All Replies on Concrete floor & walls... defying me

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View Nate Finch's profile

Concrete floor & walls... defying me

by Nate Finch
posted 04-08-2013 01:51 PM

27 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2034 days

#1 posted 04-08-2013 01:57 PM

Are you using a hammer drill with the bits? That’s the way to go. You could also try a ramset (I think that’s what they’re called). It uses a little .22 cartridge to shoot a nail into the cement. They come in different sizes for different applications and they’re usually at the end of one of the hardware aisles at Lowes/Home depot.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 04-08-2013 02:02 PM

I’ve had the same problem and think a ramset is the way to go. You can rent the tool. I also used construction adhesive under the plates, but that might be an overkill.

-- Joe

View Cgwendling's profile


12 posts in 2437 days

#3 posted 04-08-2013 02:10 PM

Questions. Are you using a hammer drill or a rotary hammer? Are you using Tapcon or similiar concrete screws with a bit smaller than 1/4”?

If you are using a regular drill you will have a tough go of it and will burn up alot of bits.
I’ve been drilling holes in concrete for the better part of three decades and have found that a hammer drill is not much good for any hole much over 3/16”. Use compressed air to keep the hole cleaned out while drilling. A rotary hammer is the correct tool for the job but they tend to break bits smaller than 3/16”.

As others have said the ramset system is a good fit for your application.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2846 days

#4 posted 04-08-2013 02:18 PM

Another approach: As Joe suggested, construction adhesive.

Lay out the top and bottom plate together and attach the bottom plate with goo. Give it a day or too ( : ))

Attach the top plate to the ceiling and custom cut your studs, a sixteenth over and whack ‘em in. Toescrew them in place and you’re there.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Airspeed's profile


445 posts in 1898 days

#5 posted 04-08-2013 02:38 PM

My basement is in the same configuration, it’s set into a hill and I’m surrounded by three walls of concrete. It’s nice in the summer because it stays cool but it also stays cool in the winter! I’ve been considering doing the same but I’ve been considering it for 20 years! I think you would be fine glueing the bottom plate, your not changing the structure at all so you don’t need to worry about it failing and your building collapsing. I would do as suggested, glue the plate down, cut the studs a little long and beat them in, it will never move. Concrete gets harder with age (I know there’s a joke in there somewhere but I’m new here and don’t want to push it!) it never stops curing.


View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#6 posted 04-08-2013 02:43 PM

In the contracting business we use either a ram set or a roto-hammer and anchors .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bondogaposis's profile


4725 posts in 2347 days

#7 posted 04-08-2013 02:44 PM

Great advice here and another option it to use a ramset. I have one like this, It uses .22 cal blanks to shoot nails into concrete. It has worked well for in my basement finishing project, shooting the floor plate down.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Julian's profile


1328 posts in 2686 days

#8 posted 04-08-2013 03:01 PM

A rotary hammer and GOOD concrete drill bits should work. Some concrete drill bits are just not very good. Speed a couple extra dollars and get good concreter drill bits. The rotary hammer will also make this job much easier. Most HomeDepots rent rotary hammer drills and ramsets.

-- Julian

View chrisstef's profile


17381 posts in 3002 days

#9 posted 04-08-2013 03:06 PM

Rent a Hilti brand hammer drill if you can or like said above, shoot those puppies in to the slab, or liquid nails them down. Just make sure the wife knows that youre shooting nails when the sound of that .22 goes off if in fact that is the route you choose.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2282 days

#10 posted 04-08-2013 03:22 PM

A friend of mine bought some 3” polyisocyanurate (I think that’s spelled wrong) ... rigid foam insulation NOT the styrofoam type. He stuck it to the wall with adhesive…. and not a lot of it… then built his shelves and stuff in front of it. The shelves sit on the floor and are secured at the ceiling so they aren’t “tippy”. In one area he has a bench with upper cabinets. He built it as a unit and slid it against the wall. It has a 3’4” plywood back. Cabinets secured to that and then once it was in place he also screwed those to a stringer on the ceiling. If you’re creative, you don’t necessarily HAVE to bolt stuff to concrete. :)

View Mainiac Matt 's profile (online now)

Mainiac Matt

8036 posts in 2324 days

#11 posted 04-08-2013 03:56 PM

Is there a better way to do this than the concrete bit / concrete screw sets you get at home depot etc?

Yes there is ….

you need one of these….

mount 2×3s to the wall ON THE FLAT, using these

and these

Do yourself a favor and don’t fool around with cartridges lighter than the #4 ‘yellow’ power.

Buy “1-3/8 foil faced iso board 4’x8’ panels, then rip them right down the middle and put the full 24” between the 2×3 nailers. Iso board gives you ~R7 for every inch. so you’ll have R-9 (not including the inner surface). And the 1/8” void with the foil face gives you the extra benefit of reflecting radiant heat back into the room.

Use PL 300 adhesive with a big fat bead in an ’s’ pattern on the back of the foam.

Then buy tongue and v-groove boards for an inner cladding.

This way, you can mount a hook, shelf, or whatever you want…. wherever you want. And you don’t require a second set of hands to put it up…. and best of all…. no mudding sheet rock!!! (I hate mudding sheet rock)

Surface mount your electrical outlets in conduit…. and then you can always change or expand them.

