Tips and Tricks Sleeve Anchor

Installing Sleeve Anchors: Step-by-Step Installation Instructions

Purchase Sleeve Anchors

Adding a deck to your house is a great way to increase your enjoyment of your home as well as the value of your home. Creating an outdoor space for relaxation, alfresco dining, and entertaining friends is a wonderful addition to your home.

Building a deck is something an experienced DIYer can undertake, and even novice DIYers can find success with expert instruction or collaboration.

When building a deck, a header board is bolted to the exterior of the house. This piece of wood provides structural support to the deck by using the house itself. The joists of a deck will eventually connect to this header, so it’s imperative that it is securely fastened to your house. For this application, sleeve anchors are sometimes used. Local codes and engineering must be taken into consideration before choosing this or any other masonry fastener.

Sleeve Anchors

Sleeve anchors are the most versatile masonry expansion anchors because they can be used in a variety of base materials, including concrete, brick, and block. They are available in a wide variety of diameters, lengths, and head styles. The available head styles are acorn, hex nut, flat, countersunk, and round head.

These anchors are available in stainless steel for outdoor, wet environments, and zinc plated for indoor, dry environments. They come preassembled, so they are ready for immediate installation. Sleeve anchors are great for light to heavy duty fastening.

Installing a Sleeve Anchor

1. Gather tools and materials

  • A hammer drill must be used to install an anchor. A hammer drill breaks up the base material with the hammer motion and the rotation pulls the material out of the hole to create a hole that meets the tolerance needed.
  • Using a straight rotation drill will create a hole that is not suitable for proper installation of an anchor.
  • Set the hammer drill in the hammer and rotation mode.
  • Use a carbide tipped bit that meets ANSI Standards. Using an ANSI standard bit creates a hole with the proper hole tolerance.
  • Hole tolerance is critical when installing anchors; not using a bit that meets ANSI standards will compromise the holding values of the anchor.

2. Plan the hole

  • Sleeve anchors require a hole that is the same diameter as the anchor being installed. For example, a 3/8” anchor requires a 3/8” hole to be drilled.
  • The depth of the hole that is drilled into the base material must be a minimum of 1/2” deeper than the anchor will penetrate.
  • Each diameter of the anchor has a minimum embedment depth in order to ensure minimum holding values (see chart below). Embedments deeper than minimum embedment depths may increase holding values.

Diameter of Sleeve Anchor

Minimum Embedment

1/4” 1-1/8”
5/16” 1-7/16”
3/8” 1-1/2”
1/2” 2-1/4”
5/8” 2-3/4”
3/4” 3-3/8”


  • The lengths of the anchors are measured from underneath the nut and washer. They are designed to be installed through the fixture and directly into the base material.
  • The minimum length of sleeve anchor to use for any particular application is determined by adding the thickness of the material to be fastened to the minimum embedment for the diameter of the anchor being installed.
  • Installing the anchor deeper than the minimum embedment could increase the holding values obtained.
  • It is very important to make sure that the hole in the item being attached is slightly larger than the diameter of the anchor being installed.
  • Below is a chart showing the minimum diameter of the hole required in the fixture for each diameter of the anchors.

Diameter of Sleeve Anchor

Minimum Fixture Hole Diameter

1/4” 5/16”
5/16” 3/8”
3/8” 7/16”
1/2” 9/16”
5/8” 3/4”
3/4” 5/8”


3. Ensure the depth

  • There are two methods to ensure that the proper depth of the hole will be drilled for the anchor.
  • Most hammer drills have a depth gauge that is designed to ensure proper hole depth. Use this to achieve proper hole depth.
  • If the hammer drill being used does not have a depth gauge, wrap a piece of tape around the bit at the proper depth.
  • It is important when using either of these methods that the bit is in the retracted position—that the bit is in the most inward position in the chuck.

4. Drill the hole

  • Use a hammer drill to create a hole that is the right diameter and depth.

5. Clean the hole

  • Cleaning the hole is critical. It ensures a proper installation of the anchor, so the anchor can obtain minimum holding values.
  • A wire brush used with a vacuum or compressed air will ensure that the hole is clean of all dust and debris.
  • Use a wire brush the same diameter as the hole. Insert the brush into the hole, and use a turning and up and down motion.
  • Use a vacuum to remove all dust and debris. Repeat this step to help create a hole that is clean and ready for the installation of the anchor.
  • Compressed air can be used to remove the dust and cleans the hole sufficiently, although it will create a lot of dust in the air.

6. Install the sleeve anchor

  • These anchors are completely assembled—the nut and washer are also preassembled.
  • Hold the anchor and position the nut so that it is even with the top of the anchor’s threads. This ensures that the threads are not damaged during installation.
  • Hold the nutted end of the anchor and insert the anchor body through the hole in the item being fastened and into the predrilled hole in the base material.
  • Use a hammer to tap the anchor until the nut and washer are flush with the surface.
  • Tighten the nut with your hands by turning the nut or head clockwise.
  • Complete the expansion of the anchor by using a wrench for the hex or acorn and a slotted or phillps drive screwdriver for the round or flat head anchor.
  • Turn clockwise three to five turns, or until the specified installation torque is reached.
  • Make sure that the anchor is not over torqued. This will cause the anchor to spin in the hole and then the holding value will be compromised.

Sleeve Anchor Installation Torque



Torque Ft/lbs

1/4” 5
3/8” 8
1/2” 15
5/8” 25
3/4” 50
7/8” 90