When renovating or repairing damage to a home, you could come across rivets that will require removal. For example, a sill plate may be secured to a concrete slab with rivets, and if you need to remove the sill plate, you will have to remove the rivets first. You will not use a rivet gun to remove the rivets as you would during the installation process because the removal process is more involved than the initial installation process.
Grind the top of the rivet flat with an angle grinder. The surfaces of most rivets are domed making it very hard to drill through the rivets with the tops left intact. If you do not have an angle grinder, you can use a file to file off the top of the rivet.
Place the tip of an awl punch in the center of the rivet shaft and then strike downward on the awl punch with a hammer. This leaves an indentation in the metal shaft of the rivet. This prevents the drill from moving while you drill.
Select a drill bit that measures slightly less than the diameter of the rivet and secure it to an electric drill.
Place the tip of the drill into the divot created by the awl punch and then drill down through the full length of the rivet. Hold the drill bit perpendicular to the surface you are drilling at all times.
Pull any remaining pieces of the rivet out of the hole with needle nose pliers.