Volume 46, Issue 2 - March 2007

Freeze! Put Down the Hammer and Step Away From the Concrete …

Fastening Wood Sales to Concrete Construction

Concrete is catching up. At least that’s what both the National Association of Home Builders’ Research Center’s Builder Practices Survey and research conducted by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) say. In 2005, one in every six new, single-family, detached housing starts was a concrete home (17.9 percent), according to the NAHB. The PCA says that number represents an increase from 16.3-percent in 2004. For those of us linked to the building products industry, that’s an eye-opening statistic. 

Furthermore, consumer interest in concrete building products, such as counter tops and floors, is on the rise. While this growing trend is good news for concrete contractor Jim Peterson, it poses somewhat of a challenge to building products and millwork providers.

Recognizing an opportunity, Peterson formed an online information network of all things concrete, designed to bring together products, services and consumers. Now president and founder of Concrete Network, Peterson said he views merging wood with concrete as a natural progression that’s creating a world of opportunity. He knows designers that construct entire kitchens with concrete, but add the same wood cabinets and trim you would find in traditional construction. 

Merging wood with concrete used to be easier said than done, but technology has come a long way since the cut (masonry) nail. Distributors and dealers that would prefer to ride the concrete wave to added success can do so by offering mill products and fasteners designed to merge the two worlds.

Fastening technology can do more than attach wood to concrete; it can attach wood and lumber sales to concrete construction. 

History of Concrete
Cement is a powdered mixture of inorganic compounds, which, when combined with water, creates a chemical reaction known as hydration. The resulting product hardens and bonds together components suspended in the mixture. Common concrete is generally composed of Portland cement, sand, gravel and water.

Throughout time, human beings have formed and poured concrete to produce hardened ground surfaces, walls and even structural shapes. Eventually steel and fiberglass were incorporated into the form and mixture, making virtually unlimited possibilities for shape and design.
12,000,000 B.C. Reactions between limestone and oil shale occurred during spontaneous combustion to form a natural deposit of cement.
6,500 B.C. A form of concrete was recently discovered in Syria from about this time.
5,600 B.C. Earliest form of concrete discovered in Europe, used to form floors in huts along the Danube River in Yugoslavia.
3,000 B.C. The Chinese used a cement material to bond together bamboo for boats and construction of the Great Wall.
2,500 B.C. Egyptians used straw and mud to bind bricks. They also used gypsum and lime mortars in the Great Pyramids.
300 B.C. Romans used volcanic ash with animal fat, milk and blood.
1779 A.D. Bry Higgins was issued a patent for hydraulic cement, or stucco, used as an exterior.
1824 A.D. The well-known Portland cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin of England and named after high-quality building stones quarried at Portland, England.
1867 A.D. Rebar was added to concrete forms.
1970s (A.D.) Fiber was added to concrete mixtures.

Tapcon® Gets Better With Age
ITW Buildex, a member of the Illinois Tool Works (ITW) Construction Products company – a fastening systems manufacturer headquartered in Itasca, Ill., has announced design improvements for its Tapcon concrete anchors. The company says its Advanced Threadform Technology™ provides up to a 30-percent reduction in installation torque and is ideal for storm shutter attachments and window coverings during the hurricane season.  www.itwbuildex.com

Put Away the Ol’ .22
Fastening 2 by 4’s to concrete has become faster and easier these days. Powers Fasteners Inc, a fastening and anchoring product manufacturer from Brewster, N.Y., has introduced the C4-LT Trak-It® Tool, which it says is the industry’s first gas-fired tool with sufficient power for fastening wood to concrete quickly and easily.

Powers says this tool uses a Trak-It gas cartridge and chamber that provide a powerful charge for firing 2½-inch pins through a 2 by 4 and into a concrete base material. It also says the new tool offers reliability, speed, convenience and other features and benefits it associates with the Trak-It gas-firing system.  www.powers.com.

Feel the Burn with Caliburn
GRK Fasteners of Thunder Bay, Ontario, manufactures the Caliburn concrete screw. The screw, available in lengths from 1 ¾ inches to 5 inches, comes with three different head types: Caliburn, which has a smaller head for fastening metal plates which feature recessed screw holes; Caliburn PH (Pan Head), which has a flat undersurface for hanging electrical boxes; and Caliburn XL, which has a large washer head for greater drawing power. In addition, Caliburn is available with the exclusive Climatek coating and has a star-drive recess. www.grkfasteners.com

© Copyright 2007 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.