Tapcons masonry screws are an excellent tool for home improvement projects. Since they are versatile, easy to use, and provide a secure and long-lasting hold, you may wonder if you can use them for your cinder block wall. Can they hold your items in place? We looked for answers, and here's what we found!
You can use Tapcons to anchor items in a cinder block wall using a hammer drill and a properly-sized carbide-tipped bit to achieve the appropriate hole tolerance and holding strength.
To figure out what size Tapcon screw you need, add the thickness of the material you want to attach to the minimum embedment requirement of 1 inch or the maximum embedment requirement of 1 and 3/4 inches.
You need a straightforward guide to get the job done correctly when securing items to a cinder block using Tapcons. Plus, there are other options too! We compiled everything you need to know in this article. Keep reading to learn more about attaching items to cinder blocks.
Anchoring Items To Cinder Block Using Tapcons
Cinder block, also known as concrete masonry unit (CMU), is a versatile construction material that is strong, relatively lightweight, and often used for many building projects.
However, it may be hollow, brittle, and inconsistent, which can cause problems when attaching items. Follow these four simple steps to install Tapcon screws to your cinder block wall easily.
- When drilling through a cinder block wall, make sure that your Tapcon screws are hitting the solid concrete parts. Avoid the hollow portion because inside spalling may occur since you're drilling near the inner non-supported area of the cinder block.
- Clean the hole before installing your fastener. Remove debris on the drilled hole using a metal brush, vacuum, or air compressor.
- Install the Tapcon screws. The embedment range for the Tapcon screw is between 1 to 1 and 3/4 inches. The size of the screw you need would depend on the thickness of the material added to the minimum embedment of 1 inch and the maximum embedment of 1 and 3/4 inches.
- Drive the screw but be careful not to overtighten the Tapcons to keep from wearing the threads down. Turn the screw by hand for the last couple of turns to avoid this problem.
If you want to learn more about cinder blocks, head to this article to find out "How Much Does A Cinder Block Weigh?"
Specifications Of Tapcon Screws
You can use Tapcon screws for moderately demanding applications. They are made with special threads that "tap" into a pre-drilled hole in masonry materials like concrete, cinder block, and brick. The specifications of Tapcon screws include the following:
- Hex Head Style: You can use the hex head style for most fixture anchoring requirements. The head protrudes from the object's exterior and may be fastened into place using a hex nut driver or slotted screwdriver.
- Phillips Flat Head Style: You can use the Phillips flat head when you need to flush the head of the fasteners with the surface you're attaching them to, such as when you're affixing wood to stone.
Tapcon brand anchors come in 3/16 and 1/4-inch diameters. They come in varying lengths, with 3/16-inch options going from 1 and 1/4 to 4 inches and 1/4-inch variety going as high as 6 inches.
The standard blue Tapcon screw has Advanced Threadform Technology, making installing with less torque and better pullout performance possible.
The Tapcon anchor's nail-type point facilitates easier insertion into the pre-drilled hole, making it excellent for wood and concrete applications.
Tapcon screws are available in two corrosion-resistant materials: Blue Climaseal® coating over carbon steel and 410 stainless steel composition. The blue screws are ideal for interior use, while the stainless steel silver screws are more durable in outdoor settings.
The Tapcon screw's holding strength will vary depending on the base material. Generally, the holding values will be higher if the foundation material is tougher.
Choosing The Right Drill Bit
Make sure that the hole is slightly smaller than the fastener's diameter. You won't be able to install the Tapcon properly if you use a bit that is too tiny or too large.
You can find the recommended masonry bit size based on your fastener diameter on the Tapcon packaging. In some cases, some brands already include the appropriate size of the drill bit.
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For the Tapcon screw to provide the necessary gripping power, accurate hole tolerance is crucial. To achieve this, choose a drill bit with a carbide tip certified as ANSI-compliant. For a 3/16-inch screw, a carbide bit with a diameter of 5/32-inch is necessary. A 3/16-inch carbide-tipped bit fits 1/4-inch screws.
Maintain control when drilling the Tapcon hole. Wobbling the masonry bit as you drill will cause the hole to widen, preventing the fastener from adequately engaging with the concrete.
Maintain a constant drill angle and a steady hand to avoid this problem. Make sure you also use a sharp masonry bit.
Alternative Cinder Block Anchors
Tapcons are excellent fasteners, but they may only work well in some applications. Aside from Tapcons, there are other anchors you can use to attach things to your cinder block wall. We have listed a few of them below:
For a through-bolt installation, you'll need to drill a hole through the cinder block and attach the plate washer and nut from the fixture side to the drilled-out side of the cinder block.
If you can get to both sides of the cinder block, you can use a drilled hole to quickly and effectively secure it. This method should give you the best and most consistent holding values.
Expansion Type Anchor
This works well for both heavy-duty and light-duty applications in solid sections and mortar joints. If this type of anchor is used in a hollow section, how well it holds will depend on how much base material is left for the anchor to expand into.
This method is versatile, provides exceptional holding capacity, and works great in vibratory shock-loading situations.
Why Are Tapcon Screws Blue?
The blue Climaseal® coating offers superior corrosion protection and a long-lasting, maintenance-free surface. The coating provides excellent holding strength, making it ideal for harsh environments.
Aside from the blue variant, Tapcons can also be stainless steel silver screws, which are more recommended for outdoor installations.
Why Are My Tapcon Screws Breaking?
There are several potential causes for Tapcons to break or shear off during installation. This breaking issue may affect a large number of generic concrete screws owing to the low quality of the steel and the craftsmanship used in their production.
A blue screw does not necessarily mean that you have a genuine Tapcon.
Improper application can also cause your Tapcons to break. Tapcon screws will cease tapping if the lead thread is worn down by working with a substance that is too abrasive or hard. Proper installation of Tapcons relies heavily on the hole's tolerance, shape, and uniformity.
Using a standard rotating drill will not produce a proper hole consistently. These concrete screws might go in, become lodged, and cause a significant problem. Adding additional torque at this stage might cause the Tapcon to shear or break.
Which Is Better, Concrete Or Cinder Block?
Although some people consider them the same, these two materials have many notable differences. Concrete and coal cinders make up a cinder block, while steel, wood, and cement constitute concrete blocks.
Poured concrete foundations are more popular than cinder block foundations because concrete blocks are far more robust and have better lateral strength. Concrete blocks are less costly since they don't require many repairs, while cinder blocks need frequent maintenance and have a higher overall cost.
Tapcons secure items to concrete walls, floors, or even ceilings, which is why they are a popular choice for many home improvement projects. They are also reasonably easy to install.
When used correctly, Tapcons will help keep your items in place and give you a firm hold on your cinder block wall. Make sure to use the right drill bit and follow the necessary techniques to keep your items where you want them to be!
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