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Attaching Signs to Concrete, Brick or Block

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
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It is essential to consider a number of different questions before getting started on the different types of concrete anchors available for this type of application. These questions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Will the signs be placed indoors or outdoors?
  2. If the sign is placed outdoors, should stainless steel concrete anchors be considered?
  3. How heavy is the sign? Anchors will have improved holding values in correlation with larger diameter anchors being used and the depth of embedment.
  4. What is the diameter of the hole in the sign for the placement of the fastener? It is important to check that the diameter of the anchor chosen will fit through the hole in the sign. Concrete anchors require a slightly larger hole in the sign than the designated diameter of the anchor. For example, a 1/4" concrete anchor requires a 5/16" hole in the fixture.

Only once these questions have been answered will the selection of the right fastener for your specific application begin.

Base Materials

While there are three different types of base material that a sign can be attached to, there are issues associated with each one. If the base material is concrete, make sure that the fasteners being used are not too close together. Generally, installed about 10x the diameter apart from each other. It is also important to make sure that the anchors are not within a distance equal to about 5x their diameter from any unsupported edge. When attaching a sign to brick or block, the fastener can be placed either in the mortar joint or in the brick/block itself. In the mortar joint, the holding values attained will be determined by the quantity as well as the quality of the mortar. If the concrete fasteners are placed in the brick or block itself, then the holding values will be determined by the quality of the base material and whether the anchor is in the hollow or solid section.

Different types of Concrete Fasteners

Wedge Anchors

Wedge anchors should only be used in solid concrete. They should never be used in brick or block. These anchors come in a variety of diameters from 1/4" to 1-1/4" and lengths ranging from 1-3/4" to 12". Wedge anchors are available in zinc plated, hot-dipped galvanized and stainless steel. The wedge anchor comes complete with nut and washer and has excellent holding values in concrete.

The wedge anchor installation process is simple and requires 5 steps:

  1. Drill a hole in the base material a minimum of 1/2" deeper than the wedge anchor's embedment. Use a carbide bit and hammer drill.
  2. Clean out the hole using compressed air and/or a wire brush.
  3. Place the nut on the end of the anchor before hammering into the hole in order to protect the threads during installation.
  4. Hammer the anchor through the hole in the sign into the hole drilled in the base material deep enough so a portion of the threads is below the surface of the sign.
  5. Tighten the nut 3 or 4 revolutions to set the wedge anchor. Torque values can be found on the wedge anchor technical information page.

** See all diameters, lengths, and prices for wedge anchors.

Sleeve Anchors

Sleeve anchors are versatile fasteners that can be used in concrete, brick, and block. These anchors come in diameters ranging from 1/4"-3/4" and lengths from 5/8" to 6-1/4". Many diameters are available in zinc plated and stainless steel. A variety of head styles is also available for many of the sleeve anchors including flat countersunk, round head and hex nut. The hex nut has the most choices in terms of length and diameter. The flat countersunk and round head is only available in the 1/4" and 3/8" diameter only. These anchors come complete with nut and washer and their length is measured from underneath the nut and washer.

The sleeve anchor installation process is relatively simple:

  1. Drill a hole in the base material a minimum of 1/2" deeper than the sleeve anchor will be embedded. Keep in mind that anchor size is hole size. Use the correct carbide bit and hammer drill.
  2. Clean out the hole of all debris.
  3. Hammer the sleeve anchor through the sign's hole and into the hole drilled in the base material until the washer is snug with the sign.
  4. Finger tighten the nut and use a wrench to turn the nut several times until it is tight. Do not over tighten or the anchor may spin in the hole.

** View all sleeve anchor diameters, lengths, and prices to determine if these are the right anchors for your application.

Tapcons- Concrete Screws

Tapcons are versatile fasteners that can be used in concrete,  brick or block. They are available in blue Climaseal® and 410 stainless steel. Standard blue Tapcons come in two different diameters: 3/16" and 1/4". The larger diameter Tapcon® is available in 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4". These large diameter screws are only available in hex washer head. The length of screw needed will be determined by the thickness of the sign. The standard blue screws require a minimum embedment of 1" and a maximum embedment of 1-1/4".

Using Tapcons are fairly simple:

  1. Using the proper diameter carbide drill bit, drill a hole in the base material a minimum of 1/2" deeper than the screw to be embedment into it.
  2. Use a carbide bit and hammer drill. Remember that the hole size should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw being used.
  3. Clean out the hole with compressed air and/or a wire brush.
  4. Drive the screw through the hole in the sign using a drill or wrench until snug. Make sure that if you are using a drill, it doesn't spin the screw too fast and strip the threads or over torque.

**View all Tapcon diameters, lengths, and prices.

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Always use personal protective equipmentAs with any anchoring project, it is important to keep safety in mind and follow instructions carefully. Always remember to wear safety goggles, handle all tools with extra care and follow all technical specifications. This article is meant to serve only as a basic explanation of concrete fasteners. Always refer to manufacturer's instructions or consult a contracting expert during any anchoring project.

Article Written By:
Mike Pistorino, Vice-President Operations

 

 

 

 


Concrete Fastening Systems, Inc. has over 40 years of experience selling concrete fasteners. We can ship out one box or a whole pallet of concrete anchors. Our products are of the highest quality... "your satisfaction is guaranteed". We ship all orders the same day the order is received.

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