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Tapcon Installation

This topic contains 19 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  cmeyer25 3 hours, 16 minutes ago.

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  • #728646

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Hey BTP hive mind, I am curious – I have only installed a handful of Tapcon bolts and I’m about 60/40 where they’ll actually sink all the way in. I’m usually using 1/4” bolts with the required 3/16 bit, but is there a suggested length to use or anything else I could be missing? I drive them in with a 5/16 socket adapter in my idh182 and it sometimes just seems to not have enough power to drive the bolts all the way. Especially recently – I had (12) 2 3/4” bolts to drive into a slab to mount some brackets and I actually snapped one of the Tapcons in half in one hole, drove four all the way in, and couldn’t drive a couple others past about half way… I’ve tried widening the hole with 1/4” bit for the top little section, and my rotary hammers all have dust extraction but maybe I need to blow out the holes still? I usually over drill the depth too…

    What am I doing wrong? LOL!

    On this one I ended up using a different style concrete screw that was much shorter and had different, more aggressive but less dense threads and that seemed to work.

    Charlie
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    #728652

    Warren6810
    Pro
    Akron, OH

    Making sure the depth is at least 1/2″ longer than the screw has worked well for us. Probably less than 10 percent that don’t fully drive. We don’t use any dust extraction, so there could still be some debris in there.

    #728678

    RonW
    Pro
    Holladay, Tn

    Have to agree with Warren. When I have a problem sinking Tapcons the hole was not drilled deep enough.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #728682

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    We install a lot of Tapcons in our school projects. I would say the greatest reason they do not drive is a worn bit. As the sides of the bit wear, the hole becomes narrower causing the screw to have a harder time biting into the concrete. Try running the bit in and out of the hole a couple times before trying to install the screw.

    We have run into a few materials however such as some harder bricks and the like that the screw would not bite into and we had to go to a different anchor. Old concrete with granite for an aggregate can be especially tough. where the screw threads will cut into the limestone aggregates, it will barely scratch the granite aggregates.

    The dust collection you are using is a big plus to allowing the screws to go in the hole properly. We have a couple drills set up that way.

    #728684

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Thanks guys, those are good tips. I thought I was for sure drilling extra depth for these most recent holes, but I was also using an old bit – in fact it snapped off in one of the holes, lol!

    So how do you decide when to call it on an SDS Plus bit? I’ve been using these Makita 3/16 rebar chewing bits that have worked great as far as I could tell (they just eat through concrete) but I have no idea how to extract a broken bit tip from a hole so I’d love to know how to spot that weakening BEFORE it becomes that kind of problem.

    Charlie
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    #728702

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Thanks guys, those are good tips. I thought I was for sure drilling extra depth for these most recent holes, but I was also using an old bit – in fact it snapped off in one of the holes, lol!

    So how do you decide when to call it on an SDS Plus bit? I’ve been using these Makita 3/16 rebar chewing bits that have worked great as far as I could tell (they just eat through concrete) but I have no idea how to extract a broken bit tip from a hole so I’d love to know how to spot that weakening BEFORE it becomes that kind of problem.

    Once they break, there is really no way to get them out of the hole unless it breaks outside the hole. As far as knowing when to quit, there is really no good way, other than when the screws go in tough due to side wear.

    #728704

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    Yep, extra depth should do it given the dust that settles in while drilling.
    I use 1/4″ X 3 1/4″ Tapcon with phillips head.
    As for the SDS bits I’m using Bosch and Dewalt. 8″ long if I’m not mistaken.

    #728710

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I would say if you are drilling down and you can’t drive the screws most likely cause is excessive dust settling at the bottom that is stopping the screws.

    Your masonry bit is chewing and cutting a lot of that concrete dust. If you look closer to the bit the tip is wider than the shaft. May be the dust extraction is only pulling the dust that flies out of the hole as you drill but not the dust that drop down into the hole. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the hole and see if it makes a difference.

