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Installing Tapcon Concrete Screws

Published by Robert Carlisle on Jun 30th 2010

Purchase Tapcon Anchors

There are a number of issues that need to be addressed when installing Tapcon® concrete screws. Trying to install Tapcons without consideration of these issues will decrease the chances of a successful fastening process.

Base Materials

Tapcons can be installed in concrete, brick, block and in the mortar joints between the brick and block. The harder the base material, the less embedment is required to attain sufficient holding values. The minimum embedment for a Tapcon® concrete screw is 1” and the maximum embedment is 1-3/4”. The holding values of the screw is dependent on the quality of the base material. In applications where the screw is being installed into the mortar joint, the holding values are dependent on the quality and quantity of the mortar in the joint.

Diameter of Hole

Hole diameter is critical when installing Tapcons. The tolerance between the hole diameter and the diameter of the Tapcon® screw being used is very tight and any variations will effect the holding values. Each diameter of concrete screw has a specific diameter carbide drill bit that must be used for installation. The 3/16” diameter screw requires a 5/32” hole and the 1/4” requires a 3/16” hole. The hole must be drilled using a hammer drill with a carbide tipped bit meeting ANSI standards. A bit that meets ANSI standards will insure that the hole diameter will meet the requirements of the Tapcon®.

Depth of Hole

The depth of the hole that a Tapcon® concrete screw will be installed into is critical. The hole must be drilled 1/4” deeper than the screw will penetrate. This extra space at the bottom of the hole allows for an area for the dust created during the tapping process to fall without impacting installation. If enough space is not created during the drilling process, the space may fill up with dust. The concrete screw taps threads into the base material and the screw could bottom out and prevent full installation. This situation may also lead the concrete screw to become bound in the hole and unable to be removed or inserted deeper.

Length of Tapcon® Concrete Screw

The overall length of the Tapcon® concrete screw chosen for any particular application is very important. Different length concrete screws are used depending on the thickness of the material being fastened. The screws require a minimum of 1” embedment and a maximum embedment into the base material of 1-3/4”. To determine the minimum length of concrete screw required for any job, add the thickness of the material being fastened plus 1”. The maximum length that can be used is determined by adding the thickness of the material plus 1-3/4”. Any length that falls between the numbers obtained should work in the application.

Measurement of Tapcon® Concrete Screw Lengths

Flat head Tapcon® concrete screws are measured as an overall length since they are countersunk, which means that the whole length of the screw will be countersunk in the fixture and embedded into the base material. Hex headed Tapcons are measured from under the head, because the head will remain outside the fixture being fastened.

Head Styles

Tapcons come in two different head styles that are designed for different types of applications. The full description of the flat-headed screw is a flat countersunk Phillips drive. The 3/16” diameter flat head requires a #2 Phillips driver and the 1/4” diameter flat head requires a #3 Phillips driver. The hex head is a hex washer slotted head that is driven in by using a nut driver. The nut driver for the 3/16”diameter Tapcon™ concrete screw needs to be 1/4”. For the 1/4” diameter concrete screw, it needs to be 5/16”.

Standard vs. Stainless Steel Concrete Screws

The standard blue Tapcon® is suitable for use in indoor applications where moisture is not present. Standard blue Tapcons are coated with a blue Climaseal® coating that provides good rust resistant. The stainless steel screw is made from a 410 stainless steel and is coated with a silver Climaseal® designed for applications where added rust resistant is required.

Tapcon® Concrete Screw Installation Steps

1. Using a hammer drill and a carbide tipped masonry bit meeting ANSI standards, drill a hole the correct diameter required for the diameter of screw being installed. Make sure that the depth of the hole will be a minimum of 1/2” deeper than the Tapcon® concrete screw will penetrate.

2. With a wire brush, compressed air or vacuum clean out the hole of all dust created during the drilling process.

3. Align the hole in the fixture over the hole in the base material.

4. Insert the concrete screw through hole in the fixture and into the hole in the base material.

5. Using a wrench or drill, rotate the screw until the head of the concrete screw is tight against the surface of the fixture. Make sure that the screw is not over-torqued as this may strip the threads in the base material and cause it to spin in the hole.

if you still have any questions about Tapcons, take a look at these Tapcon® FAQs.

Purchase Tapcon Anchors

There are a number of issues that need to be addressed when installing Tapcon® concrete screws. Trying to install Tapcons without consideration of these issues will decrease the chances of a successful fastening process.