I just purchased a condo on the beach, which was built in 1978. Trying to drill through the concrete but to no avail.

For the past 3 days I’ve been running to the big box stores to purchase drill bits for metal & concrete to use with my regular corded drill, but to no avail. So, I’ve done some research. Purchased a corded SDS Bauer Rotary Hammer Drill and a different drill bit just for my SDS drill to use on concrete. Well, once again I can’t penetrate but maybe 1/8”. Very frustrating! What are in my walls? I live in a condo on the beach, 5th floor. We do get hurricanes, just thought I’d mention that in case it mattered in the building materials that were used. It’s my closet that I’m trying to put shelves in, which share the same wall as the living room. I believe it is a load bearing wall. If there’s anyone that could give me some insight, I’d really appreciate it!

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    Please try to provide a photo of the hole, include any filings or debris coming out of the hole a 5th floor install in the US requires a licensed pension in every state I have worked (above 3 floors requires a license) you may be hitting the edge of a support beam. I usually encourage diy but not in this case as multiple residents are at risk from whatever you are hitting. Whoops I was thinking electrical but now believe the structure is involved probably structural steel.
    – Ed Beal
    May 30, 2021 at 2:30
  • You might be drilling into concrete and hitting rebar. Have you tried moving an inch or two in various directions? You might be drilling into plasterboard and hitting solid steel structure. Do you know the construction of your building? Is it steel beams? Poured concrete? Do you know where the structural walls are in your apartment? Are all four walls of your closet made the same way? Perhaps two or three of the closet walls are partition walls and you could use them instead to build shelf supports.
    – jay613
    May 30, 2021 at 11:46
  • You really should learn as much as possible about how your building was designed. I wouldn't suggest this to most people but if you are resourceful enough to go buy an SDS drill to put shelves in your closet .... well, I pity your neighbors but I think you'll enjoy learning what's in your walls and it will help you a lot with maintaining your condo over the years.
    – jay613
    May 30, 2021 at 11:52
  • Are you familiar with how to drill in concrete? There is aggregate, or crushed rock mixed in with the concrete and hitting it can really slow down or stop the drilling process. You just have to keep at it and apply pressure to the drill. If you're hitting rebar, then that's a different story.
    – JACK
    May 30, 2021 at 13:20
  • Don't mean to be insulting, but do you have the drill in the right mode? It should be in [hammer and drill], as opposed to [drill only]. Plus, the drill might be doa out of the box... have you tried it on an innocuous rock or bit of sidewalk? May 30, 2021 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


I want to thank all of you for your suggestions! I was fortunate enough to run into a contractor that was working on another project in my building. Turns out, that there is no rebar, wiring or plumbing of any sort where I wanted to put up my shelves. My settings on the SDS Hammer Drill were correct. The problem was, that since the drill was new, sometimes they get stuck. So, he kind of hit the drill with the bit attached into the wall, and Voila! Now it works just fine! Now, onto bigger and better projects! Again, thank you to all that responded!

  • Glad to hear you got it sorted, Dorothy. Please accept this answer to resolve your post.
    – isherwood
    Jun 2, 2021 at 16:47

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