Best Brick Anchors

There are a number of different fasteners that work well in brick. Each has features and benefits that may work well in some applications but may not work as well in others.  There is no one brick anchor that can be considered the best because each application and each brick may require different requirements.  The quality and hardness of brick differs as well as the quality and quantity of mortar in each joint.  All of these factors affect the holding values of any type of fastener used to fasten to brick. 

 

Male or Female Anchor

 

  • Female anchor would require the spotting of the anchor and then placing the fixture over, and, when there are more than one anchor, it may be difficult to get all the holes lined up.  Female type anchors also require a large hole to be drilled because the hole size is equal to the outside diameter of the anchor.  The female type anchor will give a more finished look because the head style and type of bolt used will not protrude a far distance from the surface.

  • Male anchors allow the hole to be drilled with the fixture in place. The fastener to be inserted through the fixture can be fastened directly into the hole drilled in the brick.  Because hole size equals anchor size, a smaller hole is needed for the diameter of male anchor being used as compared to the larger hole required for a female type anchor.  A wide variety of head styles are available depending on the diameter and type of fasteners chosen.

Types of Brick Anchor

 

  • Sleeve Anchors- are male type anchors that are manufactured in diameters from 1/4” to 3/4” and are available in many lengths to accommodate different material thickness.  Sleeve anchors are versatile and can be used in solid brick, brick with holes or the mortar joint.  Sleeve anchors provide the widest variety of head styles and they come in a round slotted head, flat phillips countersunk, acorn head or the standard hex nut. Stainless steel should be considered for use in outside applications. All sleeve anchors come pre-assembled and ready to use.  The hole that is required to be drilled into the brick is the same diameter as the sleeve anchor being used.  A hammer drill with a carbide tip must be used to drill the hole in the brick.

  •  Tapcon– is the brand name and most wildly recognized name for the self-tapping screw for brick and it is manufactured in the United States. They come in a hex washer slotted head and a flat phillips counter sunk, and are available in 3/16” diameter and 1/4” diameter.   Both diameters come in lengths of 1-1/4”, 1-3/4”, 2-1/4”, 2-3/4”, 3-1/4”, 3-3/4” and 4”; the 1/4” diameter also comes in lengths of 5” and 6”.  A hole must be drilled into the brick before inserting the tapcon screw.  The threads of the tapcon tap the brick providing excellent holding values.  The only problem that may occur when using tapcon in brick is when very hard abrasive brick is used, the lead threads’ ability to tap the brick may be diminished before the head of the tapcon is tight against the fixture being fastened.  When this happens, the tapcon stops tapping and, if continued torque is applied, the tapcon may shear off.  The hole that is drilled into the brick is slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of tapcon being installed; a 3/16” tapcon requires a 5/32” hole and the 1/4” tapcon requires a 3/16” hole.  The tapcon brand concrete screw comes in the standard blue Climaseal® coating or a 410 stainless steel coated with a silver Climaseal® coating.  When installing the tapcon, a hammer drill must be used with a bit that has a carbide tip.

  •  Nylon-Nail-its- are light duty type of brick anchors that have a nylon body with a steel nail.  They are set into the brick by driving the nail with a hammer into the anchor body, and the anchor body expands against the walls of the hole in the brick.  The nylon nail-it is easy to install. It is available in two diameters of 3/16” and 1/4” and lengths from 3/4” to 3”.  Nylon nail-its come in three head styles of mushroom head, flat head and round head.  Not all head styles come in both diameters or in all lengths.  Some sizes are available with a nylon nail or an aluminum nail.  The nylon nail-it with the nylon nail or aluminum nail is excellent for use in applications where rust resistance is critical.  Keep in mind that the nylon nail-it is a very light duty type anchor and should only be used in applications where the fixture being fastened does not weigh much.

  •  Hammer Drive Anchor– is similar to the nylon nail-it because it works with the same principles.  The body of the anchor is made from zinc aluminum magnesium and copper alloy with a steel or stainless steel nail.  The hammer drive anchor comes with mushroom head, which is a low profile head that is about 1/2” across to provide excellent bearing surface against the material being fastened.  The anchor body is relatively soft and pliable, allowing the anchor body to conform to the uneven surface of the hole in the brick.  The hammer drive anchors are not removable once set. The head is configured so that the nail, once set, is even with the top surface of the head of the anchor. Hammer drives come in two diameters of 3/16” and 1/4”.  The 3/16” diameter hammer set comes in only one length of 3/4”.  The 1/4” diameter comes in a number of different lengths ranging from 3/4” to 3”.

  •  Single and Double Expansion Anchors– are female type anchors that accept any bolt with national coarse threads with diameters of 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8”, and 3/4”.  The single expansion anchor is used in harder brick and the double expansion is mainly used in brick that that may not be of highest quality.  The single expansion works by a single expansion nut that is pulled up expanding the anchor body against the brick at a single point. The double expansion anchor has two nuts that expand the anchor body along its entire length.  Both the single and double expansion anchor work well both in the brick or the mortar joint.  The only negative aspect of both anchors concerns the diameter of hole that is required to be drilled in the base material, i.e. the 1/4” requires a 1/2” hole to be drilled into the brick.

  •  Lag Shields– are available in either a short or long version.  The short version is for brick that is very dense and hard while the longer version is for less dense and softer brick.  The extra length of the long lag shield allows for deeper embedment into the brick which creates the potential for better holding values.  Both lag shields come in diameters of 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4” and require the use of a lag screw to expand the anchor once installed into the brick.  Lag shields can be installed into the brick or the mortar joint and, because the design is versatile, they allow for a wide range of expansion.  Keep in mind that a lag screw must be used to expand the anchor, and lag screws are available only in a hex head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

Please remember with all fastening jobs to keep safety in mind. Always follow safety instructions on all tools, and refer to manufacturer's installation instructions when available and always remember to wear safety goggles!

Article written by: Bob Carlisle, President Concrete Fastening Systems, Inc

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