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Archive for Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fix-It Chick: Installing masonry anchors

November 21, 2013

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Concrete is hard. Anchoring something into concrete is even harder. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that are easy to use.

Step 1: Start with a hammer drill and a percussion masonry bit. Regular masonry bits can be used on soft masonry materials, but for older, hardened materials, a hammer drill will save time and effort.

Step 2: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions whenever possible. Anchors are not created equal and certain ones have nuisances that can only be discovered by perusing the literature that accompanies it.

Step 3: To function properly, masonry anchors and screws require specifically sized pre-drilled holes. Drilling a hole slightly deeper than needed is a good idea if concrete dust from the drilling process cannot be removed from inside the hole. Confirm the correct drill-bit size for proper installation before using any masonry products.

Step 4: Most masonry anchors are held in place by pressure exerted against the walls of the pilot hole. Install anchors near the edge of the concrete or stone a minimum distance five times the diameter of the pilot hole. Space anchors apart from each other a minimum distance 10 times the diameter of the pilot hole.

Step 5: Metal anchors are preferred for most applications, but for small non-load bearing projects, plastic, nail-in or drop-in concrete anchors can be used.

Step 6: Two-piece lag shields or drop-in lead anchors can be used for heavier applications. Long lag shields, used with appropriately sized lag screws, are designed for newer or softer concrete. Shorter lag shields are designed for older, harder concrete.

Step 7: One-piece wedge anchors or sleeve anchors are the best choice for attaching load bearing objects, such as stud walls or support brackets. The variety of choices available makes it easy to find one that will work for most any application.

Step 8: Concrete screws, often referred to as Tap-Con screws, per their original manufacture’s name, are one of the simpler masonry products to use. These hardened, self-tapping blue screws drill directly into the pilot hole for one step installation. Product diameters are extremely specific and vary slightly from manufacture to manufacture. Use drill bits and screws manufactured by the same company to assure optimal gripping strength. Drill the pilot hole at least one half inch deeper than the length of the screw. Use a ratchet or screw driver to drive the screws into place.

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