How to Place Anchor Bolts in Concrete

Written by emily patterson
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Anchor bolts are used to secure objects, such as sill plates, equipment and mounting hardware, to concrete. They are commonly called “J-bolts”. Place anchor bolts before the concrete sets. Measure accurately because bolts cannot be relocated after concrete sets. When placing anchor bolts for a building such as a garage or shed, the placement may need to be inspected and approved to ensure that it meets local building codes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • J-Bolts
  • Tape measure
  • Permanent marker
  • Plumb bob on string
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Hot, wet, soapy, cloth

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  1. 1

    Measure the combined thickness of the object that will be mounted to the J-bolt, the washer and nut. Mark the location on each J-bolt with a permanent marker by measuring that distance from the threaded side of the J-bolt.

  2. 2

    Use a tape measure to measure the placement of each J-bolt depending on the plan for your project. Use a nail to mark the location for each J-bolt in the concrete.

  3. 3

    Coat the threaded end of the J-bolt with petroleum jelly to be sure concrete does not get in the threads.

  4. 4

    Press the curved side of the J-bolt into the concrete until the surface of the concrete is flush with the mark on each J-bolt.

  5. 5

    Hold a plumb bob by the string next to each J-bolt and position the J-bolt so the protruding section of the J-bolt is flush with the side of the plumb bob from at least three sides. Accuracy is very important.

  6. 6

    When the concrete has set up for at least 48 hours, wash off the petroleum jelly with a hot, wet, soapy cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have access to a drill press, drill a hole in a small block of 2-by-4 that is only slightly larger than the threaded end of the J-bolts. Place one of these over each J-bolt and leave in place while the concrete sets to ensure that they are plumb in the concrete.
  • The J-bolts must be plumb or it will be difficult to mount objects to the J-bolts. Take your time when using the plumb bob to keep the top of the J-bolt plumb.

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