5 Considerations to Step up Your Fastener Game
A guide for fastener decision making
By Mike Dill
If you’re like most masons, you continue to perfect your craft and work smarter each day. One way of doing this is to review the types of decisions you make for each project and determine if you could or should make them differently. One such example is in choosing fasteners.
Some masons regard fastener selection as a simple “toss in the cart” decision that happens in-store. However, that approach can add up to trouble, if you haven’t chosen the best fastener for the job. Professionals need fasteners that fit their specific projects at hand and meet or exceed the industry standards.
To help take your work to the next level, a list of five key considerations has been compiled to serve as a guide to choosing the right fastener for the job.
Consideration 1: Does the fastener’s type fit the needs of the job?
Every fastener has an intended use, and often, factors like the head shape or style, shank size, and finish will help a renovator match the right fastener to the task at hand. For example, fasteners made from stainless steel might provide the right amount of corrosion protection for an outdoor job using wood materials, but may not have the right thread form or diameter to make a secure attachment to the structure. It’s important to take all of a fastener’s attributes into consideration when choosing which one to use.
Consideration 2: Does the fastener meet or exceed industry standards?
Fastener manufacturers produce and test to industry-developed standards, such as those created by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM International) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These organizations ensure that materials and processes meet standardized industry agreed-upon performance. For wood, concrete and masonry fasteners and anchors – and many other types, professionals also should look for a test report developed by the International Code Council (ICC). This assures structural engineers and inspectors that the product has been rigorously tested to meet specific applications in the field.
Consideration 3: Does the manufacturer stand behind its products?
The importance of product warranties and support can’t be overestimated. Check that the fasteners you’re considering have backup to their warranty claims. Claims of a multi-year or “lifetime warranty” are common, but may not be backed by a reputable company that offers timely field support and customer service. Check the product’s packaging and website, or call its customer service line to ensure the right kind of warranties are in place for the needs of the project.
Consideration 4: How simple is the installation?
Technological innovations have made mechanical fastening simpler and more reliable than ever. Some fasteners can be installed with just a hammer drill, drill bit and sleeve/socket combo. But, be aware of the added costs – in both supplies and labor – that can come with purchasing certain fasteners that require an investment in special or additional tools and steps. All of this leads to lower productivity and profits.
Consideration 5: How are other trades talking about the product and its performance on the jobsite?
The best way to understand a fastener’s reliability is to listen to the experts. The professionals who use them every day will understand their pros and cons. Be sure to actively search reviews online through general searches, industry message boards, and trade publications to get a full range of peer feedback.
If you keep these five considerations in mind, you will be well positioned to deliver high-quality results on your projects.
Mike Dill is innovation manager for ITW Construction, Remodeling and Renovation.
Images courtesy of Tapcon