Tapcon screws work in most masonry material, such as concrete, brick, block and mortar joints. Tapcon screws must be inserted into a pre-drilled hole in the base material. The threads of the tapcon screw tap the threads. The word tapcon is a brand name for masonry screws and is used in the industry to describe any kind of screw that is designed to tap threads into concrete, brick or block base material. The original tapcon brand concrete screw came on the market in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Where to Buy Tapcon Screws
Tapcon screws can be purchased at most hardware and big box stores or online at. Purchasing online will cost 30% to 50% less than at the retail level, plus all sizes are in stock and will ship the same day that the order is received. If the tapcon screws are needed for a project the same day, then purchasing at a local retail store is the only choice. Also, smaller quantities are available at the retail store.
How to Buy Tapcon Screws
There are many different questions that need to be answered to make sure the proper tapcon screws are purchased for the specific job that they will be used in. For tapcon screws to work properly the right one must be used. For example, if it is too short then it will not hold and if it is too long it will not be able to be inserted completely into the base material.
- Tapcon Screws Head Styles - tapcon screws come in two different head styles of the hex slotted washer head and the flat Phillips countersunk. The hex slotted washer head is designed for use with a hex driver or a straight screwdriver. The attached washer gives excellent bearing surface against the fixture being fastened. It is most commonly used in applications where the head protruding above the material being fastened is acceptable. The flat Phillips countersunk tapcon screw is designed for use where the head of the tapcon screw is countersunk into the material being fastened, such as a 2x4. The head of the flat Phillips countersunk tapcon screw will lie flat on the surface of the fixture when installed. It is driven using a Phillips tipped screwdriver.
- Length of Tapcon Screws to Use – the length of tapcon screws to use on any project is determined by adding the thickness of the material being fastened to the minimum and/or maximum embedment depth of the tapcon screws. To determine the minimum length of tapcon screws to use, add the thickness of the material being fastened plus 1”. To calculate the maximum length of tapcon screws, add the thickness of the material being fastened plus 1-3/4”. Using too short of a tapcon screw is not recommended because the holding values will decrease or be nonexistent. Using too long of a tapcon screw will result in the tapcon screw being unable to be inserted completely to hold the fixture in place.
- Diameter of Hole For Tapcon Screws – the diameter of the hole in the base material for any of the tapcon screws is critical. Each diameter of a tapcon screw requires a specific diameter of the hole to be drilled in the base material. The hole must be drilled with carbide tipped drill bit that meets ANSI standards. The hole must also be drilled using a hammer drill. The 3/16” diameter tapcon screws require a 5/32” hole and the 1/4” diameter tapcon screws require a 3/16” hole.
- Depth of Hole for the Tapcon Screws - The depth of the hole is critical to the successful installation of tapcon screws. The room must be created at the bottom of the hole to allow dust that is created during the tapping process to fall. The hole must be drilled a minimum of 1/2” deeper than the tapcon screws will penetrate the base material. Depths shorter than 1/2” may create a situation where the tapcon screws will bottom out in the hole, preventing the head of the tapcon screw to be tight against the fixture.
- Type of Tapcon Screws – There are two types of tapcon screws: the standard blue and the stainless steel. The standard blue-coated tapcons are for indoor use or for applications where moisture is not present. Stainless steel tapcons screws should be used in outdoor applications where r is present. The stainless steel tapcons are made from a 410 stainless steel and coated with a special coating.
How to Install Tapcon Screws
- With a hammer drill, drill a hole in the base material the correct diameter for the tapcon being installed. Make sure the carbide bit meets ANSI standards and drill the hole a minimum of 1/2” deeper than the tapcon screws will penetrate the base material.
- Clean out the hole of all dust and debris using a wire brush, vacuum or compressed air.
- Align hole in the fixture over the hole in the base material.
- Insert tapcon screws through the fixture and into the hole the base material.
- Turn tapcon screws clockwise until the head of the tapcon screw is snug against the fixture.