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Old 08-22-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


I am attempting to drywall over the top portion of a floor to ceiling brick wall. Unfortunately, the brick is both recessed in certain areas and bumpy. As a result, I need to attach furring strips to the recessed areas in order to give a smooth, level appearance. The problem: the brick is impenetrable. I understood when my cordless drill didn't make a dent, but a friend tried to drill into the mortar (not even the brick) with a corded Milwaukee drill and Spax wood to masonry screws. The screw broke. Then, he tried a Tapcoat bit and was able to barely make it into the masonry, but reversed it when we smelled smoke and saw that the bit was turning blue at the tip.

I'm at a loss. I have to have some furring strips attached to the wall in case anyone wants to hang anything, but I don't see how I'm getting into the wall. I've read that a hammer drill will do the trick, but I also read that a masonry bit and Tapcoat screws into the mortar would be a cinch. What's the real story?

Thanks!
Shawna

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Old 08-22-2010, 08:59 PM   #2
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


Yes, a hammer drill will definitely make your job easier. Not just faster, but it can go through material that a regular drill, even with a masonry bit just can not penetrate. If you do not have access to one, you can often rent a very good one from a local rental place or in most cities, even your local HD. Tapcons work great for furring strips, but another option would be to use a .22 cal Remington powered nail set, but added caution is needed and this is not always the best option for the DIYer.

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Old 08-22-2010, 09:16 PM   #3
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


My Dewalt hammer drill has no problem going through the mortar or bricks.
Definitely use a hammer drill with a masonry bit.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


I'll give it a go with the hammer drill. I'm assuming that I'll have to get special bits for that, too, right? Or can I use the Tapcoat and other masonry bits that I already own?

Thanks again!
Shawna
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:29 PM   #5
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


hammer drills work so much beter than you'd think they would on that type of material.

another option would be screw the furing strip top and bottom with some liquid nails to the brick. If you use a thicker plaster, you'll pick up some strength there too as it will make the wall more ridgid and spread the load onto multiple furring strips.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:59 PM   #6
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


It appears there are a couple of places where I can rent a hammer drill in my area. In fact, it looks like there are a couple of different hammer drills to rent, including a rotary hammer drill. Is there any appreciable difference between a rotary hammer drill and, let's say, a 1 1/2" hammer drill (which it looks like they have at one of the local places)?

Thanks again!
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:03 AM   #7
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


shawn...sears has a 1/2" corded hammer drill for $62. Compare that to your rental cost.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:26 AM   #8
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


I just bought a Hitachi hammer drill from Lowes last week, compared it to itself in hammer / rotary mode, wow does hammer mode make drilling through concrete easy as heck its like drilling through wood, rotary mode it barely scratches the surface (with a masonary bit too!) in the time the hammer mode went through the brick... it only cost me $65 at lowes
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:52 AM   #9
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DIY fireplace remodel gone awry - impenetrable brick wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnad73 View Post
It appears there are a couple of places where I can rent a hammer drill in my area. In fact, it looks like there are a couple of different hammer drills to rent, including a rotary hammer drill. Is there any appreciable difference between a rotary hammer drill and, let's say, a 1 1/2" hammer drill (which it looks like they have at one of the local places)?

Thanks again!
The difference is the hammer drill vibrates in and out very fast to make masonry drilling much easier.

Rotary hammers are drills with a piston on the inside which is operated by the motor and gears. When the motor turns, it moves a gear, which then moves a rod. The rod hits a hammer mechanism which transfers the strike force into the rotary hammer bit. All of this happens very rapidly. Because there is a piston being struck, the force of the blow against the bit is much harder than that of a hammer drill.

So to answer your question:

1) The primary use for the hammer drill is to drill holes (from 3/16" to 7/8" in diameter) in masonry or brick. It's also used as a heavy-duty drill motor for standard drilling and has a chuck and uses bits that have straight shanks.


2) The primary use for the rotary hammer is to drill holes (from 1/4" to 2" in diameter) in hard concrete using a solid bit. It's also used for light chipping and uses bits that have either slots or groves in the shank or spline shanks.

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