    I would also get a better bit. Ironically a bit made by Tapcon is not as good as a bit made by Bosch when using Tapcon screws even they are priced about the same. I mentioned that in a thread two years ago when I used both in a project. The Tapcon bits lasted 20 holes and the Bosch bit lasted over 100 holes.

    Tapcon holes are not reusable. The screws can be backed out and reused in another hole, but an existing hole with a Tapcon screw once removed you should not drive another Tapcon screw in.

    #728714

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    I would say if you are drilling down and you can’t drive the screws most likely cause is excessive dust settling at the bottom that is stopping the screws.

    Your masonry bit is chewing and cutting a lot of that concrete dust. If you look closer to the bit the tip is wider than the shaft. May be the dust extraction is only pulling the dust that flies out of the hole as you drill but not the dust that drop down into the hole. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the hole and see if it makes a difference.

    I would also get a better bit. Ironically a bit made by Tapcon is not as good as a bit made by Bosch when using Tapcon screws even they are priced about the same. I mentioned that in a thread two years ago when I used both in a project. The Tapcon bits lasted 20 holes and the Bosch bit lasted over 100 holes.

    Tapcon holes are not reusable. The screws can be backed out and reused in another hole, but an existing hole with a Tapcon screw once removed you should not drive another Tapcon screw in.

    I’ve found that too – I’m using Makita concrete with rebar bits that I’ve been loving. They’re 6” and I was using 2 3/4” screws so I would think that would have been plenty of extra (I drilled about 5” each I think), but I’ll try using compressed air next time and see if that helps.

    Charlie
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    #728728

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Something else just came to mind.

    What is the flooring material? I have ran into some cement based flooring over concrete that can be really hard, such as terrazo.

    #728734

    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    TapCon’s can be tricky to install.

    The hole has to be the exact proper size.

    You should overdrill depth by about 1/2″ or so.

    Then, run your bit, with the drill running, in and out several times. As in, a dozen or more times.

    Keep doing it till the dust stops coming out.

    Compressed air is only minimally useful in such small diameter holes, and it’s impossible to brush them.

    There will always be a certain percentage of those that either break off, or end up spinning in the hole. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to just use a wedge anchor, even though installation time is longer.

    Or, if it’s large enough, an epoxy anchor.

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #728738

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    TapCon’s can be tricky to install.

    The hole has to be the exact proper size.

    You should overdrill depth by about 1/2″ or so.

    Then, run your bit, with the drill running, in and out several times. As in, a dozen or more times.

    Keep doing it till the dust stops coming out.

    Compressed air is only minimally useful in such small diameter holes, and it’s impossible to brush them.

    There will always be a certain percentage of those that either break off, or end up spinning in the hole. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to just use a wedge anchor, even though installation time is longer.

    Or, if it’s large enough, an epoxy anchor.

    I haven’t ever run the bit in and out of the hole, so I’ll be sure to do that from here on.

    Thanks for all the good advice everyone!

    Charlie
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    #728739

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Something else just came to mind.

    What is the flooring material? I have ran into some cement based flooring over concrete that can be really hard, such as terrazo.

    I think it was just a polished slab. I don’t know for sure though. It seemed to drill pretty easily though. The first bit I used had already done quite a few holes on other projects so it was just it’s time I think. But I drilled all 12 holes in under five minutes, switching from my corded Bulldog to my cordless midway to try and get a comparison.

    Charlie
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    #728741

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I am the opposite, I religiously avoid running the bit in and out of the holes I drill. I blow out the dust unless it’s drilling up into a ceiling.

    I don’t remember ever having trouble driving the screws in whether it’s solid concrete or blocks.

    May be about 5% of the holes I drill in blocks I end up with spinning screws. Once that happens then it’s the electrical wire trick. If that doesn’t work then I either drill a new hole or I upsize the screw a little. Simpson’s has a concrete screw size that a little bigger than 1/4″ that use 1/4″ bit, that may bite into holes drilled for Tapcon 3/16″ bit that’s too loose for their 1/4″ screws.

