Do-It-Yourself Articles

How to Fasten Furring Strips to Concrete, Brick or Block

Renovating a home or building an addition to an existing structure can cause stress and headaches for many people. The cost of hiring a builder or contractor for this type of work can be more than most growing families can afford. Many people are not aware that numerous home improvement projects are possible to complete on their own without expert experience, rather than having to hire a contracting professional. One major aspect of renovating or adding space to one's home is the need or desire to cover brick, concrete, or block walls. This will improve the look and feel of the space as well as prepare it for further decorating and intended uses.

One of the most common spaces perfect for a renovation project is the basement- one can increase living space without the inconvenience of having to add on to the home. Basements are made out of solid concrete, cinder block or brick, and, thus, require a fastener designed specifically for attaching to these materials. It is important to use a concrete anchor that will provide the strongest and most secure hold to ensure safety and proper installation. With the correct preparation, furring strips or 2x4s can be easily attached to concrete, brick, or block. After this is completed, the next steps in the renovation process can take place.

Before You Get Started

Helpful Hint:
Be sure to always check your local building codes to determine correct spacing.

Furring strips are long, thin strips of metal or wood that create a support system for a finished surface in a room. Furring strips are typically 1" x 2" or 1" x 3". They can be anchored to brick, block, or concrete either horizontally or vertically. In most applications, vertical anchoring is easier. The spacing between the strips depends on the type of finishing material to be used. Wider spacing should be used for heavy boards that support ceramic tiles while closer spacing is required for thinner, lighter material such as paneling.

The furring strip is placed vertically against an existing wall surface to which the new, finishing material will be attached. If enough space is needed for insulation and electrical boxes, 2x4s can also be used in the same capacity. If you install 2x4s rather than furring strips, you will need:

  • One 2x4 as the bottom sole plate
  • Two 2x4s as the double top plate
  • Vertical 2x4s placed every 16" or 24" on center

Next, choose the type of concrete fastener to use for the application. There are a variety of anchors available but the following two are ideal in this specific situation.

Tech Tip:
To prevent the wood material from splitting, remember to stagger the anchors - do not put them in a straight line down the furring strip or 2x4 studs.

One of the anchors suitable for this usage is the sleeve anchor, which has strong holding values in brick and block as well as concrete. These concrete fasteners come with a flat, countersunk head that will create a smooth surface to attach to.

Tapcon® Concrete Screws are probably the most commonly used type of cement fastener for this application. Tapcons® can also be used in concrete, brick and block. The flat, countersunk head of a Tapcon® screw provides a smooth surface in the wood to which you can attach your finishing material. Tapcon® Screws are available in two diameters - 3/16" and 1/4".

It is important to consider what base material the furring strip or 2x4 will be attached to before installation. Both Tapcons® and sleeve anchors will work in concrete, brick or block. Keep in mind that these fasteners can be anchored into the mortar joint so spacing will not pose a problem. However, the holding values of an anchor placed in a mortar joint are directly dependent upon the quantity and quality of the mortar itself (which will vary in every situation).

Step by Step Instructions

Concrete Sleeve Anchors can be installed in five simple steps. Basic instructions follow:

  • Line up the furring strips or 2x4s in the desired position to determine where the holes should be drilled. Do not drill all holes in a straight line, make sure the anchors are staggered.
  • Using a hammer drill, drill your holes using a carbide-tipped masonry bit. The holes should be the same diameter as the sleeve anchor.
  • Clear the holes of all debris using compressed air, a shop-vac or wire brush.
  • Insert the sleeve fasteners into the holes and make sure they are secure and positioned correctly.
  • Carefully position the furring strips or 2x4s in the exact, desired position. Tighten all the nuts to ensure the stud is secure.
  • You are now ready to attach the material to these furring strips using the correct screws/tools as stated by a walling expert.

For more detailed information, please take a look at this Sleeve Anchor Installation Video.

Tech Tip:
1/4" dia. Tapcons use a 3/16" bit and 3/16" dia. Tapcons use a 5/32" bit.

The installation of a Tapcon® Concrete Screw is also straightforward. Basic instructions follow:

  • Determine the desired position of the furring strips or 2x4s before drilling any holes. Make exact measurements to ensure secure wall covering.
  • Using a hammer drill, drill holes using the correct diameter carbide-tipped masonry bit for the concrete screw diameter in use.
  • Clear the holes of all debris.
  • Drive the screws into the holes with a standard drill, and continue until all studs are firmly in place.
  • Next steps would be to attach the material to these strips using the correct screws/tools as stated by a walling expert.

For more detailed information, please take a look at this Concrete Screw Anchor Installation Video.



 

As with any anchoring project, it is important to keep safety in mind and follow instructions carefully. Always remember to wear safety goggles, handle all tools with extra care and follow all technical specifications. This article is meant to serve only as a basic explanation of concrete fasteners. Always refer to manufacturer's instructions or consult a contracting expert during any anchoring project.

Article Written By:
Mike Pistorino, Vice-President Operations

 

 

 

 


Concrete Fasteners, Inc. has over 40 years of experience selling concrete fasteners. We can ship out one box or a whole pallet of concrete anchors. Our products are of the highest quality... "your satisfaction is guaranteed". We ship all orders the same day the order is received.