Choosing the Appropriate Method of Fastening Infrastructure to Concrete and Masonry

Construction worker leveling the concrete

Specialist fasteners both removable and permanent can be used to securely attach a variety of objects to concrete and masonry walls and floors. The fasteners selected should be more than strong enough to hold the weight of the object in the type of wall it’s attached to.

The modern do-it-yourself enthusiast is often overwhelmed with the array of choices available when fastening screws and bolts to concrete and masonry surfaces. A far cry from the walls of yesteryear, which only had a scant few options to anchor wood and metal onto a concrete or masonry surface.  A wide assortment of fasteners can be found in a reputable hardware supplier; finding out the type to use is a matter of understanding what it needs to do.

Although softer masonry and concrete surfaces may be punctured lightly by conventional drill bits, hammer drills are generally recommended for all jobs involving concrete. Hammer drill bits are capable of withstanding the force required to wear away at concrete without getting worn.

Light-Duty Options

The options available today are typically graded according to the weight they can reasonably carry. Many plastic and soft metal fasteners are designed for lightweight loads such as shelving brackets and wall hangings. These often need only tiny holes to hold their item in place. These fasteners can be removed with relative ease, and it is possible and relatively easy for do-it-yourself enthusiasts to remove them as needed.

These are one of the best options to use in crumbly or soft mortars or concrete, though they may need additional segments of wire or plastic to secure them in place if their holes end up too loose. Plastic fasteners are recommended for fastening objects to mortar.

Hammer-set anchors are another easy concrete fastening option. Once an appropriately sized hole has been drilled, they could easily be hammered into place and are securely fastened. These options are permanent, and there is no way to recover the anchor once it has been embedded without damaging the wall or the anchor itself. Because metal expands, hammer-set anchors are not recommended for attaching things to mortar.

Mason smiling while cementing cinderblocks

Heavy-duty Work

Medium-duty fasteners like sleeve anchors and concrete screws, meanwhile, can hold heavier weights such as metallic railings, doors, and window frames securely in place.

Because of how easy they are to install, concrete screws are among the most popular fastening options available; then need only to be drilled into position without any additional fasteners in place. However, they can only be used for installing heavy objects onto dense solid concrete and concrete blocks. Sleeve anchors, on the other hand, are harder to install but can be used to hold objects up on brick and mortar.

Sleeve anchors are far more troublesome to remove. Once they are taken out, the area they were once attached to cannot be reused. Concrete screws, on the other hand, are easily removed by being unscrewed, but because of their hardness, they are liable to break screw drive heads while being tightened.

A Permanent Solution

Sleeve anchors also come in sizes capable of carrying structural objects such as load-bearing framing members such as deck ledger boards. Wedge anchors, meanwhile, can take much heavier loads and are calibrated to hold large objects such as major load-bearing framing members atop stone and concrete. Much like their smaller counterparts, sleeve anchors can be removed—albeit with great difficulty and requiring a different point of access to reattach. Wedge anchors, meanwhile, are permanent; they cannot be removed once placed in. The placement of wedge anchors must be final before it is used.