How To Screw To Concrete

Choosing and Using a Concrete Screw

screwing blue screw into concrete

Concrete screws are the easy way to anchor objects to concrete. This article shows you how to drill a holes in concrete or masonry and then how to choose and install concrete screws.

Remember to wear eye and ear protection when drilling concrete!

brief how to

In this article, you will find information about:

  1. Choosing The Right Concrete Screw

  2. Mark The Hole Drilling Location

  3. Set The Depth To Drill The Hole

  4. Drill The Hole

  5. Attach The Screw

tools and materials

  • Hammer Drill
  • Hammer Drill Bit, proper size for your hammer drill
  • Concrete Screw
  • Expansion Anchors

step 1 Choosing The Right Concrete Screw

There are several ways to attach a screw to concrete. You can use an actual concrete screw that screws directly into a hole you have drilled in the concrete or you can use a metal or plastic anchor that is inserted into a drilled hole and then a regular screw is screwed into the anchor. Both systems work well. Try the concrete screw first and if it does not grab in the hole you can make the hole larger and insert a plastic or metal expansion shield and install a regular screw.

hex drive and phillips head drive blue tapcon screws

Length of Screw: Try to get the concrete screw to go at least an inch into the concrete. If you are attaching something heavy to concrete, like a handrail, you will need to install the concrete screw farther into the concrete.

Diameter of The Screw: The diameter of concrete screws gets larger as the screw gets longer.

Tapcon Concrete Screws "Blue Screws": The brand name of the blue concrete screws is Tapcon. These screws come in two diameters and two head types. Many of the larger packs come with a masonry drill bit. If you plan on drilling alot of holed you will want to use a rotary hammer drill bit instead of the one sold with the Tapcons. These are the screw and driver sizes provided by Tapcon.

The bit to use with each size of Tapcon® are:

  • 3/16" diameter Tapcon® = 5/32" bit
  • 1/4" diameter Tapcon® = 3/16" bit

The drivers to use with the different head style Tapcons are:

  • #2 Phillips — 3/16" Flat Tapcon®
  • 1/4" Socket — 3/16" Hex Tapcon®
  • #3 Phillips — 1/4" Flat Tapcon®
  • 5/16" Socket — 1/4" Hex Tapcon®

Metal Expansion Anchors: Metal expansion anchors or shields are inserted into a hole in the concrete and then a screw is driven into the shield. The insert expands and presses against the concrete which creates holding power. Metal expansion shields work well for heavier screw applications.

Plastic Expansion Anchors: Plastic expansion anchors work just like the metal expansion anchors. The work well for lighter duty applications like hanging window shutters on the brick exterior of a home.

step 2 Mark The Hole Drilling Location

Use a permenant marker to put a dot or x on the spot where the hole will be drilled.

step 3 Set The Depth To Drill The Hole

Drill the hole for the concrete screw at least 1/4" deeper than the depth the screw will enter the concrete to allow space for any concrete dust in the bottom of the hole. Find the depth of the concrete screw by:

  1. Measure the length of the screw
  2. Subtract the thickness of the material you are screwing to the concrete
  3. Add 1/4"

The result if this is your desired depth. Either set the depth gauge on the drill to this depth or use masking tape wrapped around the drill bit to mark the depth.

blue screw set rotohammer bit depth with tape

step 4 Drill The Hole

Use a hammer drill to drill into the concrete or masonry surface. A hammer drill is a drill that rotates like a normal drill and it hammers the concrete at the same time. The hammering breaks up the concrete or masonry and the rotation removes the concrete dust.

  1. Place the hammer drill on the mark on the concrete and turn it on.
  2. The hammering will start when you press the drill into the concrete. Press the drill hard enough to get dust coming out of the new hole. Pressing too hard on the spinning drill bit will cause excessive heat and damage the bit.
  3. Pull the drill out of the hole about every 10 seconds to pull out concrete dust.
  4. Stop drilling when the depth gauge touches the surface of the concrete or the drill bit gets to the tape you wrapped around it or when you know that you are deep enough.

drilling concrete for blue concrete screw

For more information on drilling in concrete or masonry read the article How To Drill Concrete.

step 5 Attach The Concrete Screw

Tapcon Screws: When using Tapcon concrete screws it is best to use a drill with the proper driver head for your screws, either phillips head or 1/4" or 5/16" socket. It is important to maintain a fair amount of pressure on the head of the screw so the bit does not slip, this is especially true when using phillips head screws.

driving concrete screw through wood into concrete

Regular Screws In Plastic Expansion Anchors: If you are driving a wood screw into a plastic anchor you can use a phillips head screw driver if you wish but a drill with a phillips driver works best.

driving screw through wood into plastic concrete anchor

Regular Screws In Metal Expansion Anchors: Metal expansion anchors will allow larger screws like lag screws with a hex head. Determine the size of the screw head and either set up your drill or use a wrench to drive the screw into the anchor.

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