’ll last, extra options, and bells and whistles, coring drills most-broadly and basically be categorized into three types:

  • Lightweight Hand-Held concrete drills
  • Medium- to Heavy-Duty concrete coring / drilling machines
  • Large, Extra-heavy Duty concrete drilling equipment (for extra-large diameter or deep holes)

We will drill deeper into each of these product categories, with examples, and more about core drilling in following posts in this Special Series.  In the meanwhile, please send any tips of your own to blog@acecutting.com.  Please also include if you want your name and business included.