Mounting cabinets to block walls

Woodworkers share techniques for attaching work to concrete block walls. September 26, 2000

I am looking for suggestions on the best way to mount some wall cabinets to a concrete block wall. These will be 30-by-72-inch MDF wall cabinets. I was thinking about lag bolts.

If you can attach a cleat to the wall, that is the easiest method and it provides the greatest flexibility for lining the faces up, shimming, etc. This will allow you to screw your carcase to the wall without a bunch of hassle.

There are numerous fasteners that will work for this. If this is a concrete block wall, are the cells grouted or not? If they are, then Tapcons work great, or even a shielded lag of one sort or another. Use some construction adhesive behind what you attatch to the wall, for extra strength.

We install major amounts of cabs to block walls in schools and use Power Rawl 2-inch lead expanding drive pins. We haven't had one come loose in seven years.

I have found the best way to be Tapcon screws. They are made to screw right into concrete and blocks after you drill a pilot hole. They are very strong and I haven't had any problems.

The easiest method is nylon drive pins, which should be availible at any quality hardware store, but watch out -- some are better quality than others. You just have to get the right length. Use 2-inchers for 3/4- to 1-inch material and 3-inchers for 1-1/2-inch material.

Hilti makes one in a 2-1/8-inch length that is great; it can't be beat. The center pin is threaded so that you can back it out with a screwdriver if necessary, something the lead shields (zymacs) don't offer. It is actually quicker than the screws. We just use the same pilot bit that we use to gang cabinets up, place the cabinet on the wall and go through everything with a 1/4-inch masonry bit, using a good hammer drill, and then drive the anchor home with a hammer. No studs to find.

When properly installed, you will either tear the back off the cabinet or the head off the anchor, but you won't pull it out, no matter what. And the installer will know whether it bites or not right away; no excuses there. They work on any solid wall.