Concrete Coring: What it Means for You & Your Home

Posted on: 6 July 2016

The installation of new or additional plumbing lines in a pre-existing basement often requires concrete coring to be performed. However, many homeowners fail to understand just what this term entails. If your contractor has recently mentioned that your basement's foundation might need to be cored, read on. This article will answer four common questions about the technique known as concrete coring.

What is concrete coring?

At its simplest, concrete coring is the technique of drilling a hole through the wall of your basement's foundation. Such holes are often required for the installation of new plumbing or electrical lines. The size of the hole drilled will vary depending on the particular need. As you can imagine, this process is complicated by the thickness of a foundation's walls, as well as by the fact that they are often abutted on their opposite side by densely packed soil.

How is concrete coring accomplished?

The principal tool used in concrete coring is a drill, one made especially for heavy-duty industrial applications. Attached to the end of this drill is a hollow steel bit. The size of this bit varies according to the desired width of the hole. Concrete coring can create holes with an amazingly wide range of diameters—from as little as a fraction of an inch to as much as 72 inches. That said, the holes involved in residential coring seldom exceed a foot or so in diameter.

In order to facilitate the speed of drilling, as well as to reduce the amount of machine wear, diamond tipped bits are used in concrete coring. Such bits greatly prolong the lifespan the bit, while allowing for more precision in the resulting cuts. Because concrete coring generates an intense amount of heat, water is generally applied during the course of the cut. This helps to cool the bit and protect it against unwanted distortion caused by high temperature.

Does concrete coring decrease a foundation's strength?

Given the intensive nature of concrete coring, it is reasonable to be concerned about its effect on a foundation's structural stability. Fortunately, there is little to worry about where this is concerned. The width of the holes commonly produced in residential applications are small enough that they do not adversely affect the wall's strength. Furthermore, those holes will not be left vacant for long. Any slight reduction of stability will be compensated once the pipe or fitting has been installed.