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How to Use Tapcon® Screws in Different Materials


Posted on July 13, 2023

Discover the power of Tapcon® screws – specialized fasteners for concrete, brick, and block materials. Learn how to determine the right size, their common uses, and avoid common installation mistakes. Get secure and reliable connections for your projects with Tapcon screws!

Tapcon® screws are a specialized type of fastener that can be used to securely attach items to concrete, brick, or block materials. They are made from hardened steel and feature a unique thread design that allows them to be tapped into security into place.. In this blog post, we will discuss what Tapcon screws are, how they should be used in different materials, and common mistakes to avoid when installing them.

What Are Tapcon Screws?

Tapcon screws are a type of masonry screw designed specifically for multi-purpose use in concrete, brick, and block materials. They are made from hardened steel and are coated with a zinc finish, for increased corrosion resistance. The unique design of Tapcon screws enables them to create their own threads as they are tapped into the material, in order to provide a secure and stable connection.

What Are Tapcon Screws?

Unlike other masonry anchors, Tapcons can be removed if needed, and reinstalled in the same hole.

Determine the Size of the Tapcon Screw Needed

Whether you need to affix something on the surface or require it to be flush with your material, Tapcon screws are here for all your fastening needs! With sizes available from 3/16" up until 1/2", and two distinct head styles Hex Slotted Headand Phillips Flathead Countersunk - there is a perfect solution regardless of your project.

Determine the Size of the Tapcon Screw Needed

To find the Tapcon screw lengths required for different material thicknesses, start by adding 1" (the minimum embedment) to the material thickness. This will provide you with the shortest possible length of screw for your application. For a maximum length screw in any given situation, just add 1-3/4” (maximum embedment) to your measurement.

How Are Tapcon Screws Rated for Strength?

When selecting the ideal Tapcon screw for your job, there are several essential elements to contemplate. Head type (hex slotted or flat Phillips), size of standard or large diameter screws with lengths ranging from 1-1/4" to 6"; suggested embedment depth between 1” minimum and 1-3/4” maximum; plus base material like concrete, brick or block.

Common Uses of Tapcon Screws

Tapcon screws are used in a wide variety of applications, including:

Attaching Wood to Masonry

One common use for Tapcon screws is attaching wood to masonry surfaces. This can include installing wooden furring strips, framing, or trim to a brick, concrete, or block wall. If the wood will hold structural components, ensure that the Tapcon is of sufficient size to support the weight. Heavy-duty Tapcon anchors are available for this purpose.

Installing Electrical Boxes and Conduit

Tapcon screws are frequently used to secure electrical boxes and conduit to masonry surfaces, for a stable and reliable connection.

Mounting Handrails and Railings

When installing handrails or railings on masonry surfaces, Tapcon screws provide a secure and sturdy connection to help ensure the safety of the structure. When attaching to brick, the holding power of the Tapcon will depend on the integrity of the brick or mortar joint. Solid concrete block or concrete walls provide the most reliable surface to attach to.

Hanging Heavy Items

For heavy items such as cabinets, shelves, or artwork, Tapcon screws can be a reliable and durable anchoring solution in masonry materials.

How to Use Tapcon Screws in Different Materials

Tapcon screws are specially designed to tap threads into concrete, brick, or block materials. The screws are made of hardened steel that enables them to cut threads into the base material as they are driven into it. The unique thread design creates a secure connection.

Installation Guidelines

Here are step-by-step instructions for installing a Tapcon screw:

  1. Identify the correct size Tapcon screw for your project, taking into consideration both the depth of the hole in the base material and the thickness of the materials being fastened.
  2. Use a hammer drill and the appropriately sized carbide drill bit to puncture your base material. The suggested size of the hole can be found on the packaging, which is always less than that of the Tapcon you are utilizing. Make sure your borehole is half an inch deeper compared to where you place your screw for secure threading engagement.
  3. By clearing the hole of all dirt, dust, and small particles with a wire brush, vacuum, or compressed air, you guarantee that your installation will go smoothly. Once everything is clean and clear, insert the Tapcon screw into the pilot hole in whatever material it's fastening to ensure proper alignment for optimal results.
  4. Drive the Tapcon screw into the base material using a power driver or manual screwdriver, ensuring that it is firmly seated but not over-tightened. Over-tightening can cause the screw to shear off or become stuck, so it's crucial to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper torque settings.

Common Mistakes Made When Installing a Tapcon Screw

When installing Tapcon screws, it is crucial to avoid common mistakes that could affect the stability and reliability of the fastening.

  • One frequent error is drilling a hole that is too shallow, which can lead to poor thread engagement and an insecure connection. It's essential to drill a hole slightly deeper than the screw's length to accommodate dust accumulation.
  • Another common mistake is not cleaning the hole thoroughly, as dust and debris left inside can obstruct proper screw installation and reduce holding strength. To ensure a strong and stable connection, it's crucial to use a wire brush, compressed air, or vacuum to clean the hole before inserting the screw.
  • Over-tightening the Tapcon screw is another issue that can cause the screw to shear off or become stuck, which can compromise the overall fastening. To avoid these mistakes, always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and best practices for installing Tapcon screws.

Fastener Systems Carries a Complete Line Of Tapcon Screws and Masonry Anchors

If you need reliable and durable fastening solutions for concrete, brick, or block materials, Tapcon screws are the way to go. Fastener Systems Inc offers an extensive selection of Tapcon screws and masonry anchors, along with other high-quality tools to ensure quality results.

Contact us today to place your order or to learn more about our complete line of fastening solutions!