Tag Archives: construction adhesive

Avoid Pex Tubing When Attaching Interior Walls

Slabs on grade are highly popular for barndominiums, shop houses (aka shouses), post frame homes, garages and shops. Many (mine included) use radiant in slab heat, meaning there will be PEX tubes in the floor to be avoided when attaching framed interior walls.

Reader STEVEN in AKRON writes:

“My wife and I are looking to build if we get some land. I would like to build a barndominium. How do you know when putting up the walls that you are not going into the radiant heat in the floor?

I am sure I will have more questions later.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

This article may prove helpful as you begin your barndominium journey: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/.

In Floor Heat System InstallationWhile I always recommend you closely follow layout plans with your tubes and take photos of tube placements prior to pouring, neither of these is a guarantee of missing tubes. You could rent a thermal imaging device to find your tubes, or do it in a more low-tech fashion: turn heat on high and once heated mop water over the entire floor surface. Areas drying first are tube locations. Use chalk to mark them. 

Radiant heat tubing in a concrete slab needs to be closer to the slab top than bottom, normally in the upper two inches of concrete. Proper anchorage to a slab has fasteners penetrating at least an inch into concrete. If you can guarantee your pex tubing will be no closer to the top of the slab than say an inch and one-half, you could use 2-1/2″ Ramset nails.

Personally, I prefer using Tapcon screws 

What you’ll need:

  • Tapcon screws – Be sure to get
    ones with hex heads. Don’t try to use a flat-head screwdriver to drive them!  3/16″ x 2-3/4″ screws will be getting you very close to your pex tubes,
  • A hammer drill
  • Several concrete drill bits
  • A hex head bit for drill fitting Tapcon head size 

How to attach walls using Tapcon screws

  1. Drill pilot hole
  • Drill a hole through 2×4 bottom plate center, every 16″ to 20″ inches.
  • Hold the bottom plate in place by standing on it if possible.
  • Use firm pressure, but don’t push too hard. Save your body, drill will do the work!
  • If using 2 3/4″ screws, put a piece of tape on bit 3″ from tip. (Drill 1/4″ deeper than depth of anchor plus 1 1/2″ for bottom plate.)
  1. Attach screw
  • For best results use a hex-head attachment on your power drill to secure screw. (Even the correct size flat-head screwdriver attachment will slip off frequently.)
  • Start off slowly until you’re through the bottom plate.
  • Speed up drill and drive anchor deep enough into concrete so the screw head is flush with bottom plate.

Make sure you have enough drill bits on hand. You’ll go through several as tips eventually wear out or break off. Repeat this process with each wall section.

Another method of attachment entirely avoids penetrating your concrete – construction adhesive. Make sure the slab is thoroughly clean and use a polyurethane adhesive. Polyurethane works if there is any moisture in the concrete or bottom plate and it has gap filling properties.

Please reach out to me any time with questions.

Construction Tape, Instead of Nails to Build Pole Buildings

Building TapeI’m always on board (pun intended) for new, interesting and different ideas. This one certainly qualifies!

German researchers are working on a quick-setting construction tape which can bond lumber members together. They’ve developed an adhesive tape, which sets in under a minute to reliably and durably bond together individual components.

The construction tape doesn’t dry out, so it can be applied to one member, and does not have to be immediately sealed to other pieces.

The entire process is possible because the adhesive material actually envelops a metal strip which serves as a heating system. When the construction tape is stuck onto a piece of wood, the part contacting the wood warms, allowing it to seep into the wood grains. It then cools, creating a bond. Stick another piece of wood on the other side of the tape, the same process is repeated, and the two pieces are sealed together.

While the process currently takes about a minute, the aim is to speed it up.

Researchers feel they have found the perfect adhesive, but they still are working on finding the ideal metal for the heating strip. Besides brass, scientists are also testing stainless steel and aluminum.

“As the adhesive tape is designed to be used primarily for load-bearing bonding in buildings, it has to possess structural strength and durable adhesive qualities,” says Dr. Andreas Zillessen of WKI (Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut).

The time frame for real life testing of the product is about six months away.

Imagine – instead of whacking my thumb with a framing hammer, I will now be able to permanently tape my hands together!