Trying to drill through steel siding

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I'm trying to drill through the metal siding on our home in order to mount a few things. Someone once mentioned to me that our siding was steel. The house was built in '37. I cannot get through the stuff with a high speed drill bit unless I first use a punch to create a small hole. However, when I wasn't home a day last week, a repair man came to fix some gutters on our house, and my wife said he merely used some kind of screw which he drove right into the siding using his portable drill. What kind of screw would that be that did the job so easily when I've been going daffy trying to get some holes drilled in that siding?
(Really disgusted with myself that it was that easy for him.)
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Maybe a sheet metal screw? :)
Even dry wall screws work, zip right through metal studs.
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 14:50:05 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@invalidated.com wrote:

This is just one of many styles.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-8-x-1-2-in-Stainless-Steel-Self-Drilling-Hex-Washer-Head-Sheet-Metal-Screw-25-Piece-802592/204275074
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 15:25:20 -0500, Gordon Shumway

Don't people usually use some gizmo that fits in the drill and holds the screw until it's most of the way in? I think I have one but I've never used it.
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First, as you know, it helps to start in a dent or dimple. Second, until you penetrate the far side, you have to drill slowly and with lubrication (oil). If you do not see tiny shreds of metal, you are drilling too fast (and will blunt the tool bit.) Once any size hole goes all the way through, any "self- tapping" screw will fasten easily.
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wrote:

A self drilling sheet metal screw. And for steel studs you use special drywall screws.
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snipped-for-privacy@invalidated.com wrote:

Hi, First, high speed is not the one to use, with variable speed drill, start slow, Sheet metal screw will self tap, and some steel roofing screws come with rubber and metal combi. washers with each screw ready to use, better for sealing water, moisture, etc.
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wrote:

That's *exactly* what I suspected! That along with the type of self-drilling screw mentioned by the other poster should do the job.
I'm going to have to go to the hardware place and ask about this - now that I know even what to ask for.
Thanks!
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 15:25:20 -0500, Gordon Shumway

I took a look at the screws he used. Although much smaller than a 1/2", it is the type shown at the URL you posted. It seems I'm getting closer to solving this pain in the butt problem before the rains or snows start.
Thanks!
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wrote:

As other answers have shown me, I think the self tapping screws are the answer along with a few other matters mentioned by other posts.
I do use a variable speed drill.
Thanks for answering.
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use some gizmo that fits in the drill and holds the

I have used a 1/4 inch drive socket and an extension that fits in a drill motor. They make and I have used one that is a socket with a magnet in it and the shaft is fixed to the socket part.
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wrote:

If you mean one of these:
http://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/power-tool-accessories/drive-bits/performax-4-11-16-screw-guide-1-pack/p-1725823-c-10156.htm
The only time I have found them even slightly helpful is when using slotted screws which I avoid like the plague. With any other type of drive; hex, robertson, phillips, torqx or whatever I find them pretty much useless.
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 18:04:05 -0500, Gordon Shumway

This is one of the two kinds I had in mind. I have a couple of these too, from yard sales maybe. Once in a small industrial park, i even found a tool box in the metal drum they were using for a trash can, in back of the building. Not full, but not empty either. Mostly plumbing stuff iirc, but with about 100 female-female co-axial connectors, and co-ax filters
I don't do this for a living, so no one is after me to work quickly, so I just use a centerpunch, drill a hole, and screw in a screw. Little incentive to do it the quick way.

I also have something that looks like a drill chuck and has 3 spring-loaded ball bearings just inside the opening, to hold the shank until the head is driven in past the bearings. I don't think I've ever seen another one of those for sale.
And come to think, I have, for both flat and Phillips, a third style, a screwdriver bit with something a little bit bigger than the screw-on cap of some silicone cement, that's attached with one or more flat springs to let it retract as the screw goes in. It doesn't grip the screw head, but it does surround it and keep the screw straight (perpendicular). I didn't buy these either. An oid man died and his daughter gave me some of his tools.
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I'm guessing your siding is aluminum. Stell would rust. Anything like a coarse-thread drywall screw will go through sheet metal. There's an exterior version. I'm not sure, offhand, what they're called. They look just like drywall screws but have a gray coating on them.
Otherwise, just use a small bit first to start the hole. For the mounting you might prefer stainless steel shet metal screws. If they don't go through without pre-drilling then just start it with a small bit.
| I'm trying to drill through the metal siding on our home in order to | mount a few things. Someone once mentioned to me that our siding was | steel. The house was built in '37. I cannot get through the stuff | with a high speed drill bit unless I first use a punch to create a | small hole. However, when I wasn't home a day last week, a repair man | came to fix some gutters on our house, and my wife said he merely | used some kind of screw which he drove right into the siding using his | portable drill. What kind of screw would that be that did the job so | easily when I've been going daffy trying to get some holes drilled in | that siding? | | (Really disgusted with myself that it was that easy for him.)
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On Sunday, September 28, 2014 5:15:58 PM UTC-7, Mayayana wrote:

Steel is the Cadillac of metal siding and it does not rust. Why would it? It comes with a high quality paint job. My house is rust free with steel siding applied in 1983.
Harry K
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 20:15:58 -0400, "Mayayana"

1937 metal siding is very likely to be coated steel, and a self drilling screw is the best bet by far - and they are "common as dirt", so why fool around with an inferior solution??

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snipped-for-privacy@invalidated.com;3289781 Wrote: >

Hal:
He probably use self drilling screws, but I expect the problem you're having is that you're using dull drill bits.
If you normally only use your drill bits to drill holes in wood, it can be easy to presume they're sharp because they drill easily into wood. But, wood is such a soft material compared to steel that even a fairly dull drill bit will drill easily into wood. When you try using that same drill bit to drill into steel, you find out how dull and useless it really is.
Gamble $3 or $4 and buy a new Cobalt Steel drill bit (which will be brownish in colour) and try using that to drill through your siding. Compare the performance you get with that new bit to your old drill bit of the same size. You should find that the cobalt steel drill bit goes through your siding quite easily.
I'm willing to bet that the root of the problem here is that you're using dull drill bits.
And for Christmas, buy yourself a 20X jeweller's loupe so that you can tell if a drill bit is sharp or dull just by looking at it's cutting edges through that loupe.
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nestork


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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 23:28:07 +0000 (UTC), Red Green

Found them on Amazon.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Things are looking up now. I gotta few more drilling sessions to go. With all this help I think things are going to be a heck of a lot easier.
Thanks.
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:15:39 +0200, nestork

Nope. I bought all new drill bits for this job. And I did start with a smaller bits. No matter what I did, those bits wouldn't hack it without me first punching out a small hole, which did wear out my punch. That stuff has to be steel. Aluminum could not possibly be that hard. Anyway, I'm going to get those self drilling jobbers for the rest of the work I have yet to do.

I've tried titanium bits. Same problem.

Where does one get a few very, very tiny drops of nitro? I'm about ready to try some of that.
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:57:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Steel was quite common even into the 70's. It was galvanized before painting and required special cutters to properly pinch the cuts so it wouldn't rust from the fresh edges. Around here (an old steel area) it was sold as a high end alternative to that cheap aluminum stuff. If you (or your dad or your uncle) worked at the steel mill, you bought into that.
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