Do It Yourself: Tips For Using Concrete Nails

If you need to attach an item to concrete, then you'll need to use a concrete nail. Find out how to choose the right one, along with some other important tips and safety precautions.

In construction, there are many different types of nails for countless applications. But if you're working with attaching a piece of wood or other material to concrete or masonry, then you'll need to use a specific type of nail: concrete or masonry nails. Concrete nails are specially made for this type of job because they are made stronger and heavier than common nails. If you tried to use a common nail to join wood and concrete together, the nail would probably bend over or break off. Even if you did manage to get a common nail into concrete or masonry, it wouldn't hold as well because it's not designed for this use.

Concrete nails come in different sized shanks and lengths so you can pick the best fit for the job. The ten gauge or twelve gauge sized shanks are designed for the hardest of concrete. They come in half inch, five eighths of an inch, three quarters of an inch and an inch long shanks.

Not all shanks are made equally either. The shanks are what hold the concrete nails into the material, so you'll need to choose the right one for the job at hand. Concrete nails with spiral shanks or with rings around them provide the best grip. The spirals or rings give the nails more clenching power.

In order to use a concrete nail, you should first put on protective eyewear. Then, you'll need to drive the nail into concrete or masonry with at least a twenty-ounce hammer and a lot of elbow power. Make sure that you start it out straight, because, once it's flat head becomes flush with the material, it will be difficult to remove. To remove it, you'll need to use a flat claw to get underneath the head. Then, you'll need to hammer the claw to remove the concrete nail.

You can put a concrete or masonry nail through wood and into a concrete or masonry wall by using the help of an electric power drill too. To insert a nail this way, you'll need to drill a hole through the wood. Then, you'll need to change the drill bit to a special masonry bit. Drill a hole into the material as well. The hole must be slightly smaller than the size of the nail shank. Then, place a metal anchor into the hole and push it through the wood with a screwdriver. Continue to push the metal anchor through until it is in the concrete or masonry.

Now, insert the concrete nail into the wood and tap it through gently. Then, you'll need to pound the nail into the anchor until anchor has spread out and gripped the hole and become secure.

There's a third way you can use a concrete nail, and save your elbow at the same time, and that's by installing it with a powder-actuated gun. These tools should not be used by beginners, as they can be as dangerous as a regular nail gun. Before you use a powder-actuated gun, make sure that you have read the manufacturer's directions and that you understand how to handle the tool.

To use this method, basically, you'll need to load the powder-actuated gun with the nails and with the power load. After the gun is positioned, you pull the trigger to operate it. The power load then forces the nail out of the gun and into the material you're attaching, and finally into the concrete or masonry.

So, the next time you need to attach wood, or an electrical box, shelving, or any other type of material to a concrete or masonry surface, choose a concrete nail. Also, choose the best way to pound, or otherwise force the nail into place so it will hold securely.

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