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Tap Con Screws

Published by Robert Carlisle on Feb 26th 2011

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Tap Con Screws are screws with special threads that allow them to tap threads into concrete.  Tap Con is another name for the original brand name for Tapcon®. Tap Cons are coated with a blue Climaseal® coating. The Tap Con screw is versatile because it can be used in most masonry such as concrete, brick, block or mortar.  
Tap Con Technical Information
Tap Con Purchasing
How to Install Tap Con Video

Tap Con Applications
Tap Con screws can be used for fastening many different items to concrete, brick or block.  They are easy to use and work well in a high percentage of applications due to the wide variety of diameters, lengths, and materials from which they are made.  As long as the Tap Con screw can penetrate the base material a minimum of 1” and the holding values meets the requirements of the specific application, the Tap Con screw can be used.

Length of Tap Con to use
The length of Tap Con to use in any specific application is determined by adding the thickness of the material being fastened to the minimum embedment of 1”.  This will give the minimum length of Tap Con screw that can be used.  For example, a 2x4 is 1-1/2” thick, so the minimum length of tap con to use would be 1-1/2” + 1” = 2-1/2”.  The maximum embedment for all tap con screws is 1-3/4”. Using the 2x4 example mentioned earlier, the maximum length tap con is determined by adding the thickness of the 2x4 of 1-1/2” + 1-3/4” = 3-1/4”.

Diameter of Tap Con to use
The diameter of Tap Con to choose depends on the holding values required, the size of fixture hole, personal preferences, and specifications.  The type of base material, the diameter of tap con being used and the depth of embedment determine the holding value of the tap con concrete screw.  The rule of thumb is the larger the diameter the better the holding values that are likely to be obtained.  Tap cons screws come in two basic diameters of 3/16” and 1/4” and both diameters come in different lengths to accommodate most applications.

Tap Con Screw Hole Diameter
Tap cons screws require a hole to be drilled into the base material that the Tap Con screw will be inserted into.  The hole must be slightly smaller than the designated diameter of the Tap Con screw being installed.  The hole tolerance is critical and must be drilled using a hammer drill and a carbide tipped bit that meets ANSI standards.  The 3/16” diameter tap con requires a 5/32” hole and a 1/4” tap con screw requires a 3/16” hole.

Tap Con Head Style
The Tap Con head style to use is determined by the application that it will be used for.  Tap Con screws come in two different head styles of the hex slotted washer and the flat Phillips countersunk.  The hex head is used in applications where the head will sit on top of the fixture being fastened and the flat head is used in applications where the head of the screw needs to be countersunk into the material being fastened.

Where to Buy Tap Con
Tap con screws can be purchased at most hardware stores, big box stores or on-line at  Smaller quantities of less than 100 pcs should be purchased at the local stores and quantities larger than 100 should be purchased on-line where they are 30% to 50% less expensive.  If the job requires the screws right away, the local store is the best bet. If they are needed within 1 to 4 days anywhere in the United States then purchasing online will save you money and get them to your job site when needed.

Problems with Tap Con Screw
The Tap Con screw is not the answer to 100% of all masonry fastening applications. If the base material is too abrasive then the Tap Con may not be able to meet minimum embedment requirement of 1”.  An abrasive base material may wear down the lead thread to the point where it is no longer able to tap threads.  At this point the Tap Con screw will stop penetrating the base material and, if torque is continued to be applied, the Tap Con screw may shear off.  The depth of the hole is critical and must be drilled a minimum of 1/2” deeper than the Tap Con screw will penetrate.  If this is not done then the dust from the tapping process may fill up the hole enough for the Tap Con screw to bottom out in the hole.  This will leave the head of the screw above the surface of the fixture and continued torquing at this point may shear the tap con in half.

How to Install Tap Cons

  1. Drill hole in base material using a hammer drill and correct diameter ANSI standard carbide bit for the tap con being installed.
  2. Drill hole to a depth of a least 1/2” deeper than the tap con screw will penetrate.
  3. Insert tap con through the fixture and into the predrilled hole in the base material.
  4. Rotate tap con screw clockwise using a drill, wrench or screwdriver until the head of the tap con is tight against the fixture.

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