Drilling down on concrete fasteners

Screw anchors a perfect fit for home projects

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Screw anchors a perfect fit for home projects

Paul Bianchina
Inman News

Bolting framing, fixtures, tools or anything else down to concrete has never been an easy task. Wedge anchors have been the standard choice for many years, but they are difficult to install correctly and can place additional lateral strain on the concrete due to their expansion, making them unsuitable for use close to the edge of a concrete slab or foundation wall.

Many other types of anchors don't have sufficient strength to meet code requirements for framing installations.

One high-strength solution to this construction problem that's also relatively easy to use is the Titen HD Heavy Duty Screw Anchor. The Titen HD is manufactured by Simpson Strong-Tie, a company long known for its wide selection of steel hangers and other fastening and connector supplies for construction. It looks somewhat similar to a conventional lag bolt, but all similarity stops there.

Titens install into predrilled holes with no additional anchors or shields, and are simply screwed into place. For tool and equipment installations, they're also easily removable if the equipment needs to be moved.

Titen anchors have very widely spaced threads, and the edges of the threads have serrated teeth that allow the anchor to actually cut into the sides of the hole. They have a hex head for use with conventional sockets, and the bottom of the head flares out into a washer that provides a clean finished appearance. The underside of the washer has ratchet teeth that provide additional protection against the bolt working loose if subjected to vibration.

Installation of the Titen anchor is quite simple. First, you need to determine the size of the mounting holes in the item you are planning to bolt down and then, using the chart provided by Simpson, determine the correct anchor diameter. For example, if you were bolting down a tool or other fixture that has mounting holes that are 9/16 inch in diameter, you would want to use a 3/8-inch-diameter Titen.

The next step is to drill the installation hole. Again using the Simpson chart, determine the correct diameter of hole for the size of Titen anchor being used. It's very important that you drill a hole of the correct diameter -- the anchor won't drive into a hole that is undersized, and it won't bite well and give the proper holding strength if driven into a hole that's too large.

You'll also need to calculate the depth of the hole, which is determined by the thickness of the fixture being bolted down as well as the thickness of the concrete you're working with. The hole should then be drilled approximately 1/2 inch deeper then the embedment depth of the bolt, which allows space for the resulting dust to settle prior to installing the bolt.

For example, if you were bolting down a fixture that was 1/2 inch thick and the concrete was 6 inches thick, you would probably select a 5-inch-long Titen anchor, which would give you 4 1/2 inches of penetration into the slab, and you would drill your hole approximately 5 inches deep (4 1/2 inches of embedment plus 1/2 inch).

You can also drill the hole to the specified depth -- in this case, 4 1/2 inches -- and then blow out the accumulated dust with compressed air.

Drilling into concrete requires the use of a carbide-tipped drill bit designed specifically for use in masonry. If you have only a couple of holes to drill, you can use a conventional electric- or battery-powered drill.

However, if you have a lot of holes to drill or if the concrete is old and hard, you'll have much better results with a hammer drill, which combines a circular drilling motion with an in-and-out hammering motion that is much more effective on concrete. Hammer-drills can be rented at most rental yards, and you can get the necessary drill bit there as well.

Once the holes have been drilled and cleaned, position the piece of equipment you're bolting down over the holes. Insert the Titen anchor bolt through the fixture base and into the hole, and tighten it down using either a socket wrench or an impact wrench. Tighten the bolt down until the integrated washer below the head contacts the fixture, and you're all done.

For framing installations, the Titen anchors can typically be used in place of conventional anchor bolts for many types of installations. You'll want to be sure to check with your local building department for specific information and requirements.

Titen anchors can be purchased at most lumberyards, home centers and hardware stores, sometimes by special order. They are available by the box only, with quantities ranging from 10 to 50 depending on the diameter of the anchor. You can also check them out on the Web here.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paulbianchina@inman.com. All product reviews are based on the author's actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.

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