How To Remove a Hammer Drill Bit Stuck in Concrete
Let me guess, your drill bit is stuck on concrete? This might feel like the end of the world, but I’ll show you exactly what you need to do to get that bit out of there. Follow these tips and tricks to reclaim your bit and get back to drilling out your concrete.
First, did the bit break in the hole, or is it still attached to your tool and just stuck?
Related: How Long Does a Masonry Drill Bit Last?
Getting a Broken Bit Out of Concrete
In the event that your bit is broken in the hole, the extraction can be a little more reckless.
Step 1 – Blow
First up, grab some canned air and blow out the hole. This will help get some of the dust out of the way. Remember, the dust is one of the culprits of why your bit is in there anyway.
Try to use canned air that has a long thin nozzle that you can use. This will allow you to get into the hole better and blow out anything that’s holding up the bit.
Step 2 – Grab
Next, grab your handy vice grip. You might be able to get away with Channellocks depending on how small the bit is and how stuck it is. Grab the bit as close as possible to the surface of the concrete. Pull and turn the bit counterclockwise.
The counterclockwise rotation will help to “unscrew” the bit out of the concrete. Work slowly and make sure you’re pulling with a lot of strength. As necessary, blow canned air into the hole to help free everything up.
Now, if you’re scratching your head because you can’t grab the bit since it broke under the surface, don’t worry. You have two backup plans here.
If you can grab the bit with needlenose pliers, give that a whirl. Same story here, you’ll want to pull slowly and with some force while turning the bit counterclockwise. Imagine you’re playing that old-school game Operation.
The other backup plan is to fight fire with fire. Drill a larger hole until you reach the stuck bit. Now you’ll have more room to work and navigate the bit out using one of the previous methods.
Step 3 – Celebrate
You retrieved your bit! You deserve a beer.
Getting a Stuck Bit Out of Concrete
If the bit is still attached to your drill, then you’ll have to use some finesse to get it out before getting reckless.
Step 1 – Reverse It
The first thing you can try is working the bit free. Throw the drill in reverse, turn off the hammer function, and see if you have any luck.
You might have to do a few “forward-reverse” cycles on the drill to loosen the bit. As you’re reversing you should be pulling the drill to give a little boost. When you feel the drill start to bog down, go forward with the bit a little then go back to reverse and repeat.
Step 2 – Remove the Drill
If this doesn’t work, let’s get the drill out of the way. Remove the (stuck) bit from the drill and now you’ll have an exposed bit that you can work with.
Grab a vice grip, sturdy pliers, or Channellocks. Grab the bit and pull it with force while slowly turning it counterclockwise.
Don’t be afraid to really crank on the bit. It might damage or ruin the bit, but the main goal here is to clear the hole.
Why is the Bit Stuck?
This question might not mean a lot to you, but it’s worth understanding what happened. If you didn’t back out the bit and blow out the dust, that could be a cause. If there’s too much dust, it will capture the bit and be too hard to back out your bit.
Also, you might have hit some rebar depending on what concrete you’re drilling out. In this case, your bit tip will drive into the rebar and lodge itself.
Tip to Avoid Getting Stuck in the Future
Now that your bit is free, it’s worth understanding some quick tips to avoid running into this same situation in the future.
While you’re drilling, keep your attention on the resistance. You should feel a constant resistance the whole time you’re hammering. If the resistance suddenly gets way too tough, then back out your bit and blow the dust out of the hole. Check to see if there’s an obstacle like wire or metal.