Special screws, a drill, and the proper technique are required to put screws in concrete. The only screws that can penetrate concrete are special concrete screws, and you need the best electric concrete vibrator to drill a hole through the dense material.
Concrete screws come in various lengths, and it’s essential to have a few different sizes on hand.
Because concrete is a dense material, you’ll need a screw to penetrate 1-inch, plus an inch more than the thickness of the material you’re connecting to the concrete to ensure the screw is firmly embedded.
When using concrete screws, knowing how to drill the hole is key as when dust collects inside the drill hole, you’ll need to add a little extra depth. A hammer drill is ideal for this since it allows you to modify the depth of the hole, ensuring that it is neither too shallow nor too deep.
For concrete work, there are two types of screw heads: hex head and flat head Phillips. Hex screws are easier to drive in, but they don’t look as attractive because the caps are raised and can’t be flush with the surface; therefore, the location of the screw determines your option.
Align the screw before driving it in with a steady low-to-medium pressure on the drill. Drive the screw in at a slow speed to avoid damaging the threads and breaking the screw head. (Find the Best Screwdrivers)
When installing screws in concrete, you may encounter difficulties. If you’re having difficulties driving the screw in, it’s possible that the hole isn’t deep enough or that there’s too much dirt inside.
It all sounds simple, yet with concrete, if the screw won’t tighten and spins, you may need to put a plastic anchor into the hole and drive the screw directly into the anchor.
Concrete is not as forgiving as wood, so here in our guide, you can learn how to use concrete screws, screws for concrete walls and much more to make your task neater and safer.
Can You Screw Directly Into Concrete?
If you ask if you can use regular screws in concrete, the answer is yes and no. If using plastic anchors in your holes, then yes; however, there are screws where you can leave these out and screw directly to the concrete.
Here’s how to screw into concrete wall.
Mark Your Surface
Determine the location and mark where you wish to drill a hole in the concrete.
Make sure there aren’t any obstructions behind the concrete or anything that can be harmed when drilling. Water pipes, electrical wiring, and ducting should all be checked.
Prepare Your Drill
Set the drill’s depth stop to 1/4 inches beyond the depth you want your hole to be. Wrap a small piece of masking tape around the drill bit at the desired depth mark if the drill does not have a depth guide or stop bar. (Read Sockets Sizes in Order Guide)
Fit a carbide masonry bit of the desired size to the hammer drill.
Wear safety goggles, work gloves, ear protection, and a mask when drilling into concrete.
Drill a Guide Hole
The suitable size drill bit is frequently included in the package when purchasing concrete screws. Otherwise, use a 5/32-inch bit for concrete screws with a diameter of 3/16-inch and a 3/16-inch bit for screws with a diameter of 14-inch.
Working with masonry can wear out bits faster, resulting in poorly drilled holes. Keep spare bits of a suitable size on hand.
Purchase hex head concrete screws, which are easier to work with than flat-head screws, if beauty is not a concern.
Drill Pilot Hole
Hold the drill in one hand and brace the back of the drill with your non-grip hand if the drill does not have a handle. Ensure to drill with the tip of the drill perpendicular to the mark you made on the concrete.
For optimal control, start the drill at the lowest speed and drill forward with a steady, delicate touch; don’t force your drill.
Drill to a depth of 1/8- to 14-inch in the guide hole, stop sweeping or blow any concrete dust away, and remove the drill.
Remove any dust accumulated in the guide hole with a gentle blow or use a vacuum if working indoors. (Read Tool To Remove Lug Nuts)
Drill Your Hole
Replace the drill in the pilot hole, making sure it is parallel to the surface.
Start your drill by pushing forward with forceful but not overpowering pressure.
To help eliminate concrete dust from the hole, run the drill at a slow to medium speed and pull the drill out frequently.
If you meet an obstruction, stop your drill and remove the blockage from the hole, and insert a masonry nail with the tip touching the block.
To break up the barrier, lightly tap the masonry nail with a hammer, but don’t drive the nail all the way through.
Stop the drill after the hole is at the correct depth and brush away the accumulated concrete dust outside the hole. After that, take the drill out of the hole and vacuum or blow out as much dust as possible.
