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Concrete screws, also known as masonry screws or anchor screws, are screws used to secure materials to concrete, brick or block. Made for light duty fastening, concrete screws are quickly becoming a popular way to anchor materials to masonry. These screws are hardened and coated in a blue coating to protect them, which is part of the protective coating which extends the corrosion and rust resistance of the screw, making them suitable for exterior and long-lasting applications. Due to this unusual color these screws have also become known as blue screws. One of the greatest benefits of concrete masonry screws is that they can be easily removed if necessary unlike expanding masonry anchors.
Concrete screws come in 3/16" and 1/4" diameters. The 3/16" screws are considered good for general use applications and where the concrete is soft. If the screws have a problem drilling into the material or the load is heavy, 1/4" concrete screws will be a better fit. As a rule of thumb, the harder the material is the stronger the hold will be. They are hardened and tap their own threads during installation. Anchor screws are mainly used to hold metal or wood to concrete. Concrete screws are available in both Phillips flat head and Hex Washer head varieties. The Phillips version is often used when a flush head is needed but the hex washer head is easier to drive. Anchor screws need to be a minimum of 1" embedded in the masonry material to be considered properly installed.
Installing Concrete Screws
To install blue screws, first measure the drill bit against the masonry screw. The hole needs to be deep enough to sit the entire screw length. It is also recommended to drill slightly further than the screw length to allow room for debris from the drilling. Next, drill a hole using a hammer drill and masonry drill bit. Once the hole is at the appropriate depth, try to remove as much debris as possible. Once the hole is clean, install the screw using a drill/driver. Although not entirely necessary, it is recommended to drive the last few turns by hand to prevent stripping the screw.
Once a screw is removed from a hole, it should not be reinstalled into the same hole. Each time a screw is reinserted it will tap new threads causing the overall integrity of the hold to weaken. It is important not to drive the screws at high speed. Low to medium speeds will allow the self tapping threads to form threading in the material. If the screw is spinning loosely in the hole, a plastic expansion anchor can be added to provide the screw with threading points.
How To Install Concrete Screws
Concrete Screw Installation Transcript
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[While Bob references and uses Tapcon brand masonry screws in the video, we currently sell a comparable brand of concrete screws.]
Bob: Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners, Fasteners 101. Today we're going to be talking about, and demonstrating, the proper installation of masonry screws which are also called Tapcons. Let's get started.
These are masonry screws or tapcons as they call them. Tapcon is a brand specific name but it's become more generic over the years.
I have two different sizes; they come in 2 different diameters. The typical screw you have what they call a 3/16 inch diameter and you have a 1/4 inch diameter. Those are the two main diameters that come in a tapcon screw.
In the 3/16" diameter they come in upto 4 inches long. They come in a hex head or they come in a Phillips drive head or flat head which allows you to drive, let's just say, plywood and not have a head sticking out of the wood. The 3/16 comes in lengths up to four inches in length and the 1/4 inch comes in lengths up to 6 inches in length.
As you can see here, with this particular tapcon, that this particular one is the tapcon brand. You'll see there's only about an inch, an inch and a quarter, of thread here and then you'll see the rest of the shank being smooth with no threads and that's fine.
I get calls sometimes where customers ask: well how come it's not threaded all the way up, I need it threaded all the way up. Well if it was threaded all the way up, this screw would heat up and it would just snap on you. The key is that a concrete screw just needs about an inch to an inch and a quarter of grip and it will hold loads of material being fastened to block walls or concrete structures.
So I also have here knuckle drivers, magnetic knuckle drivers, which will go inside of my impact gun. I have two sets of drill bits. So I have the standard drill bit for 1/4 inch diameter; you use a 3/16 inch diameter drill bit which sometimes comes with the tapcons and for a 3/16" diameter tapcon you use a 5/32" drill bit. That's pretty standard throughout all the masonry screws.
This is just a plain shank drill bit. You put it in the standard drill and you drill. Then I have here a drill bit that is for a hammer drill, this is a an SDS plus bit. This will cut your time and drilling in half, if not faster.
I have a hammer drill here: it's a Bosch. This thing is the most standard and they call it the bulldog. It's one of the most widely used hammer drills out there and I've had this for many years and I'm just very happy with it and it's still going.
I also brought some tape that we're going to use to mark out on our bit, before we drill, how far into the concrete we want to go. So I have some blue tape here. I have the screw that I'm going to be screwing in. So I'm just going to set with this blue tape how far down into the concrete or block I'm going to be going into. I'm just going to make it so it just goes a little further than what I need. You know if you're putting material to the concrete obviously then you wouldn't go as far, you'd do halfway or something like that. So I'm just going to select that amount there and I'm going to put my tape on there so now I know where to stop.
I know that I'm not gonna do more than I really need to and I'm going to do the same thing-I'm going to demonstrate for you with a regular bit but I'm also going to demonstrate with a hammer drill how fast it goes. This way when you have your project you know what you should be buying.
Whoops. Don't need that much.
Okay that looks good there for the tape on there. All right now I have my stop point.
Okay I'm going to drill this hole with a standard bit that would come with your tapcon.
I think my battery's dead...
So I had to stop there for a minute to change out the battery. It was dying on me. So I'm just going to pick up where I left off.
Okay so I finished drilling that hole. That's with the standard bit. Now I'm going to drill another hole right next to it with the hammer drill.
So you can see that I think that was better than 50 percent, I would say maybe 25 percent, to drill that hole versus just a standard drill. Always clean your hole.
Now I'm going to grab two screws. First I'm going to drive in a 1/4 inch. A 1/4 inch tapcon, this is an 1-1/4" long and I'm going to grab my other battery here. This one's a hex head, slotted hex head. I'm going to drive them in first and then I'm going to drive in the 1/4" phillips head.
That baby's in there. Now I'm going to do a Phillips flat head. Just changing out the bit. It is a flat head that I'm going to drive in. What's key with a flathead is that you make sure with a 1/4 inch you have to have a number 3 tip.
These are our VEGA bits that we sell here and these bits are awesome. We have very little problems with these.
You can see that this fits in here very, very tight and that is really what you need when you're driving in concrete screws.
There you go. I can even go a little further with that. If I was putting a piece of wood to the concrete that would just pull right into the two-by-four or plywood and it would be flush.
Concrete screws can be removed. The threads that are on here thread the concrete going in and that's the thread here. They thread the concrete as they go; as the screw is driven in.
I'm going to pop out the other one. That's the nice thing about concrete screws, you can back them out. There you go, out they come.