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Drilling through a lintel

Some advice please. I'm trying to put up some curtain poles at a relative's house which is a 1990s bungalow.

Having done the same at my place recently I was surprised that my decent, but domestic spec Bosch hammer drill would not penetrate beyond the plasterwork of the bungalow's walls. Upon inspection it seems that I am trying to drill into the lintel which is concrete rather than brick, which my lintels are constructed of.

Doing some research it seems I need something called an SDS drill. This I understand offers more power and a chisel action. My question are:

Whether I can use ordinary drill bits or do I need specific SDS drill bits?

Is there a minimum amount of watts power I should be looking for?

I have seen a few SDS drills on Facebook Market place, but these seem to be rated at 110v and have a non-standard plug fitted (see below) Presumably these are no good for plugging into a domestic electricity supply?

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Many thanks.

MM
 

Daz

LE
Some advice please. I'm trying to put up some curtain poles at a relative's house which is a 1990s bungalow.

Having done the same at my place recently I was surprised that my decent, but domestic spec Bosch hammer drill would not penetrate beyond the plasterwork of the bungalow's walls. Upon inspection it seems that I am trying to drill into the lintel which is concrete rather than brick, which my lintels are constructed of.

Doing some research it seems I need something called an SDS drill. This I understand offers more power and a chisel action. My question are:

Whether I can use ordinary drill bits or do I need specific SDS drill bits?

Is there a minimum amount of watts power I should be looking for?

I have seen a few SDS drills on Facebook Market place, but these seem to be rated at 110v and have a non-standard plug fitted (see below) Presumably these are no good for plugging into a domestic electricity supply?

View attachment 524527View attachment 524528

Many thanks.

MM
Yes you do need SDS bits, domestic versions can be had in scewfix fairly cheaply Titan TTB653SDS 5.9kg Electric SDS Plus Drill 230-240V | SDS Drills | Screwfix.com

Just remember to read the instructions so you understand what action the drills set for

Edit - The one you showed needs a 110v transformer otherwise its useless
 

Daz

LE
Oh, and the one I posted has the following actions, Drill, Hammer Drill & Chisel - Don't set it to Chisel, not unless you're interested in removing all the plaster from your wall
 

964ST

Old-Salt
SDS is the Fixing Method in the Chuck, almost quick release but very secure and can deliver both Rotary And Hammer (and chisel if the drill is equips) action.
Lintels are sometimes re-inforced with metal you need to be wary of hitting the metal with a Masonary Bit, I drill small Diameter first then build up to final requirement, that way the bit can work its way between the obstructions.
 
I’ve had the same problem in the past. My domestic Bosch sorted it no problem on hammer setting once I’d realised 2 things:

1. I needed a new bit, Screwfix, as masonry bits wear fast on the “you get what you pay for” principle.

2. Some lintels have re bar in them. No amount of swearing will move the bar from the position it has been carefully designed to be in, that being the precise location of your required hole.

Another option might be those expanding hollow wall fittings if there’s enough space between plasterboard and lintel? They come in a whole range of lengths, Screwfix again, and will be plenty butch enough to support even heavy curtains. You can drill, insert, unscrew, re screw, faff about but a far better bet is invest in a setting tool, Screwfix yet again, at c £15. Drill, insert, setting tool about 4 “pumps”, jobbed.


 
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1. You would need a transformer to use a 110v tool on a 240v supply
2. SDS is better but a handful of new masonry bits & a slow speed hammer drill will do a couple or three holes with patience. Start with smallest diameter bit possible, drill full depth and then go bigger diameter until you can insert required plugs
3. If you hit a metal rod in the lintel, you’ll need to reposition and start again.


You could take the easy option and glue a timber batten across the wall (on sound plaster) using one of the modern no nails type instant grab adhesives and then fix your pole brackets to that. As long as the plaster is sound and the curtains aren't of stately home drapes weight....
 
There are two types of chuck that are commonly used on a drill. The more old fashioned straight chuck or the more modern SDS chuck.

Drill bits come either as steel bits or masonry bits. You need a masonry bit. SDS is the part of the bit that fits in the drill chuck.

Steel bits are usually straight shank bits that fit in a traditional chuck opened and closed with a separate chuck key. Masonry bit’s mostly these days come as an SDS bit which clicks into the SDS chuck on your drill and again just unclicks from it when you want to take it off. No key needed.

The chuck on your drill is an SDS chuck.

An SDS masonary bit is available everywhere!

You just need one that will be the right size to use with the screws you are using and the rawplugs that hold the screws in place.
 
The drill in your pic plugs into one of these which is a 110volt transformer, the transformer plugs into your 240volt supply, 240volt SDS drills are available to buy. SDS drill bits are different to ordinary bits, SDS bit will fit an ordinary drill but not vice versa.
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As a one off rather than buying an SDS drill, try a tool hire place.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
As above, many lintels have rebar internally. Your masonry drill will bounce off the rebar.

Try a different position or else a diamond tipped drill bit.

I have the same issue in our house which had new lintels fitted that have a steel inner.

Alternative is to screw a wooden batten to the wall and attach the curtain rail to the batten.
 
I drill small Diameter first then build up to final requirement, that way the bit can work its way between the obstructions.
Gradually increase bit size if you're drilling metal, don't if you're drilling concrete or masonry or it will jam and you'll struggle to get the bit out.

It's worth running over the lintel with a metal detector so you can avoid steel reinforcement. Or to check that you don't have a steel lintel. :)
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I got a 1500w SDS drill from Aldi a few years back.

It was only about 40 quid.

It’s massive and weighs an absolute ton, but it will put holes in absolutely anything. The Chuck broke after a year or two but it’s a universal one that was easily and cheaply replaced.

 
Hire a Hilti drill and transformer. Hilti will drill anything. The hire shop should be able to sell you the bits you will need, and will offer good advice.
 

4(T)

LE
As @RBMK say, if in doubt, fix a wooded batten to the wall and then attach the curtain poles to that.

If you try to drill holes for pole fixings into something hard, you may well end up with the hole out of position (also happens when you hit the edge of a brick and the bit gets deflected into the mortar joint).

With a batten (I use something wider, say 4"x 1/2") it doesn't matter if the holes are all over the place, so long as there are sufficient to hold it. You can then easy-fix your pole fixings in a nice precise line using wood screws.
 
All concrete lintels have rebar in them. Without it, they would be prone to failing and the walls above your doors and windows could develop enormous cracks in them etc.

hanging a curtain rail shouldn’t be a problem. You should only need to drill in about an inch or maybe an inch and a quarter max.

Use the correct drill size for your screw size with a raw plug.

Make sure the drill is set on hammer.

You will need a transformer with that drill as others have mentioned.

I have several transformers but I expect you are nowhere near Heathrow.
 
The property market is lively at the moments, sell up and buy a Barrat or Persimmon timber framed house. That way you can put the curtain pole up using cocktail sticks to drill the holes.
 
I have several transformers but I expect you are nowhere near Heathrow.
I don’t think he has the drill pictured...something he’s seen on FB marketplace

If that is the case, buying a 240v version is a probably a better option for gneral domestic DIY. A decent hammer drill or hiring is going to get the job done too rather than going down the 110v route.
 

Daz

LE
I got a 1500w SDS drill from Aldi a few years back.

It was only about 40 quid.

It’s massive and weighs an absolute ton, but it will put holes in absolutely anything. The Chuck broke after a year or two but it’s a universal one that was easily and cheaply replaced.

Mine lasted two weeks before dying......mind you, it that time, it did chisel off almost all the plaster/concrete and other shite out of the house ......Not to mention the odd @MrBane moment
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