Concrete floor & walls... defying me

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Forum topic by Nate Finch posted 04-08-2013 01:51 PM 3457 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Nate Finch

29 posts in 3434 days

04-08-2013 01:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop workshop concrete garage

My shop, such as it is, is in my garage that is set into a hill. 2 of the 4 walls are entirely concrete. I’d like to build some walls over the concrete both to insulate and to make it easier for me to hang shelves etc. However, I have dulled two concrete bits trying to drill holes in the floor with the idea of screwing a 2×4 to the floor as the base of the wall. Am I doing something wrong? I’m using concrete bits I’ve gotten at hardware stores, but they drill half the depth I need for one screw and then they’re so dull they just stop being able to make any progress.

Is it likely that the floor is just such a hard form of concrete that these generic concrete bits can’t handle it? The garage was built in 2002 by the previous owners, who tended to like to overbuild, so it’s possible they used an upgraded concrete, if such a thing exists.

Is there a better way to do this than the concrete bit / concrete screw sets you get at home depot etc?

Any help would be appreciated.

-- Nate, Harvard, MA

27 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2547 days

#1 posted 04-08-2013 01:57 PM

Are you using a hammer drill with the bits? That’s the way to go. You could also try a ramset (I think that’s what they’re called). It uses a little .22 cartridge to shoot a nail into the cement. They come in different sizes for different applications and they’re usually at the end of one of the hardware aisles at Lowes/Home depot.

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View ajosephg's profile


1881 posts in 4070 days

#2 posted 04-08-2013 02:02 PM

I’ve had the same problem and think a ramset is the way to go. You can rent the tool. I also used construction adhesive under the plates, but that might be an overkill.

-- Joe

View Cgwendling's profile


13 posts in 2950 days

#3 posted 04-08-2013 02:10 PM

Questions. Are you using a hammer drill or a rotary hammer? Are you using Tapcon or similiar concrete screws with a bit smaller than 1/4”?

If you are using a regular drill you will have a tough go of it and will burn up alot of bits.
I’ve been drilling holes in concrete for the better part of three decades and have found that a hammer drill is not much good for any hole much over 3/16”. Use compressed air to keep the hole cleaned out while drilling. A rotary hammer is the correct tool for the job but they tend to break bits smaller than 3/16”.

As others have said the ramset system is a good fit for your application.

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Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3359 days

#4 posted 04-08-2013 02:18 PM

Another approach: As Joe suggested, construction adhesive.

Lay out the top and bottom plate together and attach the bottom plate with goo. Give it a day or too ( : ))

Attach the top plate to the ceiling and custom cut your studs, a sixteenth over and whack ‘em in. Toescrew them in place and you’re there.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Airspeed's profile


456 posts in 2411 days

#5 posted 04-08-2013 02:38 PM

My basement is in the same configuration, it’s set into a hill and I’m surrounded by three walls of concrete. It’s nice in the summer because it stays cool but it also stays cool in the winter! I’ve been considering doing the same but I’ve been considering it for 20 years! I think you would be fine glueing the bottom plate, your not changing the structure at all so you don’t need to worry about it failing and your building collapsing. I would do as suggested, glue the plate down, cut the studs a little long and beat them in, it will never move. Concrete gets harder with age (I know there’s a joke in there somewhere but I’m new here and don’t want to push it!) it never stops curing.


View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 04-08-2013 02:43 PM

In the contracting business we use either a ram set or a roto-hammer and anchors .

View bondogaposis's profile


5540 posts in 2860 days

#7 posted 04-08-2013 02:44 PM

Great advice here and another option it to use a ramset. I have one like this, It uses .22 cal blanks to shoot nails into concrete. It has worked well for in my basement finishing project, shooting the floor plate down.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Julian's profile


1484 posts in 3200 days

#8 posted 04-08-2013 03:01 PM

A rotary hammer and GOOD concrete drill bits should work. Some concrete drill bits are just not very good. Speed a couple extra dollars and get good concreter drill bits. The rotary hammer will also make this job much easier. Most HomeDepots rent rotary hammer drills and ramsets.

-- Julian

View chrisstef's profile


17960 posts in 3515 days

#9 posted 04-08-2013 03:06 PM

Rent a Hilti brand hammer drill if you can or like said above, shoot those puppies in to the slab, or liquid nails them down. Just make sure the wife knows that youre shooting nails when the sound of that .22 goes off if in fact that is the route you choose.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 2795 days

#10 posted 04-08-2013 03:22 PM

A friend of mine bought some 3” polyisocyanurate (I think that’s spelled wrong) ... rigid foam insulation NOT the styrofoam type. He stuck it to the wall with adhesive…. and not a lot of it… then built his shelves and stuff in front of it. The shelves sit on the floor and are secured at the ceiling so they aren’t “tippy”. In one area he has a bench with upper cabinets. He built it as a unit and slid it against the wall. It has a 3’4” plywood back. Cabinets secured to that and then once it was in place he also screwed those to a stringer on the ceiling. If you’re creative, you don’t necessarily HAVE to bolt stuff to concrete. :)

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9312 posts in 2838 days

#11 posted 04-08-2013 03:56 PM

Is there a better way to do this than the concrete bit / concrete screw sets you get at home depot etc?

Yes there is ….

you need one of these….

mount 2×3s to the wall ON THE FLAT, using these

and these

Do yourself a favor and don’t fool around with cartridges lighter than the #4 ‘yellow’ power.

Buy “1-3/8 foil faced iso board 4’x8’ panels, then rip them right down the middle and put the full 24” between the 2×3 nailers. Iso board gives you ~R7 for every inch. so you’ll have R-9 (not including the inner surface). And the 1/8” void with the foil face gives you the extra benefit of reflecting radiant heat back into the room.

Use PL 300 adhesive with a big fat bead in an ’s’ pattern on the back of the foam.

Then buy tongue and v-groove boards for an inner cladding.

This way, you can mount a hook, shelf, or whatever you want…. wherever you want. And you don’t require a second set of hands to put it up…. and best of all…. no mudding sheet rock!!! (I hate mudding sheet rock)

Surface mount your electrical outlets in conduit…. and then you can always change or expand them.

That’s how I did my basement shop and I LOVE it.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2516 days

#12 posted 04-08-2013 04:07 PM

There is different grades of concrete. And yes, the previous owner may hve been thinging “Bomb Shelter” when he poured the walls.

So how come I’m the first one to suggest this?

Step 1. Drill a small hole (you’ve got this already)
Step 2. Figger out just HOW MUCH you need.

Step 3. BOOM!

If I may be of further assistance,
My card, Sir :-)

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3478 days

#13 posted 04-08-2013 05:40 PM

A Hilti will drill through anything.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2886 days

#14 posted 04-08-2013 06:10 PM

Not sure how you are constructing your walls but…
IMHO the best way would be to use the rigid foam as ssnvet suggests on the whole wall. Tape the seams and then put a 2×3 wall in front of it, no need to attach to the concrete wall. Glue the bottom plate down with the appropriate PL construction adhesive if you cant screw/nail it down and screw the top plate to ceiling. Then cut studs to fit (just a hair long so they are snug but not too long so they bow. Then cover with plywood and paint white.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 3352 days

#15 posted 04-09-2013 02:26 AM

If you use a Ramset or any other powder-charged fastener wear eye protection and thick clothing. If you do have some well cured high strength concrete using Tapcon screws would be easier and more of a sure thing IMO. If you are using a hammer drill make sure it’s in hammer mode and isn’t in reverse. Also check if you are hitting re-bar in the concrete. -Jack

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