Plastic and Lead Anchors
Attaching a hose reel or a pair of shelf brackets to a wood surface is a fairly uncomplicated project. Try the same job on concrete, brick or stone, and it quickly becomes real work. Although there are special fasteners designed for these jobs, it's easy to get confused about which to choose and how to install them so they'll never budge. Here, we show you the tools and techniques you need to work with masonry. We sort through the fasteners, pointing out which are best for the jobs most of us do once in a while, like attaching shelves to a concrete wall or hanging a trellis on brick.
Masonry anchors look different from one another, but they are alike in one respect: You'll need to drill a hole in the base material. Often, the depth and diameter of the hole are crucial to the holding ability of the anchor. So you should always follow manufacturer's instructions on hole depth and diameter carefully. If you have only a few small-diameter holes to drill, a corded electric drill will do fine. Newer 14.4V and higher-voltage cordless drills will be adequate for a limited number of holes, but don't try these jobs with smaller cordless models. If you have many holes to drill, or are boring holes of 3/8 in. dia. or larger, use a percussion drill, which is also known as a hammer drill. It will make the job go much faster. There are so many variables in the composition, hardness and density of masonry materials that it's not easy to provide rules of thumb for drilling, says Walter Knepper, president of DrilTec Inc., a Ridgeland, Mississippi--based bit manufacturer. It takes the right combination of pressure and drill speed, and trial and error is probably the best approach. After drilling a few holes, you should get a feel for what works best. Although the list of anchors featured here is by no means comprehensive, it does include the ones most of you will need. Not included in the list are expensive epoxy systems, cast-in-place anchors (which are used in new concrete construction) and powder-actuated fasteners (which are driven by .22- or .25-caliber blanks). Powder-actuated fasteners are fast and versatile, and are available at most home centers or hardware stores. However, if you're going to use powder-actuated fasteners, make sure you get training. There's serious risk of injury if you do not use the tool correctly.
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