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Community and Q&A

Recommended Tools for Fastening Furring Strips to a Concrete Wall

PLIERS | Posted in General Questions on

Hi hope all is well. I started buidling basement walls on top of slab and have been drilling and tapconning my bottom plates in with a 18v cordless drill. Needless to say it is taking forever and I need more power. I keep burning and recharging batteries for every 2 holes. I don’t need to go through like butter but at least make some progress with a few minutes. They have a cheap corded 7amp hammer drill at the box store for $60. Will that be strong enough or I need to up it to more power. Also I’m going to be attaching 1×4 furring strips over 2in rigid foam. What is minimum tapcon size I need. I think the box store has 3 1/4 is that deep enough?

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  1. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #1

    Get a corded SDS drill and a SDS bit, it will make those holes in about 5 seconds each. You'll never go back to anything else. You can get a cheap one for under $100 on Amazon or at Harbor Freight. For an SDS drill Tapcon sized holes are nothing, even a cheap one will be fine.

  2. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #2

    Tapcons should be embedded between 1" and 1-3/4".

    Make absolutely sure you have the correct drill size for the fasteners you are using.

  3. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #3

    You want an SDS plus drill, which is the smaller version. These use a snap-in locking chuck that won't loosen when you run a rotary hammer. "Regular" drills -- including hammer drills -- will constantly loosen their chuck when drilling in masonry, and you'll gradually loose your mind constantly retightening them. Been there, done that. I'm never going back.

    Get one of the "good" SDS plus drill bits in the correct size for the tapcons you're using. I like the Bosch bits and use them almost exclusively. Yes, they look expensive compared to the "regular" "masonry" bits, but they last MUCH MUCH MUCH longer -- and they work better too! Trust me on this, there is NO comparison between the good SDS bits and regular carbide-tipped masonry bits. They aren't even close.

    When drilling, set the depth stop (lets you go faster), and keep the drill straight. DO NOT ROCK the drill while drilling. Tapcons are picky about their hole being the correct size, and rocking the drill while drilling will make an oversize hole.

    3-1/4" is not long enough. you need MINIMUM one inch imbedment. I would go for 1.5"" minimum, because tapcons can be finicky and don't always grab until you go in a bit deeper into the hole. I'd use 4" tapcons minimum here, probably longer.

    BTW, use hex head tapcons unless you need the face of the fastener flush with the face of the 1x4. Hex heads are much easier to drive. Use your shiny new SDS plus drill to drill the holes, and use your cordless drill with a nutdriver bit to run in the tapcons CAREFULLY with the clutch set. If you overtorque a tapcon, it will strip out the hole and you'll have to drill a new hole or use a larger tapcon.

    Another tip: I've found the larger diameter tapcons to by much easier to reliably install compared to the smaller ones. 1/4" diameter is the smallest I really use, and they are pretty finicky sometimes, especially in block. 5/16" diameter are FAR more reliable, and are much less likely to not hold securly compared to the 1/4" ones.

    BTW #2: I totally agree with everything DC has said here (except maybe for the "cheap drill", but I'm a bit of a tool snob so I'm biased :-), and it is CRITICAL to use the correct size drill bit for the fasteners you're installing.


  4. Expert Member
    Akos | | #4

    You don't want tapcons. Takes too long to set, can strip out or crack. Wastes too much time.

    It will mean a bit more searching but find some 3 1/2" or 4" split drive anchors ie:

    Except if you have soft block wall, +1 on SDS plus. I got a cordless one a while back, paid for itself in time saved strapping out a single room, never mind a whole basement.

  5. Patrick_OSullivan | | #5

    I, and many other people, hate Tapcons. Like has been said, get an SDS plus drill. Then use good non-masonry screws (GRK are readily available), and a piece of wire (rebar tie wire works, or scrap copper wire). My carpenter/friend taught me this, and it works like this:

    1. Drill hole
    2. Insert wire into hole
    3. Install screw
    4. Clip off excess wire

    The wire ends up deforming and filling the void and snugs the whole thing together. So much better than Tapcons. If you think I'm crazy, here's a video showing the approach:

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #7

      You can also use little strips of nylon zip ties for this. I've done this before. I'm not sure I'd trust them long term, but they work in a pinch.


