Cutting a circular hole into concrete may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, techniques, and safety measures, it can be accomplished efficiently and accurately. Whether you’re installing a new plumbing system, electrical conduit, or simply need to create a vent, this guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of cutting a circular hole into concrete.

Understanding the Basics

Concrete cutting is not as easy as it sounds. Concrete is a tough material that requires specialised tools to cut through effectively. Circular holes in concrete are often needed for pipes, ducts, or other installations. The key to success lies in proper preparation, selecting the right tools, and following safety protocols.

Tools and Materials Needed

1. Core Drill

A core drill is the most effective tool for cutting circular holes in concrete. It is specifically designed for this purpose and uses diamond-tipped core bits to cut through concrete smoothly and precisely.

2. Diamond Core Bit

Diamond core bits are essential for cutting through concrete. They come in various sizes to match the diameter of the hole you need. Ensure you select a high-quality diamond core bit suitable for the hardness of the concrete you are working with.

3. Power Source

Core drills can be powered by electricity, hydraulics, or air compressors. Ensure you have a reliable power source that matches the requirements of your core drill.

4. Water Supply

Wet cutting is preferred for drilling into concrete as it reduces dust and helps keep the drill bit cool. You will need a water supply system to provide a steady flow of water to the drilling area.

5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Safety is paramount when cutting concrete. Ensure you have the following PPE:

  • Safety goggles or glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Respiratory protection (dust mask or respirator)
  • Gloves
  • Steel-toed boots
  • High-visibility clothing

6. Marking Tools

Accurate marking is crucial for precision. Use a measuring tape, chalk, and a compass or circular template to mark the centre and circumference of the hole.

7. Vacuum or Dust Collection System

To manage the dust generated during dry cutting, use a vacuum or dust collection system.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting a Circular Hole

1. Preparation

Site Preparation

  • Clear the area of any obstructions and ensure there is adequate ventilation if you’re working indoors.
  • Set up your work area, ensuring you have enough space to manoeuvre the core drill and other equipment.

Safety Checks

  • Inspect your core drill and core bit for any signs of wear or damage. Replace any defective parts before proceeding.
  • Ensure your water supply system is functioning correctly if you are performing wet cutting.

2. Marking the Hole

Measure and Mark

  • Measure the diameter of the hole you need to cut.
  • Use a measuring tape to find the centre of the hole on the concrete surface.
  • Use a compass or circular template to draw the circumference of the hole.

Double-Check Measurements

  • Verify your measurements and markings to ensure accuracy. A mistake at this stage can lead to an improperly placed hole, requiring additional work to correct.

3. Setting Up the Core Drill


  • Position the core drill over the marked centre of the hole.
  • Ensure the drill is stable and perpendicular to the surface to avoid angled cuts.

Attaching the Core Bit

  • Attach the diamond core bit to the drill securely. Double-check that it is fastened correctly to prevent any accidents during drilling.

4. Drilling the Hole

Starting the Drill

  • Start the drill at a low speed to create a small groove that will guide the core bit.
  • Gradually increase the speed and pressure as the bit begins to cut into the concrete.

Applying Water

  • If you’re using a wet core drill, start the water flow to cool the bit and reduce dust. Ensure a steady stream of water is directed at the drilling area.

Drilling Process

  • Maintain a steady pressure on the drill without forcing it. Let the core bit do the work.
  • Periodically pull the drill out slightly to clear debris and allow water to cool the bit.
  • Continue drilling until you have cut through the entire depth of the concrete.

5. Finishing the Cut

Removing the Core

  • Once the core drill has cut through the concrete, carefully remove the drill and core bit from the hole.
  • Use a chisel and hammer, if necessary, to break free and remove the core plug from the hole.

Cleaning the Hole

  • Clean the edges of the hole to remove any rough spots or debris.
  • Use a vacuum or dust collection system to clear any remaining dust and debris from the work area.

6. Inspecting and Finalising

Inspect the Hole

  • Inspect the hole to ensure it is the correct size and shape.
  • Check for any rough edges or imperfections that may need smoothing out.

Final Adjustments

  • If needed, use a grinder or file to smooth the edges of the hole.
  • Clean the area thoroughly to remove any remaining debris and dust.

Tips for Success

Choose the Right Core Bit

  • Select a diamond core bit appropriate for the hardness of your concrete.
  • Ensure the bit diameter matches the size of the hole you need.

Keep the Drill Steady

  • Use a drill stand or guide to keep the core drill steady and perpendicular to the surface.
  • Avoid applying excessive force, which can damage the drill bit or cause uneven cuts.

Manage Dust and Debris

  • Use wet cutting whenever possible to minimise dust.
  • If dry cutting, use a vacuum or dust collection system to capture dust at the source.

Regular Maintenance

  • Keep your core drill and bits in good condition through regular maintenance.
  • Replace worn or damaged parts promptly to ensure efficient and safe operation.

Safety First

  • Always wear the appropriate PPE to protect yourself from dust, noise, and flying debris.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for operating the core drill and handling the core bits.

Final Thoughts

Cutting a circular hole into concrete requires careful planning, the right tools, and strict adherence to safety protocols. By following this step-by-step guide, you can achieve precise and clean cuts while ensuring your safety and the integrity of the concrete structure. 

Whether you’re a professional contractor or a DIY enthusiast, mastering the techniques of concrete cutting will enhance your skills and the quality of your projects.

For those seeking professional, reliable, and precise concrete cutting services, consider Megasaw. With a team of experienced professionals and a fleet of state-of-the-art equipment, Megsaw is prepared to handle all your concrete cutting needs, ensuring quality and precision with every cut. 

Please call us today on 1300 920 419 or leave an enquiry.