What’s little, blue and loves concrete? If you said a Smurf mason, you’d be close, but of course, you’d be wrong. I’m talking about Tapcon, the benefactor of this Sponsored Post. Whether it’s in concrete, block or brick, Tapcon is the number one alternative to expansion anchors, plugs and lag shields. So grab a handful of these little blue fellas (not Smurfs) and anchor away!
I always thought I was lucky to live in Florida where I can drive in almost any direction and find a sunny beach to kick back and relax. While being surrounded by white sandy beaches and clear blue ocean seems like a paradise, it does have its occasional drawbacks. Hurricanes love the beaches as well and thanks in part to these stormy nightmares, our building codes are some of the most stringent in the world. Here, Tapcons can be found just about every place where building materials are anchored into concrete.
After Hurricane Andrew struck the Miami coast back in the early 90’s, a lot of research was applied to find out why so many structures failed during this catastrophic event. One thing researchers discovered was that many houses literally exploded during the storm. The prevailing theory used to be that when a major storm like a tornado or hurricane hit a home, the air pressure inside the home was less than the outside air pressure. To equalize said pressure, you only had to crack a window or door to equalize the pressure. Now we know that’s not only wrong, but a pretty dumb idea. Mythbusters even did an episode on this effect and found that leaving your windows open during a storm was “Myth Busted”.
What researchers discovered after Andrew was that many houses failed due to the outside increase in air pressure infiltrating the structure. That high pressure has to escape somewhere once its inside and that usually means the weakest point of the structure. It’s called “exploding house theory” and it’s not a pretty sight to witness.
A lot of folks are wise enough to board up their windows before a big storm to help protect the fragile glass from flying debris. But what they don’t realize is that even though the glass is protected with sturdy plywood, the window frame might not be held in place very well. No matter how much plywood they covered the windows with, the frame ends up tearing loose from the bucks because of the small screws and masonry nails that anchor it in place.
That’s where some good old Tapcons come to the rescue. Now, all new Florida-installed windows must have Tapcons penetrate through the window/door frame, through the 1×4/2×4 bucks and into the concrete block walls of the structure. We have to conform to 120 MPH wind loads and without the Tapcons in place, it just wouldn’t be possible. But Tapcons are not just for windows and doors. Tapcon also makes larger versions that are designed to replace sleeved concrete anchors like Red Heads.
While it may seem like overkill, it really makes for a strong window and door during a storm. Because Tapcons are so easy to install, it doesn’t take much additional work to conform to these windy building codes. Here’s how we installed the Tapcons in the windows and doors of the recent garage we built:
Tapcon supplied us with quite a few 3/16 x 2-3/4 –inch white concrete anchors for our project. Why are they so long? Minimum concrete embedment according to Tapcon is 1-inch with a maximum embedment of 1-3/4 –inch. Our print calls for a minimum embedment of 1-1/4 inches. Add in the width of the 3/4-inch bucks and 3/4-inch window frame and you end up with the exact embedment allowance on the print.
Installing a Tapcon is simple – just drill and drive. Tapcon not only provides you with the concrete anchors, they also give you a nice concrete bit to do the drilling for you. Purchase the Tapcon Condrive installation tool and the job is even easier – you only need one hammer drill/driver to do the job. Don’t forget your safety glasses!
When you drill a hole for a Tapcon, you’ll need to ensure that the depth of the hole is at least 1/4-inch deeper than the Tapcon is going to anchor into the material. This allows any debris from drilling or driving to get pushed back to the end of the hole and allow the Tapcon to fit snugly into the hole without debris choking up the threads of the Tapcon. I also like to squirt a bit of air from the compressor into the hole to clean away any debris before driving the Tapcon home.
Driving the anchor is easy enough, but it helps to have a hammer drill or impact driver do the hard work for you. A simple #2 Phillips bit drives the Tapcon into place but over-torque of the bit might end up stripping out the bit long before the head of the screw is damaged. Tapcons are pretty tough and if it wasn’t for these nifty little concrete anchors, there would be a lot more damage from high winds and nasty storms. So, whether you’re gearing your home up for the next big storm, or you just want convenient and hassle-free concrete anchoring for all kinds of projects are the home and jobsite, it’s always good to have a supply of Tapcons handy. Visit tapcon.com to learn more about concrete anchors. Happy drilling/driving!