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Old 05.01.2021, 14:41
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Drilling into the ceiling

I'm looking to drill some holes in the ceiling to mount some curtain rods, then curtains, around my child's bed and have hit a bit of a hard stop.

The ceiling is some kind of plasterboard that seemingly are used for almost all apartments here and underneath this I was hoping to find some decent concrete to drill into so I could get some plastic plugs in there to hold the weight of the curtains. What I found was basically hardened steel so I switched from a hammer drill to a normal one and I just can not get a hole started or completed. I purchased a new drill bit (I think it said titanium - was the most expensive one there?)from the bauhaus and gave it a go and it pretty much just gave the metal a tickle. Low speed did nothing and high speed gave me a glowing tip.

Any advice here? Try another type of drill bit?

Maybe the initial problem statement would help - we want the princess style 4 poster bed setup but only two sides are needed. We have black curtains to hang up around it but right now I'm running out of options as to how to make this happen. I tried mounting poles to the bed itself but that wasn't a success so that's when I thought to just mount curtain rod holders to the roof and put some proper rods up for the curtains.

Ideally it would be awesome to just to screw directly into the steel but that's not happening without a pilot hole.

Any help much appreciated!

Cheers
Matt
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Old 05.01.2021, 14:51
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

it it is steel (it won't be hardened), a normal HSS metal drill bit should drill into it. use a low speed and don't let it get too hot (you can apply some WD40 in place of cutting fluid to keep it cool). if it already got too hot (glowing) it will certainly now be blunt and toast. assuming you are not experienced at sharpening drill bits, better just to start again with a new one.

all that said, maybe you could use the wall each side instead of the ceiling to attach what you need?
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Old 05.01.2021, 14:51
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

First off, you should use a stud finder, available in any DIY shop, to find where there are supports of some sort, rather than randomly drilling.

Second, you really don't want, or need, to be drilling into concrete. Is you are then you really need to invest in a decent SDS Plus drill. Do a search for a long thread or two on those.

But most often there will be wooden beams supporting the ceiling, and this is what you should be looking for. The stud finder should be able to distinguish between wooden beams, concrete and an RSJ (Rolled Steel Joist, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Roof Support Joist).

If you have actually hit solid metal then stop now. No way will you get through that with a domestic drill, nor do you really want to. Use the stud finder to locate a better drilling point.
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Old 05.01.2021, 14:53
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

most stud finders won't work at all in a well built swiss house. they barely work on the crappy US style of build. ones that do are very expensive.

nothing wrong with drilling into concrete. it makes a good base for using normal plugs to secure things well. an SDS drill doesn't need to be expensive. Einhell make cheap ones that are more than good enough for occasional DIY use.

all my ceilings are just plain concrete, no plasterboard, and easy enough to drill into.
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Old 05.01.2021, 14:53
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

Tread carefully. I wouldn't be drilling into something I don't know what it behind it. In particular encased wiring. Do you have the wiring plans? or architecture plans?
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Old 05.01.2021, 16:54
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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it it is steel (it won't be hardened), a normal HSS metal drill bit should drill into it. use a low speed and don't let it get too hot (you can apply some WD40 in place of cutting fluid to keep it cool). if it already got too hot (glowing) it will certainly now be blunt and toast. assuming you are not experienced at sharpening drill bits, better just to start again with a new one.

all that said, maybe you could use the wall each side instead of the ceiling to attach what you need?
Thanks! I'd have to start with a new bit I think like you have suggested if I was to give it a go. I like the WD40 idea!
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Old 05.01.2021, 16:59
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

The stud finder idea would be great for another property but here it's just concrete and metal with no wood to be found. I've got a good idea of the electrical layout but take note of your recommendation. In the end I have maybe 8 holes in total to drill to make it all happen so I think I'll grab a new bit and take the gently softly approach. The holes/screws don't need to be more than 1.5-2cm long and I was really hoping to find self tapping screws to do the job if possible but they don't seem to be a thing in the Bauhaus.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05.01.2021, 17:11
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

It helps to start the drilling with a smaller bit, and also use a punch to help it start without slipping around.

