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How to Prevent Silica Dust when Drilling or Grinding

Ask This Old House mason Mark McCullough tests out different tools that collect silica dust more efficiently


  1. If no dust extraction is available for drilling or grinding, running a water hose onto the surface or holding a vacuum up to the tool will keep dust down.
  2. Use a drill dust attachment by turning the vacuum on and sticking the attachment to the surface. The suction from the vacuum should hold it in place.
  3. Drill in the allotted area through the dust attachment.
  4. In areas where a vacuum can’t be used, use a dust attachment with a built in HEPA filter.
  5. Attach a dust collector drill bit to the vacuum and the dust should go straight through the bit itself.
  6. Use a grinder dust attachment by connecting the attachment to the grinder. The vacuum can be connected to the attachment.

The tools and tool attachments Mark tested, including the drill attachment, the grinder attachment, and the drill bit, are all manufactured by Bosch Tools.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by MJM Masonry Inc.