    2. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #15


      Tapcons are finicky, but rather than go to all that trouble with regular GRK screws, just use their concrete ones. They are tough you can remove and reuse them.

  6. Expert Member
    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #8

      Those look similar to the ones Hilti makes. They work great -- drill hole, insert anchor, whack with rubber mallet, done. Their only downside is their price.


  7. PLIERS | | #9

    Thanks for all the advice. I will go out and get a SDS plus drill. I never bought anything that was good from HB, they are the cheapest but I think I will spend a bit more, somewhere between 100-200. Simpson makes a star drive mason screw, the star drive in any screw in my opinion is better to the point that I'm starting to hate a Philips screw. I'm assuming this will help somewhat, I plan to use glue also to help the screws out.

    My plan is to set a 2x4 on the ground. Place my furring strip resting on the 2x4 and use some PL foam adhesive to set it in place against wall. Place scrap wood against it as it dries. After glue dries drill my holes and screw in my masonry screws. Remove the 2x4 leaving a 1.5 inch gap on bottom, same with drywall. This way drywall and wood is off the floor. About how many screws per feet on the furring strip do I need?

    I'm a bit confused with the glue part. I have seen people use pl foam board adhesive and some have used just spray foam to attach foam board to the concrete. I have a spray foam gun, Which is actually better? Does one work better for gluing wood to foam and one for foam to concrete? Should I just use one for both applications? If I use spray foam all the box stores have window and doors, and big gap spray foam, I'm assuming if I use spray foam I'm using the big gap one.

  8. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #10

    Agree on the star screws. The hex tapcons as Bill mentioned are also good. Although you don't want to overtorque them, if they spin out they lose their holding power. The hole needs to be a little bit deeper than the screw so it doesn't bottom out.

    I don't like the sound of a 1-1/2" gap. You want an air seal against your concrete. I would either use a 1/2" piece to hold everything up, then remove it and fill the gap with spray foam. Or use a strip of 1-1/2" XPS foam and leave it. It would also be normal to use a pressure treated 2x4 there and leave it, that gives something to fasten the bottom edge of the drywall to (1/2" off the floor), if that edge is not fastened it will get beat up easily.

    Space your Tapcons 24".

    I would glue and screw at the same time, that way the screws hold the glue until it cures. The choice of glue depends on your walls, if they're flat PL adhesive works better but if they're irregular spray foam fills those gaps. Although it's not really necessary with furring strips. What is necessary is making sure the foam is air tight with either tape or spray foam at the top and bottom and at seams.

  9. PLIERS | | #11

    I think I left out some wording or maybe I'm still wrong. 2inches of foam board will be sealed against the concrete from floor to ceiling. The 2x4 I'm placing is just to help me line up the bottom of furring strip. When I remove the 2x4 there will still be foam board behind it and I can screw drywall to bottom of furring strip. The 1.5 inch gap is just from floor to wood and drywall not foam. Maybe this is still wrong, if that is the case I will put down pt on bottom of wall. I'm thinking I could also nail 1x4 or 2x4 pvc to bottom of furring strips. If 1x4 is fine for 1/2 inch drywall then I will save money on material. Then rest my drywall on top of pvc and screw bottom of drywall into bottom of furring strips. This way bottom trim will also be done with drywall

  10. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #12

    Hammer, a drawing would help here. I wouldn't leave an air gap on the floor either, unless you're required by code to float the walls (you'd only need to do this in an area with expansive clay soil issues).

    Use foam board adhesive, not canned foam, to attach foam board. I've tried both, canned foam tends to expand and push things out of alignment and is just a general PITA to use. Foamboard adhesive is just a special glue, so it sticks and holds but doesn't expand and move things around.


  11. Jon_R | | #13

    +1 on using a rotary hammer, not a hammer drill. Preferably a plug-in model.

  12. PLIERS | | #14

    Here is a amateur drawing, I didn’t use any software, when you use furring strips is the bottom suppose to touch slab? If that is case I need to use 1x4 pt furring strips? I’m assuming either way you can leave a drywall gap on bottom

    1. Expert Member
      NICK KEENAN | | #16

      You can't have untreated wood touch concrete. The usual thing would be to have a small piece of treated wood that the untreated wood rests on. What you're showing is fine too. If the furring strip is resting on a piece of wood on the floor, the weight is being carried by the floor and not the wall. For furring strips holding only drywall it's not an issue, if you were planning on hanging heavy cabinets it might be a consideration.

