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Benefits of Chemical Anchors

You probably use both chemical and mechanical anchors regularly and have your own criteria for choosing between them. But as chemical anchors and the resins and other adhesives that hold them in place become more advanced, their benefits are increasing, outweighing the negatives of what many contractors and other building professionals consider a fiddly insertion process.

Specifically, chemical anchors have an advantage over mechanical anchors under challenging climates, as well as in lightweight or cracked concrete, masonry, and hollow substrates. This is because chemical anchors are airtight and don’t put pressure on small points within the substrate, spreading it across the entire length of the anchor, with the adhesive taking most of the load.

Chemical Anchors Are Air Tight And Waterproof

As you inject a resin into your borehole when installing a chemical anchor and then push in a stud, rebar, or rod, the anchors end up completely airtight and waterproof when properly installed. This is because the chemicals used to install it fill irregularities and cracks within the substrate and create a seal at the hole’s entrance.

This means that some chemical anchors, particularly pure epoxy and hybrid systems, can be used in serious industrial settings, will last very well in adverse weather conditions when installed outside and as part of infrastructure projects like roadways and bridges, and can even be installed underwater in some cases.

Chemical Anchors Go Deep

Unlike mechanical anchors, which have a maximum embedment depth, chemical anchors can be embedded to almost any depth. The basic math is 20x the diameter of the rod, meaning rods of almost any length can be embedded into a substrate, and increased load capacity will come with increased depth.

Chemical adhesives can even be used to fix rebar into concrete post-installation, creating very strong concrete-to-concrete bonds.

Chemical Anchors Have More Spacing Options

Because mechanical anchors exert pressure at specific points versus chemical anchors’ even load baring capacities and the fact that the adhesive used bares much of that load, chemical anchors can be placed in ways that mechanical anchors can’t.

Specifically, chemical anchors can be placed at the fragile edges of concrete or masonry structures where mechanical anchors would cause cracking and may come loose.
Adhesive Anchors - Benefits of Adhesive Anchors | Man in safety vest using adhesive anchors
Chemical anchors can also be grouped together in ways that mechanical anchors can’t, so several anchors can be used together to support a particularly heavy load.

Chemical Anchors Work In A Variety Of Substrates

Another benefit of chemical anchors is the variety of substrates they’re suitable for use in. For the same reasons, they can be placed at the edges of concrete and closely together, and they work well in brick, block, masonry, most kinds, porous concrete, cracked or old concrete, and green concrete.

That said, the tension load of chemical anchors in cracked concrete and less common substrates like sandstone, limestone, or green concrete isn’t predictable. This means you should carry out a tension load test post-installation and curing as well as carry out all the usual steps during installation to make sure of a strong bond between the stud and the chemical and the substrate and the chemical.

Additionally, chemical anchors are flexible if you need to make a quick fix or adjustment post-installation. With epoxies and other chemical adhesives taking a minimum of 24 hours to cure, if you notice a mistake in time, you can deal with it far easier than if you’d made a similar mistake with a mechanical anchor.

Chemical Anchor Installation

Chemical anchor installation is often seen as more difficult or complex than mechanical anchor installation. In actual fact, it’s almost as simple. You just have to stick to a few basic rules, and you’ll install a chemical anchor perfectly every time!

  1. Drill a borehole of the correct width and depth. While getting a perfect hole exactly ½ inch longer than your anchor isn’t as important with chemical anchors as it is with mechanical, the hole should be large enough to hold both your bolt or rod and an appropriate amount of adhesive. Drill your hole too big, and you’ll waste adhesive, which can be expensive depending on the type you are using.

  2. Clean your hole thoroughly. This is easier if you have used a hollow drill bit, but no matter how you have created your borehole, making sure it is completely free of dust and debris is key to successful chemical anchor installation. Use compressed air and a wire brush to make sure the length of the hole is clear. Even just a thin layer of dust will inhibit chemical bonding with your substrate, making your anchor weak and not fit for purpose.

  3. Insert your chemical adhesive. If it is a two-part mixture, as many of the best options are, you have to make sure the parts are properly mixed at this point.

  4. Finally, insert your rod, stud, or rebar and check that there is enough adhesive around it to form an airtight seal. You can adjust the anchor as the chemical adhesive is curing, but if you have to do this, make sure the epoxy seal remains tight.

Chemical Anchor Strength

Chemical anchors vary in strength, and the load they can bare also varies based on the substrate they’re placed in. As the chemical bond distributes load evenly and avoid stress points, they can be much stronger than mechanical in many circumstances.

As an example, if you use a Quikrete high-strength epoxy as your adhesive, a pullout strength of 28,000 lbs can be achieved after 24 hours of curing time at 75 °F if you use a 5/8” threaded rod used as your anchor.

Why White Cap

At White Cap, we have everything you need to install chemical anchors on your next project. Whether you’re working with concrete, masonry, or brick, we have an epoxy resin that’s perfect for your needs. We also have all the necessary accessories for a successful installation, including steel wire brushes and hollow drill bits.

With next-day delivery, you’ll get your building supplies quickly whether you visit your local White Cap store or buy online. And if you need help or advice choosing the correct chemical anchoring system and the accessories needed to install it, you can get in touch with a local White Cap expert who will give you a call within two hours. Our experts have years of experience in construction and can even give area-specific advice about things like weather conditions and the likelihood of seismic activity.
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