How to Use Frame Fixings

August 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm
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Frame fixings are a type of heavy duty fixing which fits between screws (with Rawl plugs) and Rawl bolts in terms of their fixing capacity. Typically they’re used for attaching wooden articles, such as timber window frames, posts for fencing, or bearers for pergolas and other structures to concrete, walls or other types of masonry.

This type of fixing can be mistaken for a very large screw with its own Rawl plug already attached. The principles behind the fixing are the same, in that the plastic sleeve (or plug) usually has ribbing that makes it very difficult to pull out of the hole once inserted, which is then made even harder once the screw is tightened and the sleeve forced against the sides of the hole. The key difference is that with frame fixings, the entire fixing including the plastic sleeve is inserted into BOTH the item to be attached, and the surface that it’s being attached to. By comparison, a Rawl plug would be inserted into the target hole, the item to be fixed placed over it, then the screw is finally pushed through the item and meets the Rawl plug in the target hole.

Tools

Frame fixings (these are available in varying sizes from 80mm to around 200mm)
Drill (Depending on the surface that you’re fixing to, an SDS drill may be appropriate here. You may also require a drill suitable for wood work, depending if your wooden article already has holes to accommodate the fixing itself)
Appropriate drill bits
Hammer
Tools to accurately mark drilling locations (e.g. chalk/pencil, tape measure, spirit level)
Variety of spacers for uneven surfaces

Instructions

  1. Assuming that the item to be fixed doesn’t already have holes drilled to accommodate the frame fixings, use an appropriate sized drill or auger bit to make holes for the fixings. The holes need to be of sufficient diameter to accommodate the diameter of the plastic sleeve snugly, as this will be pushed through the item, not removed like a screw and rawlplug.
  2. Use your spirit level to ensure that your item is upright when it is offered up in the correct place. When you are happy that the item is correctly located, you can push the drill through the holes in it to mark the location that you will drill in the surface that you’re fixing to.
  3. Remove the item to be fixed and drill holes to fully accommodate the frame fixings.
    TIPS: 
    • Calculate the depth that you need to drill to (consider the full length of the fixing, then subtract the depth of the item to be fixed), add a little, mark this on the drill bit and drill to the marked depth.
    • Make sure that the hole diameter fits the fixing snugly.
    • If you are drilling vertically down, make sure that you blow or brush the dust away from the hole before you remove the drill bit
  4. Without removing the plastic sleeve from the screw, push the entire frame fixing through the item to be fixed. You can use some gentle persuasion with the hammer, as it should be snug. However, if you’re really having to hit it, the hole is too snug and you’ll simply force the screw into the sleeve prematurely. STOP and adjust as appropriate.
    TIPS: 
    • Make certain that the plastic sleeve is as far into the item to be fixed as possible. This should be far enough that the lip on the plastic sleeve can be pushed no further.
  5. Once the fixing is secure in the item, locate it in place using the holes in the surface and push it fully home.
    TIPS: 
    • You can use solid spacers, such as plastic shims, slate, or wooden blocks to ensure that the item stays upright (or level) when tightened against an uneven surface. Whilst this might look ‘gappy’ in the photo below, bear in mind that the spacer in this example will not be seen as the gap will be finished and filled with mortar.
    • If you fill the gap with mortar, you can use tape on the wood to mask it and keep it looking crisp and neat.
  6. When you are 100% happy with the alignment of the item, or post in this example, fully tighten the screws and drive the fixings home. 
    TIPS: 
    • The nature of frame fixings means that you will not be able to drive these fixings home without a powered screwdriver. Our recommendation would be an impact driver if you have access to one.
    • Make CERTAIN that you are using the correct size PZ bit. The torque required to drive these fixings home means that they will round off easily, leaving you with a fixing which is half in/half out and is a nightmare to do anything further with!
  7. Finally check the alignment of the item, in case it has altered during the process of driving the fixings home. Make any adjustments before finishing with mortar or other sealants around the join between the surface and the item that you’ve fixed to it.

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