If you have an old concrete surface that you want to renovate, remove, or just work on, then something that you may need to do is to remove concrete anchors. They are of course very important when it comes to securing various structures to concrete, but that said, they do sometimes need to be removed, and exactly how to do so is what you will learn here today.
Be aware that there are many different types of concrete anchors out there, and they are divided into two categories, male and female. So exactly how you will remove the anchor in question depends on what kind it is.
How to Remove Female Concrete Anchors
The first type of concrete anchor that you may need to remove is a female concrete anchor. Female concrete anchors feature a tube or sleeve with female threads, which is placed into a pre-drilled hole in the concrete. The sleeve or tube is then forced to expand, with some even locking into place. The female concrete anchor tends to be much easier to remove than the male concrete anchor, so let’s first take a look at these.
Now, do keep in mind that with female concrete anchors, there is nothing actually protruding above the concrete’s surface, so in many cases, female concrete anchors can be left in place without any negative consequences. However, if you do need to remove them, the following methods (broken down by anchor type should work fine.
1. Lag Shield Anchors
If you are dealing with female concrete anchors that use a screw in order to expand the sleeve and to keep the anchor in place, then removing it may be as simple as unscrewing the screw, which will cause the sleeve or tube to contract, therefore allowing you to simply remove it.
If unscrewing the screw did not do the trick, you may need to use a pair of pliers to pull the anchor out. Remember that this type of anchor can technically be left in the hole, as it does not protrude above the surface.
2. Drop-in Anchors
Drop-in concrete anchors are inserted into concrete while it is still setting, and a setting tool is used to get them into place. Once the anchor is set in the concrete, it cannot be removed without damaging the base concrete. Now, with that being said, do keep in mind that as with all female anchors, once the threaded rod or bolt is removed, the anchor itself will not actually be visible above the surface, which means that you may not actually need to remove it.
If you are having trouble removing the threaded rod, the easiest way to deal with this is to either saw or grind it right off, or if the hole below is deep enough, simply use a hammer or mallet to pound the whole thing down until it is no longer visible above the surface.
3. Machine Screw Anchors
This type of concrete anchor is also set into place using a special setting tool, and once they are in place, they can also not be removed without damaging the concrete base. As with all female anchors, once the threaded rod or bolt is removed, the anchor itself will not actually be visible above the surface, which means that you may not actually need to remove it.
Just like with drop-in anchors, to remove the threaded bolt, you may simply pound it down into the hole (if it is deep enough), or you may be able to grind or cut it off with a variety of tools.
How to Remove Male Concrete Anchors
When it comes to removing male concrete anchors, this is a little harder to do, mainly because the fastening portion on the male anchor is visible and protrudes above the surface of the concrete.
In other words, unlike with a female concrete anchor where you just have to remove the threaded rod and can leave the anchor in the concrete without it being visible, for male concrete anchors, the anchoring mechanism itself must also be removed, and exactly how you do this will depend on the specific type of male concrete anchor in question, so let’s take a look.
1. Tapcon Concrete Screws
This is a special type of male concrete anchor that is very similar to the female lag concrete anchor. This is because it features a threaded screw that literally threads into the concrete. To remove these, all you have to do is to use a drill or other such tool to unthread the screw from the concrete. Beware that you cannot reinsert a Tapcon anchor into the same hole twice, as it will not hold properly.
2. Wedge Anchors
First off, if the hole beneath the anchor is deep enough, then you can simply use a hammer or mallet to pound it down into the concrete. Second, if this is not a possibility, you can always use a grinding wheel or a saw to cut the anchor off just above the surface of the concrete. What you can also try doing is using a bolt breaker to literally break it off from the surface of the concrete.
3. Hammer Drive Anchors
Hammer drive anchors are perhaps some of the hardest male concrete anchors to remove, and it’s because they have a tamper-resistant head that needs to be removed before the main fixture can be removed.
To remove the tamper-resistant head, you will need a hacksaw or a cut-off wheel to cut off the head of the hammer drive anchor. Once the head has been removed, you will then need to use a very strong and high-speed drill bit to literally drill the anchor out of the concrete.
In other words, you need to use a drill to disintegrate it piece by piece.
4. Split Drive Anchors
Split drive anchors also have a special tamper-resistant head that first needs to be removed with a cut-off wheel or a hacksaw. Once the head has been removed, you may be able to pound the rest of it down into the concrete using a hammer or mallet. If that is not possible, you may have to pry the anchor out of the concrete using a pry bar and a hammer.
5. Strike Anchors
Two, remove a strike anchor, you will first need to remove the nut and washer from the anchor and then, if the hole is deep enough, pound it down into the concrete with a hammer. However, if this cannot be done, you will need to remove the section above the concrete using a saw or cut off wheel, or you may also use a bolt breaker.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
In case you are having trouble removing the fixture from the ground, follow the tips as outlined below. Sometimes, removing the bolt and washer is easy, but removing the actual anchor itself can be a challenge, especially when male anchors are involved.
- If the hole is deep enough, always try pounding it down into the concrete first, as this is the easiest method.
- If pounding it down is not an option, then the next best thing to do is to use a cut-off wheel or a special type of saw to cut off whatever protrudes from the surface.
- In case you are having trouble removing the fixture from the concrete, you should use a pry bar and a hammer to pry it loose from the concrete.
- In some cases, you may break the fixture so that it still protrudes above the surface, but cannot be removed. If this is the case, you may need to use a grinder to flatten out any protruding sections.
- Another option that you have at your disposal, especially if you’re not worried about damaging the concrete below, is to use a chisel to chisel under the head of the anchor and then pull it out with vise grips or good pliers.
There you have it folks, everything you need to know about removing the various types of male and female concrete anchors.