Use Anchors If Required
If you are not using the right screws or the hole is larger than you expect, you may need to use an anchor.
Make sure the anchor is the same size as the concrete screw.
To accommodate the anchor, widen the drill hole. The hole should be slightly smaller than the anchors’ maximum width.
Clean off any concrete dust before pressing the anchor into the hole until it’s flush with the surface. With a hammer, lightly tap in.
Drive the fasteners into the wall until it is secure in the anchor fastening.
Do I Need to Drill a Pilot Hole for Concrete Screws?
If you wonder, can you screw into concrete, self-tapping screws tap their own heads, which means they require a pilot hole drilled ahead of a larger hole and possibly an anchor to serve as a guide? (Find the Best Drill Press)
With everything in place, you may drive the tapping screw into the material, where the threads of the fasteners will dig in.
Here’s a quick look at how to put screws in concrete; concrete floor screws are typically larger yet follow the same sort of procedure when fixing into concrete.
The average depth for drilling concrete screws is 1/4 inches deeper than the screw’s length. To avoid shearing off the head of your screw, don’t drill your pilot hole any deeper than 3/4 inches. However, to ensure a secure fit, the screw should be driven at least one inch deep.
It’s critical to drill the pilot hole deeper than the length of your concrete screws to guarantee that any dust from the concrete or brick doesn’t go in the way of the concrete screws cutting threads.
When looking how to use masonry screws for fixing materials like concrete block, it used to be extremely difficult and time-consuming, but introducing self-tapping concrete screws has become easier.
Self-tapping screws, like concrete screws, require the user to mark a site for the pilot hole, unlike self-drilling screws, which do not require pilot holes due to their drill bit end.
Bits are usually smaller than screws because they drill the pilot hole, which must be smaller than the screw itself for the concrete screws to cut their own threads as they are driven in. Drill a pilot hole, clean it, and then insert the concrete screws.
Match the head of the concrete screw to a drill bit and drive it carefully and steadily into the material in question. Ensure you don’t place screws too close together, as they will cause concrete to break down and weaken. (Read Drills Versus Drivers)
Do You Need Special Screws for Concrete?
When you ponder over what kind of screws for concrete, you’ll find certain ones are becoming more common.
Purchase a selection of lengths so you have the right screw size handy. Choose a screw length to penetrate 1 inch of concrete past the material you are fixing.
To get the minimum length of the screw, multiply the thickness of the material you’re attaching by one inch for hard stone or masonry. In soft brick, use longer screws, up to 1-3/4 in.
Blue concrete screws come in various lengths, and with some packs, the drill bit tools are included.
Concrete screws typically come in two diameters, 3/16 in. and 1/4 in most home operations like installing shelves, screwing walls to concrete floors, and fastening hardware to concrete block or brick, are best suited to 3/16-in. diameter screws.
The 3/16-in. size is usually the preferred choice, yet if your screws snap off because the concrete is too hard, replace it with a stronger 1/4-in. diameter screws.
You can use a carbide-tipped bit in a standard drill for drilling pilot holes in less thick materials like soft brick, yet in most circumstances, hammer drills are recommended. You can use corded hammer drills or cordless, and you can even hire a hammer drill if it is a one-off task.
Carbide-tipped bits can come with screw packs, or you can buy them separately; just ensure the bit you’re using is the right size for the screw:
- 3/16-in. screws – use a 5/32-in. bit
- 1/4-in. screws – use a 3/16-in. bit
Concrete screws come in flat head Phillips or hex head varieties. Use Phillips head screws if the screw head must be flush with the surface or when a Phillips head would look nicer. Otherwise, hex head screws should always be chosen.
For the 3/16-in. screws, you need to use a 1/4-in. hex driver, and for larger 1/4-in. screws, you’ll need a 5/16-in. hex head driver.
Keep extra No. 2 & No. Phillips head bits on hand if using Phillips head screws.
To save time, you can use two drills or buy an installation kit. When using a hammer drill, use a masonry bit, and in a variable speed drill, use a driver bit. Doing this and you won’t switch bits as often.
Alternatively, purchase an installation tool. It includes Phillips and hex head bits to drive both 3/16-in. and 1/4-in. screws and lest you switch from drilling to driving easily.