How to Set Anchor Bolts in Concrete

Written by jim wildman
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How to Set Anchor Bolts in Concrete
Concrete slab with anchor bolts. (fresh concrete image by jimcox40 from

When preparing the slab for a house it is best to set the anchor bolts right after the stem walls or the concrete slab has been poured. The anchor bolts are placed into the wet cement and left to set while the cement dries. Then the exterior walls of a house will be bolted to the slab with the anchor bolts. The do-it-yourself handyman can install the anchor bolts around the exterior of a foundation with a set of architectural plans and a few hand tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Architectural drawings
  • Tape measure
  • Anchor bolt
  • Torpedo level

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  1. 1

    Study a set of architectural drawings with the framing plan. The drawings show you the locations of all doors, windows and interior wall locations. Determine the width of the exterior wall for the section of foundation where you are working. You do not place anchor bolts in doorways or at interior wall locations.

  2. 2

    Measure 12 inches from one corner of the foundation and place an anchor bolt into the wet cement. The bolt needs to be placed in the middle where the wall will be. Push the anchor bolt until only 2 to 3 inches of it protrudes from the wet cement.

  3. 3

    Place the anchor bolts every 16 inches along the length of the wall. Refer to the architectural drawings so that you do not put an anchor bolt at door locations or where an interior wall ties into an exterior wall. Additionally, on a wall that is more than 16 feet long, you'll need an anchor bolt on both sides of the floor plate where they butt into each other. Use a torpedo level to make sure each bolt is straight in the concrete before moving to the next one. If you disturb the concrete, you will need to use a concrete hand float to level out the concrete around the anchor bolt.

  4. 4

    Repeat steps 1 through 3 for all of the remaining walls. You also need to place anchor bolts around all of the garage walls.

Tips and warnings

  • If you get concrete on the threads of the anchor bolts wipe it off before it dries.
  • Wear gloves when handling rusty anchor bolts.

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