Tapcon Screws Not Holding? : Anchoring It Right!

“I tried to come up with a way to install my shelf on a brick wall. I hear Tapcon screws are great for such tasks.

But then, once I started threading them in, I felt they were not seated properly.

Ultimately, my suspicions became true as I tried to mount the shelf. It just wasn’t the perfect fit. What am I supposed to do now?”

We’re pretty sure many of you are facing similar issues regarding Tapcon screws not holding.

Overall, it all just comes down to basic workmanship. We will talk about how you can mount Tapcon screws to your cinder hollow walls in the proper way.

It’s time we start with the steps.

Tapcon: Some background info about the brand

Tapcon concrete screw is one of the leading brands when it comes to the concrete wedge anchor bolt.

As a matter of fact, there are very few brands that have gained the level of trust that they have.

Introduced back in the ’70s, these Tapcon concrete screw anchors had a few distinct features. Among some of its key offerings, 20-30% less torque with a 20% increase in the holding power made a great impact in the professional community.

Not only that, the Tapcon anchoring system, which also has high-precision drilling tools, came out as a great concrete anchoring ecosystem. The tools were reliable with pinpoint accuracy and usability.

Moreover, their customer support added more to their cause, slowly making them one of the best brands in the market.

As of right now, they are one of the more dependable and consistent options for homeowners and professionals because of their solid product design.

How do Tapcons work

We use Tapcons screws for a light-duty fastening. These concrete screws have built-in special threads.

The purpose of these threads is to thread into a material’s predrilled hole. Some of the masonry screw materials are brick, concrete blocks, and concrete.

The drywall screws tap the threads through the hole surrounding the material. In this way, they embed it into the material. The threads should have a proper cut for tapping into the installation material.

To ensure proper installation, you should remove the debris and dust from the hole.

Concrete Screws: Where don’t they fit?

The title of this part of the discussion is pretty self-explanatory.

There are certain scenarios where a concrete anchor just won’t work. Some of the unfit states include:

  1. Sandy bases aren’t suitable for concrete anchors. The concrete screws just won’t sit properly because of the surface type.
  2. Too hard of a base will not work either. The concrete screws threads won’t be able to seat themselves properly, which is something you wouldn’t want.
  3. The same goes for the abrasive base material as well. If the base material isn’t up to the required point, then the thread may stop gripping. As a result, there won’t be enough clasping force to go on about.
  4. There is a maximum embedding value for almost all concrete fasteners. A standard measurement of such an is around ¾-inch of the total length of the screw head. If you try to push hex screws further down, then there is the possibility that the lag screw might shear off.

Installing concrete anchors: Doing it right

This is the part where we will tell you how to install Tapcons into concrete.

In order for our readers to understand, we will be dividing the steps into three major parts. So, without any further delay, let’s get started with Tapcon anchors: 


  • Determining the screw length

This is the very first thing you should do before installing a Tapcon anchor.

In order to find out the length, you need to find out the material thickness plus the minimum embedding length of an inch.

Add the wedge anchors material thickness to 1-3/4 inches, and you have the proper length.

  • Prepping the drill

A hammer drill is pretty much the right way to install a Tapcon screw. It helps to get the right amount of tolerance you need.

The hammer drill must be in the ‘hammer and rotation mode. This will allow the proper cleaning of the concrete material. Also, using the proper tip is a necessity as well.

Another thing to make sure of is that it meets the ANSI standards. This will help you with the tolerance issue.

  • Choosing the correct diameter

It’s a very important step for the proper seating of the screw.

For example, for a 3/16-inch screw, the carbide bit diameter is 5/32-inch.

  • Getting the correct hole tolerance

If the hole tolerance is correct, then the screw will sit properly. In order to do this, you need to maintain proper ANSI standards.

Hole depth and installation

  • Getting the hole depth right

The hammer drill must have the proper setting to reach the proper depth. As the maximum embedding range is around 1-3/4 inches, it is crucial that the drill bit is seated in a proper way.

The minimum depth should be 1-1/2 inches, and the maximum depth should be 2-1/2 inches.

  • Get the debris out of the way

You may want to use a wire brush for this part. Twist and turn the wire to get the best possible results.

The drill hole has to be as clean as you can get for proper insertion of the screw.

  • Sit the screw into the hole

It’s time to get the Tapcon screws into the solid concrete stone hole. You can use a rotation drill for this purpose.

Try to be as precise as you can.

Post-installation tips

Here are some important post-installation tips to do the job properly :

  • Over torquing may be the cause of integrity loss as a whole. We would recommend you use your hand to get the screw in place. But if you are using a rotation drill, then be gentle with the process.
  • Shearing of the head is a common problem among DIY enthusiasts. Keeping the hole clean and going to the proper depth is the right remedy.
  • Always check the embedding depth and then insert the Tapcon screws. This is more of a safety check for proper installation.

Why are your Tapcons not holding?

The Tapcon threads become worn down because of over-tightening or driving. Some of them might also be ground away because of spinning against the concrete. 

Because of this, the concrete fastener will not hold. It is like over boring the masonry material bit with the whole. So be careful while snuggling it up, and don’t overtighten. 

Can you reuse Tapcons?

No, you can not reuse Tapcons. These screws are surely removable but not reusable. The cutting threads may destroy or compromise the holding power.

That’s why we don’t recommend reusing the same hole.


  • Do Tapcon screws need to be predrilled?

Yes, Tapcon screws need to be predrilled. These screws are for light-duty fastening. While dealing with Tapcon masonry screws materials like concrete, you need to predrill it. 

Because the threads of the Tapcon are designed to thread into a predrilled hole.

  • Do you need a hammer drill for Tapcon screws?

Yes, you will need a hammer drill for Tapcons screws. You should use a hammer drill that has a carbide-tipped bit as per the ANSI standards. 

To ensure that a hole diameter will meet a Tapcon’s requirements, you have to use a hammer drill meeting ANSI standards. 

  • Why won’t my drill go through concrete?

Concrete is hard, dense, and has embedded aggregate stones. As these materials work as an obstacle, drilling into concrete is hard.

Drilling will make the brill bits dull quickly. The drill bits drag even more when it encounters aggregate. 

  • Are Tapcons any good?

Tapcons are one of the most popular and well-marketed products money can buy. Because it is very unique and proprietary, they are costly.

Tapcons will let you anchor material to masonry products fast and reliably.

  • Can Tapcons be removed and reinstalled?

A  will have less to zero holding values if you remove it and then reinstall it in the same hole. The tapped threads of the base material will deteriorate because of removing and reinstalling it.

So you should not remove and reinstall Tapcons as they lose holding values.

  • Why do Tapcons break?

You should make a hole one or two inches deeper than the screw penetration capability for a Tapcon. Otherwise, the Tapcon screws will bottom out in the hole.

A Tapcon will shear off or break if you make a smaller hole and apply too much torque.


There’s plenty of things that can contribute to Tapcon screws not holding.

And it’s not always about getting the right tools. As a matter of fact, it’s often about doing the job in the proper way.

The steps we showed you today are just one way of doing it right. We’re sure there are other methods out there as well.

For good measure, you could check them out and combine the knowledge for a better outcome.

That’s all for today. See you again sometime!