That’s how I did my basement shop and I LOVE it.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View JoeinGa's profile (online now)


7736 posts in 2003 days

#12 posted 04-08-2013 04:07 PM

There is different grades of concrete. And yes, the previous owner may hve been thinging “Bomb Shelter” when he poured the walls.

So how come I’m the first one to suggest this?

Step 1. Drill a small hole (you’ve got this already)
Step 2. Figger out just HOW MUCH you need.

Step 3. BOOM!

If I may be of further assistance,
My card, Sir :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

#13 posted 04-08-2013 05:40 PM

A Hilti will drill through anything.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2373 days

#14 posted 04-08-2013 06:10 PM

Not sure how you are constructing your walls but…
IMHO the best way would be to use the rigid foam as ssnvet suggests on the whole wall. Tape the seams and then put a 2×3 wall in front of it, no need to attach to the concrete wall. Glue the bottom plate down with the appropriate PL construction adhesive if you cant screw/nail it down and screw the top plate to ceiling. Then cut studs to fit (just a hair long so they are snug but not too long so they bow. Then cover with plywood and paint white.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2839 days

#15 posted 04-09-2013 02:26 AM

If you use a Ramset or any other powder-charged fastener wear eye protection and thick clothing. If you do have some well cured high strength concrete using Tapcon screws would be easier and more of a sure thing IMO. If you are using a hammer drill make sure it’s in hammer mode and isn’t in reverse. Also check if you are hitting re-bar in the concrete. -Jack

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2560 days

#16 posted 04-09-2013 02:51 AM

+ i dont know how many it is for the ramset

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View kdc68's profile


2657 posts in 2273 days

#17 posted 04-09-2013 03:25 AM

+1 for joein10asee ???
+1 for ssnvet for instant r value and ramset
+1 for OnlyJustMe...for PL construction adhesive

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View runswithscissors's profile


2751 posts in 2021 days

#18 posted 04-09-2013 06:33 AM

I tried gluing furring strips to my basement walls, but they had been whitewashed (or something) and the coating would slough off. I also tried a ramset, and the nails just curled over. Also tried a pneumatic T-nail driver, and the nails did the same thing. The concrete is 60 years old, and that may have something to do with it. So I used a rotary hammer and screws. But when you get down to 3/16 drills, they don’t hold up so well. The carbide tends to break off, at which point they’re useless.

I have more of that work to do, and will drill 1/4” or 5/1” holes and use the “split” nails (don’t know the official name). They work pretty well.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Nate Finch's profile

Nate Finch

29 posts in 2921 days

#19 posted 04-11-2013 12:39 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Sorry j haven’t responded sooner, I came down with some super nasty virus that took out my whole family for days. I was using a regular drill.. That may be the problem. I’ll try some of the other suggestions here and get back to you. Thanks!

-- Nate, Harvard, MA

View Mainiac Matt 's profile (online now)

Mainiac Matt

8036 posts in 2324 days

#20 posted 04-11-2013 12:50 AM

I was using a regular drill..

that no worky…

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2373 days

#21 posted 04-11-2013 12:52 AM

If you hit the back of the drill with a hammer while drilling it might work. lol

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Nate Finch's profile

Nate Finch

29 posts in 2921 days

#22 posted 04-11-2013 02:44 AM

Haha… I do have a $100 gift card to Home Depot I’ve been hanging onto… maybe I know what I’ll use it on – a hammerdrill. Really surprised the packaging on the concrete bits didn’t say anything about that… you’d think they’d want you to understand how their product is supposed to be used, instead of just thinking it’s a POS.

-- Nate, Harvard, MA

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2671 days

#23 posted 04-11-2013 03:17 AM

Been there done that. Burned up bits faster than I could buy them. A hammer drill was the answer for me. I have had nails blow concrete out leaving a crater. I had good luck with the hammer drill and tap-con screws. I went to rent a drill motor and they didn’t have one. They did have a cheap import that was as cheap as the rental on the good one. He finally talked me into buying it. I figured if I could do that job and one more it was worth it. I have done several small jobs with it and it is still going. I don’t make a living with it. I only drill small holes with it. I have a $30 investment.

BTW concrete is cured in 20 years I believe. At least it is way past 99% cured in that time. I had a friend at work that would challenge you on these things then tell you to get his little brown book off the bookshelf and look it up. He new that little book front to back.

View Marty5965's profile


158 posts in 1941 days

#24 posted 04-17-2013 09:58 AM

Check that your bits are rated for hammer mode, some aren’t.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2293 days

#25 posted 04-17-2013 01:31 PM

Has anyone said Ramset yet? WEAR EAR PROTECTION! Imagine a 22 going off two or three feet away from your ear dozens of times….

View jimmyb's profile


185 posts in 1888 days

#26 posted 04-17-2013 01:33 PM

Another vote for Ramset

-- Jim, Tinley Park, IL

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2433 days

#27 posted 04-17-2013 02:00 PM

If I were doing your project I’d go roto-hammer with a 1/4” bit. A couple of bits should see you through the job. Use these drive pins=

to nail your furring strips down.

-- Visualize whirled peas

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