How To Use A Core Drill

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Core drills are pieces of equipment preferable for drilling giant holes within concrete surfaces. These are the holes that are not achievable with the use of rotary hammers or hammer drills. In fact, there are several sizes of core drills, and special manufacturing processes are implemented for them.

Along with different drills, there are different bits for the purpose as well. Hence, you need to choose the core drill and bits, depending upon the surface to drill and the size of the hole required.

How To Use A Core Drill

A core drill is quite similar to the application as that of the hole saw. It is not only an effective power tool for concrete but is also useful for drilling through metal. Additionally, a core drill consists of circular & large bit that comes with a special set of drilling teeth and a hollow central unit.

Core drill cutters

In fact, knowing the specifications of the core drill is important before you utilize it for your application. But, what is more important, is to know how to use a core drill.

Step 1: Choosing The Right Core Drill Type

To begin with, you must use the right type of core drill for effectively carrying out your job.

  1. If you are drilling through soft surfaces such as masonry or brick, prefer a small hand-held core drill.
  2. If you are drilling through solid materials, such as concrete with large hole expectancy, then go with a core drill that comes with a stand.
  3. Choose the right drill bit for the purpose as well. Also, you can prefer to choose either a carbide-tip drill bit or a diamond-top drill bit. Just to let you know, the diamond-top drill bit is a strong option for drilling concrete or solid surfaces.

Step 2: Go Through The Manual And Security Checks

  1. Find the manufacturer’s manual, and read it thoroughly.
  2. It will help you ensure that no component gets damaged while using the core drill.
  3. In the case of wet drilling, you must take concerns to keep away all the electrical components from the site. It would be best to consider this because it might cause a surge of shot circuits when in contact with water.
  4. Prefer not to use damaged core drills, as they will be dangerous to use on the field or site.

Step 3: Take The Necessary Measurements And Clear The Obstacles

Person selecting drill bit from a box
  1. Measure the hole depth to ensure how deep you want to go with your core drill.
  2. Mark the drilling area with a pencil or marker.
  3. When you have measured the hole-depth, it is now time to get the right drill bit. It is important to use an appropriate drill bit to ensure that you don’t dig deeper than the measurement or less than the measurement.
  4. Check for the obstacles, such as plumbing or electrical work, underneath the drilling surface.

Step 4: Implement The Set-up Of Core Drill

  1. For drilling a concrete pipe, you need to use a clamp to support the pipeline. Again, it ensures that the pipe doesn’t move or vibrate much during the drilling process.
  2. If you are using a drill rig or core drill with a handle, you have to anchor it onto the surface for better results.
  3. Attach the drill bit securely and tighten it without leaving loose ends.
  4. Use an ideal template to position the core drill over the drilling surface.
  5. For drilling through concrete, you need to prefer wet core drilling. And for that, you must seek to connect a water source to the equipment.
  6. Carry out the handling and positioning aspects, as per the manual.

Step 5: The Drilling Step

  1. The water flow needs to be accessed and should come out of the bit. Check and ensure that!
  2. Now, please turn on the drill, and let it reach up to full speed.
  3. Be slow and gentle to plunge that drill inside the surface or material.
  4. If you are using a hand-held core drill, then prefer starting the drill at an angle, and straight it out later. It will make things easier for you.
  5. Apply gentle pressure on the drill, and do not push it through with manual force. Instead, let the core drill bit do the work of drilling through.
  6. For stopping and removing the drill bit from the hole, lower the water flow and slow down the drill speed. Now, please take out the drill bit while it is still in low-speed motion.
  7. If you have to make another hole at a different point, then re-set the drill to that position and commence with the process.
Drill bit set

For your reference and better understanding, please check out this YouTube video which gives a visual demonstration of the above steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Basics Of Safety While Using Core Drills?

You need to choose the right kind of drill for the purpose, and in this case of concrete drilling, a core drill is the best. You need to pick the proper stand attachment and drill bit to ensure that your purpose is served. Furthermore, it would be best to keep aside a fire extinguisher at the worksite if anything goes sideways. This link will provide you with more details about the basics of safety for using a core drill.

When Should I Opt For Wet Core Drilling?

Some of the applications of wet core drilling include electrical conduits, piping masonry, floor drilling, ceiling drilling, wall drilling, air conditioning, refrigeration, and others.

Can I Use A Core Drill Without Water?

Yes, you do not need to use water for core drilling if you are drilling a hole through a soft brick, sandstone, or masonry. Instead, you need water for drilling into solid materials like concrete.


Core drills are quite complex than the usual drills for everyone to use. You can use such drills, but after reading and understanding the manual on priority. Moreover, you cannot expect to use your traditional drilling skills to use these high-end core drills.

Hence, take your time, understand the usage, and then execute the work. These steps will help you in the process of mastering the use of core drills!

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.