      In basements it's usual to hang the drywall 1/2" off of the concrete floor. The even make a tool called a kicker that allows you to lift the sheet with your foot while you screw it on:

      I forget what you decided for the flooring, but most floating floors require a gap along the edges to allow for expansion. So there's a gap under the drywall and a gap between the flooring and the wall. Cover that with baseboard, maybe a 1x3 piece of Azek. Baseboards take a lot of abuse , so I would make the gap below the furring strip only 1/2" or so to support the drywall and baseboard. Or if you have a piece of treated below the furring strip you can nail the baseboard into it too.

  13. PLIERS | | #17

    Thanks for the suggestion on tool. I’m actually going to order it, it will help me to hang drywall by myself. Of course it would require me to hang it vertically. To make my life easier once I have the rigid foam against the concrete I could either just use pt 1x4 furring strips and place it on the floor and up to ceiling and then screw it into concrete. If the baseboard takes a beating as you mentioned I could lay a pt 1x4 horizontal on the flat across the bottom of wall and rest my furring strips on top of it. Not sure if that makes sense or if it is even done this way.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #22

      Why would using the kicker require you to hang the board vertically?

      1. PLIERS | | #23

        You are right it can be used either way. I’m just thinking of how I have always seen it in pictures done vertically with a kicker

  14. PLIERS | | #18

    I think I’m going to use 1x4 pt for furring strips. I’m attaching denarmor plus paperless drywall. Do I need any kind of special drywall screw if I’m going into pt wood?

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #19

      You need a screw rated for use in pressure treated wood. Stainless is best/safest, but also most expensive. There are also multicoated screws that will work. I recommend torx or square drive heads too, phillips is just no fun.


    2. Expert Member
      NICK KEENAN | | #20

      The treatment chemicals in pressure treated wood are corrosive to steel. Deck screws are made for pressure treated. The expense of fasteners is one reason people don't usually use pressure treated on the interior unless it is in contact with moisture. Another is that pressure treated tends to warp a lot more than untreated wood.

      1. Expert Member
        BILL WICHERS | | #25

        >"Another is that pressure treated tends to warp a lot more than untreated wood."

        That's because it's "wet". If you specify "KDAT" lumber (Kiln Dried After Treatment), it's much less prone to warping.


  15. PLIERS | | #21

    So would it be safe to use regular wood as long as it is 1/2 off the ground? Might be easier job for me, don’t have to worry about special fasteners and warping

    1. Expert Member
      NICK KEENAN | | #24


  16. ChanetSmith | | #26

    Hello! It sounds like you're working on a basement project and looking for a more efficient way to secure your bottom plates. Let me address your questions:

    1.Choosing a Corded Drill: A 7-amp corded hammer drill can certainly provide more power and efficiency compared to an 18V cordless drill for drilling into concrete. For most basement applications, a 7-amp hammer drill should suffice, but the actual effectiveness may depend on the specific type and condition of the concrete you're working with. It's a good choice for general DIY projects and should save you a lot of time compared to your current setup.

    2. Tapcon Screw Size: The choice of Tapcon screw size depends on the thickness of the materials you are joining and the depth of your concrete. If you're attaching 1x4 furring strips over 2-inch rigid foam, a 3 1/4-inch Tapcon screw should be deep enough. It's generally recommended to use a Tapcon screw that is at least 1 inch longer than the combined thickness of the materials you're fastening. In your case, a 3 1/4-inch Tapcon should be appropriate, but you can always double-check by measuring the depth you need to drill into the concrete to ensure a secure attachment.

    What is Spray Foam Insulation:
    Spray foam insulation is a type of insulation material that is applied as a liquid and expands into a foam when it comes into contact with air. It's commonly used to insulate various parts of a building, including walls, roofs, and basements. There are two main types of spray foam insulation: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-cell foam is less dense and provides some sound insulation while allowing for moisture vapor to pass through. Closed-cell foam is denser and offers a higher R-value (thermal resistance) and acts as a moisture and air barrier. Spray foam insulation is known for its excellent thermal performance and ability to seal gaps and crevices, making it an effective choice for improving energy efficiency in homes and buildings. For more information visit at

    I hope this information helps you with your project. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!

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