Can you drill into garage walls? (Hint: It depends)

As a homeowner, there’s always another home improvement project on your to-do list. At some point, you’ll likely look into installing storage in your garage, whether it’s in the form of shelving for power tools, hooks to hang shovels, or hang cables and wiring. Putting each of those up, though, takes some planning and drilling. 

You can drill into your garage walls — but you need to make sure you drill the holes correctly so you don’t impact the structural integrity of the wall.

Let’s take a look at how to correctly drill a hole into a concrete wall and learn what safety precautions you should take.

How to Safely Drill Into Garage Walls

Ready to get started on your home improvement project? Whatever the reason you plan to drill holes into your concrete garage walls, it’s important that you take the necessary steps for a successful project. Follow these steps to properly drill holes into your garage walls:

Mark the Wall

Before drilling into the wall, it’s extremely helpful to measure and mark the wall to indicate the spots where you want to drill. Doing so will reduce the chance for errors, limiting the number of accidental holes in the wall. Use a pencil or marker to indicate the preferred drilling spot. Don’t worry about the mark on the wall because you’re going to be drilling into it. 

Drill a Pilot Hole

You don’t want to grab your drill and go “all-in” all at once. Start by drilling a pilot hole in the wall, which is a smaller hole that is used to guide the drill and ease the job when drilling deeper. Do this by using a lower speed to create a shallow hold of about ⅛ to ¼ inches.

Continue Drilling Deeper

Once the pilot hole is created, you can use it to guide your drill into place. Line your drill up with the pilot hole and turn on your drill with more power — a hammer setting is ideal if a feature on your drill. Apply pressure, but don’t force the drill into the wall. 

Over time, you can begin increasing the speed of the drill in needed, but it’s important that you never lose control of the drill because it’s very easy for the drill to slip on the concrete material.

Remove the Drill Every So Often

As you are drilling, you will want to pull the drill out of the hole every ten seconds to remove excess dust from building up within the hole. Leaving the dust within the hole can slow down the job.

Use a Masonry Nail

Concrete is an extremely hard material, and sometimes your drill won’t be able to get through certain areas. When this happens, you can use a hammer and a masonry nail to help break up the concrete within the hole before continuing to drill.

Remove the Excess Dust

Before adding anchors into the holes, you will want to remove the excess dust that built up throughout the drilling process. 

You can do this by blowing on the holes or using a can of compressed air to remove the concrete dust. Wearing goggles and a mask are paramount during this step of the process! If blowing air on the holes doesn’t seem to be successfully removing the dust, you can also use a damp cotton swab to remove dust from the holes.

Tips for Successfully Drilling of Concrete

Now that you know how to drill holes into your garage walls, here are some additional tips you should follow to ensure you have a smooth and successful home improvement project.

Check Your Wall’s Structural Integrity

Before drilling into the wall, you will want to take some time examining the concrete wall for any large cracks or abnormally large opening. You need to ensure that drilling into the wall will not cause any cracks, and if the wall is already compromised, there is a greater risk of damage when you start drilling.

Understand What’s Behind the Wall

There are often a few surprises behind your walls — even concrete ones! Before starting your home improvement project, perform an inspection of the wall to get a clear understanding of any wires or piping that might be running behind them. You want to avoid drilling into the wiring or piping, causing costly problems you weren’t anticipating.

Obtain the Right Tools

A drill bit might not seem that important, but it plays a huge part in your project! Drills bits aren’t interchangeable from project to project — you must ensure you’re using the correct type of drill bit when drilling into a garage wall. For instance, if you only have a drill bit meant for drilling into wood, you will need to invest in concrete-specific drill bits.

Measure and Mark the Desired Holes

Concrete walls are a little less forgiving than the drywall inside your home. Avoid having random holes throughout the wall but accurately measuring where the holes should go and clearly marking the wall. This will make it much easier for you to drill into the wall in the desired locations.

Stop If You Hit Rebar

If you hit something hard when drilling into the concrete wall, there’s a chance you hit rebar behind the wall. Rebar is steel that is installed as a tension device to reinforce concrete structures. 

Drilling a hole through the rebar can weaken the structural integrity of your concrete garage wall, so you will want to stop and check what you are drilling into and determine if you need to relocate the location of the drill hole before continuing with your home improvement project.

Safety Tips for Drilling Into Concrete

Safety should be of the utmost importance for any home improvement project you take on. When drilling holes in the walls of your garage, make sure you are following all proper safety protocols:

  • Protect your eyes – Whenever you’re drilling into a wall, especially concrete, you should protect your eyes with safety goggles. As you drill into the concrete, debris is going to be flying through the air and you want to avoid getting anything in your eyes that could cause damage.
  • Wear a helmet – Drilling into the wall is going to cause the wall to vibrate. If there are any shelves or objects attached to the wall above where you are drilling, it is highly recommended you wear a helmet to protect your head in case anything falls from above.
  • Use gloves on your hands – When drilling, wearing gloves will help you maintain a firm grip on the drill — allowing for more accurate and precise drilling.
  • Keep your tools organized – It’s easy to get a bit disorganized when working on a project, but you must remain tidy and keep all your tools and nails organized and set aside in a box. This will prevent you from tripping while drilling into the wall.
  • Monitor your environment – It’s important that you know what’s going on in your surrounding environment at all times. Avoid having your pets or children in the garage with you so you can remain focused throughout the project, limiting the number of issues that could arise.

Drill in Your Garage, But Do It Safely

Drilling might not seem like a dangerous job, but problems can arise. Following these safety precautions when drilling into your garage walls will ensure your project goes smoothly. In no time, you’ll have new shelving, bike racks, or even a man-cave picture adorning your garage walls.