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So I'm just getting started on basic home improvement type tasks, as I am now in a situation where I'm permitted to actually drill holes and stuff ;) I've got a bicycle rack that is supposed to be screwed to the wall, and then you hang the bikes on it. I'm trying to set it up in my garage. The garage wall looks like its made out of stacked cinder blocks or something, so I pulled out my drill and set about making a hole.

The following points concern me:

1- According to the rack's documentation, it is designed to work when mounted into a wooden stud. According to my stud-finder, the entire wall is a stud, so I think I ought to be ok? The rack says it won't work with metal studs, but I don't know how I would know the difference.

2- When I drill into the wall, The 3/4 inch or so goes real easy. Then the sound that the drill bit makes in the wall changes and progress comes to a complete halt. I could keep trying to drill, but I'm worried that I might be drilling into something that maybe I shouldn't be? Do walls normally vary in difficulty by depth when drilling, or is that a red flag?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I have to ask, who gave you permission to drill into the wall? If you say your spouse, then maybe you need to take some home improvement classes at the adult education night school at your local high school! Just joking.....

But seriously, if you have run into the concrete blocks, you need to use masonry bits with a hammer drill to bore the holes, and than use masonry anchors or specialty concrete screws (tapcons) to secure the brackets to the block. The masonry screws are easiest and the package will tell you what size masonry bit to use. You can use a regular drill, but it will require a lot of pressure and letting off every 15 seconds or so to clear the dust from the hole. Don't be surprised if the screw strips on the way in, very common, it may take a couple of trys. Be sure to drill the hole deep enough. you will get the feel of it. It is not at all like drilling into wood.

I have to mention, if you have drywall over block, then there is strapping somewhere ramsetted into the block. If you can find the strapping, you can use the standard wood techniques. Look for dimples or evidence of drywall screws, that will give you a hint where to find wood. Good luck.

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Note on using a regular drill: It may take a up to a couple minutes (and lots of effort) to make a hole with a regular drill, while a decent hammer drill will do it with very little effort in under 10 seconds (times are examples only - they're of course vary with depth, hole diameter, and density of material). If you're making a lot of holes, this makes a huge difference. If you're using a cordless drill, you may not even be able to finish the job on a single charge. Just wanted to point out that in a pinch a regular drill CAN work, but using the right tool makes a big difference here. –  gregmac Nov 14 '11 at 23:10
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