What are the uses of a hammer drill and why do you need it?
A power drill is a useful tool for tackling several tasks around the house. It can help you assemble furniture, hang pictures, and complete numerous household repairs. Hammer drills are a different option. It lets you put holes into a concrete wall, tackle hard surfaces, and handle similar installation needs.
Although some power tools such as the impact drivers come with a hammer-like feature, it is not necessarily the same as having an impact or percussion tool with a dedicated design for this work. You would use this option whenever extreme force is necessary to punch a hole into a hard surface.
7 Best Uses for a Hammer Drill
Hammer drills are needed when boring a hole is necessary in a challenging material. Concrete, stones, bricks, masonry, ceramics, etc. are some of the tough materials that this tool can penetrate, allowing you to insert plugs, bolts, screws, and other items to create specific results.
You can also use hammer drills on brick and metal with the appropriate bits.
1. Hammer Drill for Concrete
Regular cordless drills struggle to penetrate concrete even if you use a masonry drill bit. Drilling into concrete is simple when you have a powerful hammer drill available. The tool is used for drilling concrete footings and floors to fit metal anchors and install wall frames.
Why do you need a hammer drill for concrete?
Technically you could use a good cordless drill and a masonry bit to drill concrete. But regular drills do not have the sufficient torque to pierce concrete. This will cause frequent damages to the cutting edges of the bits and may result in overheating of the motor.
Dried concrete is a very hard substance. In the Mohs scale, the hardness of concrete is rated as 5 to 7. This is as hard as hardened tool steel with which regular drill bits are made. Hence you need a masonry bit with tungsten carbide cutting tips which is harder than concrete.
How to Use Hammer Drill?
After measuring and marking the surface, prepare to drill by setting the depth stop to 1/4-inch longer than your intended depth. If your tool doesn’t have this feature, place some masking tape on the bit where you need the mark to be. You’ll use a carbide masonry bit to drill the hole, using firm, but not heavy pressure to achieve a positive result. Do not apply excessive force; let the tool do its job.
If your Tapcon screw threads won’t grip after drilling the concrete hole, use an anchor instead. It should be of the correct size to accommodate your hardware, which means you may need to expand your drilled hole a little to manage its width.
2. Hammer Drill into Brick
Drilling into brick isn’t as challenging as it seems when you have a hammer drill available to take on this task. With the right tool, bit, and technique, it only takes a few minutes to complete the boring work.
Your task is to determine whether you should drill into the mortar or the brick. The latter holds more weight, but older masonry work may crumble when you create a hole for a deep anchor. Expansions could generate enough stress to trigger cracking.
Before installing your screws or anchor, please remember to blow out the hole you created to eliminate any lingering dust.
Plumbers, electricians, and handymen use this power tool all the time to make holes in the walls to fit piping and wiring. Their work usually involves drilling pilot holes in bricks or cinder blocks for concrete lag screws to fix fittings on to the wall.
Electricians will find this power tool very useful since you can drill through wood and concrete blocks with the same tool by simply changing the mode.
4. Hammer Drill on Metal
When drilling holes in metal, you don’t need to use the hammering drill. In fact, trying to drill with hammering action will cause your drill bit to skate across the metal surface. So turn the mode switch to drill only mode and use the right drill bit.
I prefer to use HSS (High-Speed Steel) bits since they can retain the cutting edges longer than high carbon steel bits. Although some come with a titanium nitride coating to make the product last longer, the occasional work can use something standard. Black oxide or cobalt steel is also appropriate for a hammer drill going through metal.
Before you start the drilling process, it helps to punch the center (make a dimple) where you plan to work. The bits tend to wander with this material, which could cause damage to the product’s surface.
It also helps to lubricate the bits when drilling metal. Cutting fluids or three-in-one multipurpose products can reduce heat buildup to make everything last longer.
Some metals are a little easier to drill. You may not need lubrication on cast iron, brass, or aluminum.
5. Hammer Drill on Ceramic Tile
However, drilling through ceramic tile is tricky because the material can crack rather easily. When you need to put a hole in it to mount something, a 2-in-1 tool that lets you turn the hammering function off is the better choice. You would want to use a diamond or carbide abrasive-type bit to complete the work.
It’s much easier to break or crack tile when using a hammer drill. That’s why it is more effective to use it as a demolition option instead of as an installation tool. Find out how to use a hammer drill for tile removal.Warning: Do not use the hammer-drilling mode to drill holes in tiles. Use the drill mode or a regular cordless drill.
Even if you have porcelain tile to manage, it is better to turn off the hammer function or to use a standard power drill instead of limiting the risks you face when working.
6. Drilling Stones
You can use a hammer drill on rock and stones to drill holes. It is also possible to split boulders by drilling holes and using feathers and wedge to hammer the boulder into separate pieces.
However, do not use a hammer drill to drill your granite and marble countertop. The percussive blows can result in developing cracks on your countertop. What you need in this case is a regular drill with a diamond core bit (hole saw) to cut holes in the granite countertop, ceramic tiles, etc.
7. Demolition Work
Are you doing remodeling and want to tear down a section of your wall? Get a demolition hammer drill.
Much like tile removal, SDS hammer drills equipped with chisel bits work great for demolition jobs. The demolition hammer is specifically designed for this job. While not as powerful as a jackhammer or a pavement breaker, the demo hammers are powerful enough to do most home improvement and reconstruction jobs. However, it cannot be used for drilling holes.
In case you need a tool that can drill holes as well as break masonry, then get a rotary or combi hammer drill. See the difference between demolition hammer vs. rotary hammer vs. combination hammer here.
Why a Hammer Drill Should Be in Every Toolbox
Although you may not need a hammer drill in every situation, this tool is useful to have around for those moments when it is necessary.
Whenever you need to bore holes into concrete, masonry, or stone, it provides the resources necessary to achieve the intended result without damaging the other components.
You can even use a hammer drill as a regular drill if it comes with a “standard drill” mode. That means you can have the versatility of an everyday tool while having the extra power available when you need it the most.
Anyone who plans to work on hard surfaces in the near future should consider investing in this tool. It makes your life easier!