    #728744

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    I am the opposite, I religiously avoid running the bit in and out of the holes I drill. I blow out the dust unless it’s drilling up into a ceiling.

    I don’t remember ever having trouble driving the screws in whether it’s solid concrete or blocks.

    May be about 5% of the holes I drill in blocks I end up with spinning screws. Once that happens then it’s the electrical wire trick. If that doesn’t work then I either drill a new hole or I upsize the screw a little. Simpson’s has a concrete screw size that a little bigger than 1/4″ that use 1/4″ bit, that may bite into holes drilled for Tapcon 3/16″ bit that’s too loose for their 1/4″ screws.

    The electrical wire trick? Is that like putting tooth picks or a golf tee in a wood hole? But wire in a concrete hole for the screw to wedge into?

    Charlie
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    #728757

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I am the opposite, I religiously avoid running the bit in and out of the holes I drill. I blow out the dust unless it’s drilling up into a ceiling.

    I don’t remember ever having trouble driving the screws in whether it’s solid concrete or blocks.

    May be about 5% of the holes I drill in blocks I end up with spinning screws. Once that happens then it’s the electrical wire trick. If that doesn’t work then I either drill a new hole or I upsize the screw a little. Simpson’s has a concrete screw size that a little bigger than 1/4″ that use 1/4″ bit, that may bite into holes drilled for Tapcon 3/16″ bit that’s too loose for their 1/4″ screws.

    The electrical wire trick? Is that like putting tooth picks or a golf tee in a wood hole? But wire in a concrete hole for the screw to wedge into?

    Zip ties work well also if the hold you are not looking for is structural. a single layer or two of a zip tie will make the screw grab extremely well.

    #729446

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    So, I took the advice I got here and today, while drilling around 80 tapcons, I used the vac ttacent on my bulldog and drilled in and out of each hole a couple of times – all the tapcons sank perfectly!

    Charlie
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    #729465

    Doobie
    Pro

    I am the opposite, I religiously avoid running the bit in and out of the holes I drill. I blow out the dust unless it’s drilling up into a ceiling.

    I don’t remember ever having trouble driving the screws in whether it’s solid concrete or blocks.

    May be about 5% of the holes I drill in blocks I end up with spinning screws. Once that happens then it’s the electrical wire trick. If that doesn’t work then I either drill a new hole or I upsize the screw a little. Simpson’s has a concrete screw size that a little bigger than 1/4″ that use 1/4″ bit, that may bite into holes drilled for Tapcon 3/16″ bit that’s too loose for their 1/4″ screws.

    The electrical wire trick? Is that like putting tooth picks or a golf tee in a wood hole? But wire in a concrete hole for the screw to wedge into?

    Zip ties work well also if the hold you are not looking for is structural. a single layer or two of a zip tie will make the screw grab extremely well.

    Thanks for the zip tie idea/tip. Have to remember that one.

    #729729

    So, I took the advice I got here and today, while drilling around 80 tapcons, I used the vac ttacent on my bulldog and drilled in and out of each hole a couple of times – all the tapcons sank perfectly!

    I got the same setup it’s a beast of a drill and the vacuum works well . I just have to keep remembering to turn the vacuum back on . The other feature I really like is reverse switch .

    Always willing to learn .

    #729734

    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    So, I took the advice I got here and today, while drilling around 80 tapcons, I used the vac ttacent on my bulldog and drilled in and out of each hole a couple of times – all the tapcons sank perfectly!

    I got the same setup it’s a beast of a drill and the vacuum works well . I just have to keep remembering to turn the vacuum back on . The other feature I really like is reverse switch .

    Do you have any issues with the vacuum arm not re-extending? Mine seems like it’s starting to stick about every other hole… I try to clean it out whenever I notice the suction dwindling, but I don’t know if I should be cleaning out the arm somehow.

    Charlie
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