How to Install Concrete Wedge Anchors Like a Pro
Wedge anchors are the most universally used anchor by construction professionals. Knowing how to install concrete wedge anchors safely and efficiently is a critical skill for someone in construction to know. They play an important role in many concrete installation projects because of their holding power and effectiveness. This guide will cover the critical information you need to know to install wedge anchors like a professional.
Wedge Anchors and Their Uses
A wedge anchor is a type of mechanical, concrete anchor that is designed for use in solid concrete.
It is a threaded rod, one side having a cone-shaped end with a sliding expansion clip, the other side having a nut and washer on the end. It is installed by drilling a hole in the concrete, inserting the anchor in the concrete, and then tightening the nut down on the anchor with a torque wrench. As the nut is tightened down, the clip on the internal end grabs the concrete and wedges the anchor tightly in the hole. The anchor will not pull out at this stage. Only structural failure of the concrete will release the anchor from the concrete.
These types of anchors are required in large commercial buildings, schools, government buildings, and hospitals in earthquake zones on the west coast of the United States. Because of their strength and holding capacities, wedge anchors provide the greatest safety and security. Wedge anchors are commonly used in commercial and industrial construction and are suitable for use in a variety of applications, including attaching steel beams and columns to concrete walls and footings. They are used to hang pipes and ductwork on ceilings and walls. They are particularly useful for attaching heavy objects and heavy machinery to concrete.
Wedge anchors are considered more secure and provide better holding power than drop-in anchors. Wedge anchors have been shown to be remarkably effective even in earthquake zones where the concrete can crack, causing the anchor to slip. Earthquake-approved wedge anchors have stainless steel clips with very sharp edges that can grab the concrete even if slippage has occurred.
Tools Needed to Properly Install Wedge Anchors
Professional installers use a selection of tools to securely install wedge anchors, including:
- A hammer drill. A hammer drill is a power tool that is used to drill holes in concrete. It will include a properly sized carbide tipped masonry drill bit designed for hammer drilling.
- A blow tube or blow bulb to blow out the hole after drilling. All dust from drilling must be removed from the hole prior to installing the wedge anchor or the anchor may be at risk for slippage and failure.
- A wedge anchor setting tool to drive the wedge anchor into the concrete properly.
- A torque wrench to tighten the wedge anchor nut to the manufacturer’s recommendation to properly set the anchor.
How to Install Concrete Wedge Anchors in 7 Easy Steps
- Choose the correct size and wedge anchor prescribed by the manufacturer, architect, or structural engineer. Make sure the anchor is suitable for use in the concrete and that it is rated for the appropriate load capacity.
Wedge anchors are available in a variety of sizes and lengths to accommodate specific requirements in the construction project. Typical wedge anchors range in size from ¼” to 1”. But they can be much larger than that and almost any length up to 12” long. The most common size anchors are ¼” to ¾” and 3" to 6” long.
- Mark the proper location on the concrete where the anchor is to be installed.
- Use a hammer drill with a masonry drill bit to drill the hole to receive the anchor. Mark the drill bit with tape or a sharpie for the proper drill depth. Make sure the drill bit is the correct dimension recommended by the anchor manufacturer.
- Clean the hole thoroughly with a blow tube, compressed air, or a blow bulb to remove all dust and debris.
- Remove the nut and washer from the anchor.
- Insert the wedge anchor with the wedge end first and the threaded end out and install the wedge anchor into the concrete. This is best accomplished using a Set It FAST Setting Tool. Our setting tools ensure uniform installation without damage to the threaded end or damage to the concrete.
- Install the washer and nut on the anchor and tighten the nut to the manufacturer’s prescribed torque using the torque wrench.
- The installation is complete. You can now loosen the nut and attach the appropriate appliance to the anchor.
The variety and size of wedge anchors is so varied that it is essential to use the appropriate rated anchor for the specific application of its use. You must consider its pullout rating and shear strength. This information is available from the manufacturer and is usually prescribed by the structural engineer or architect on the project.
Safety While Installing Wedge Anchors
Care must be taken to install the anchors properly to achieve the manufacturer ratings. Anchors must be installed per the manufacturer’s recommendations and not damaged in the process. And they must be installed without damaging the concrete during installation. So, installation is a significant item in assuring a strong anchor for loading and safety.
To ensure uniform and proper installation, it is recommended that Set it FAST setting tools be used during installation. This is the wedge anchor setting tool of choice of professionals across the country. They fit SDS+ drills and take less time and energy to use, making installation less taxing.
It is essential that the proper safety gear be used when installing wedge anchors. That includes safety glasses, dust mask, ear protection and safety gloves. Safe methods and safe procedures must also be considered. Doing installations of anchors at elevation above the floor elevation should always be done from a stable platform like an electric scissors lift.
Uniform installation should be maintained of each anchor into the concrete without damaging the anchors or concrete. This requires the appropriate anchor setting tools.
The Faster, Safer Way to Install Wedge Anchors
Set It FAST setting tools are the faster, safer, easier way to install concrete wedge anchors. Their patented design protects the threaded end from damage when it is driven into the concrete. These anchor setting tools leverage the hammer drill, which is faster and more efficient than manually pounding into concrete with a regular hammer. See the full line of wedge anchor setting tools here.