And don't forget to switch to a masonry bit as soon as you break through the metal - once you have a hole, the hammer action and masonry bit will bash it bigger, whereas concrete will destroy your HSS bit very quickly without any useful effect.
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Old 05.01.2021, 17:15
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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The stud finder idea would be great for another property but here it's just concrete and metal with no wood to be found.
Umm, stud finders find METAL not WOOD!

Tom
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:02
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

I was drilling holes around a light socket to install a light fixture. What did I discover?

You guessed it, a cold water pipe! Who would have thought that that would be allowed.

Cost me a few hundred to have the leak fixed and new holes drilled.
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:08
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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I was drilling holes around a light socket to install a light fixture. What did I discover?

You guessed it, a cold water pipe! Who would have thought that that would be allowed.

Cost me a few hundred to have the leak fixed and new holes drilled.
I managed to drill through a cooker circuit, I had installed the wiring 6 months before so thought I knew exactly where it was
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:23
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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I managed to drill through a cooker circuit, I had installed the wiring 6 months before so thought I knew exactly where it was
I thought I knew 1 month after installation. Luckily, I took photos and referred to these before drilling otherwise it would have been an expensive/annoying mistake. It seems our mind plays tricks on us with these things.
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:24
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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I was drilling holes around a light socket to install a light fixture. What did I discover?

You guessed it, a cold water pipe! Who would have thought that that would be allowed.

Cost me a few hundred to have the leak fixed and new holes drilled.
out of interest, how was the leak fixed?
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:37
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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out of interest, how was the leak fixed?
They cut the pipe out of the concrete and spliced in another plastic bit using voodoo and other majic! Re-concreted and drilled new holes 45 degrees offset from what I attempted.

All the while humming “I’m in the money”
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:56
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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Umm, stud finders find METAL not WOOD!
Wrong. They can detect a change from any less dense material to one that is more dense.

They normally have a sensitivity adjustment, so if you set it just below the 'beep' point on, say, plasterboard, then move across a surface with a wooden beam behind it will beep as soon as it gets to the wood. If you have wood planks on a metal frame it will similarly detect when you get to the metal, or in a plaster-on-top-of-concrete wall the position of embedded water pipes or even electrical conduits.

Sounds like a couple of folk here could have done with one...
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Old 05.01.2021, 19:59
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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Wrong. They can detect a change from any less dense material to one that is more dense.
Not the ones I've used. they detect the metal in the nails.

Tom
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Old 06.01.2021, 00:35
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

Or do what I did the other week, and drill into the old underfloor heating pipes of the floor above.


Old building, zero insulation between floors... just a concrete slab.


Luckily it was decommissioned, so only got the leftover water inside the pipes... but was a scary moment!
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Old 06.01.2021, 00:46
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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Not the ones I've used. they detect the metal in the nails.
Well mine's only 30-odd years old, so maybe you just need to get a more modern one?
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Old 07.01.2021, 00:03
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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Not the ones I've used. they detect the metal in the nails.

Tom
I use that one and detects almost everything ... even things I'd rather not want to know like air-pockets in the ceiling
https://www.microspot.ch/de/bhalauma...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

seems like price dropped by half in last few years ...
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Old 07.01.2021, 01:09
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Re: Drilling into the ceiling

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I use that one and detects almost everything ... even things I'd rather not want to know like air-pockets in the ceiling
https://www.microspot.ch/de/bhalauma...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

seems like price dropped by half in last few years ...
chf 500? Wow! My old faithful cost me about twenty quid (naah, no way would I have paid that much, more likely it was around a fiver) way back when, dead simple, no display, it just beeps and flashes when it finds a harder layer as you move it across a surface. A quick search shows that basic simple ones still exist, and I really don't know what all the more complex features give in addition...

EDIT: Something like this should do the job just fine.
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