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I would like to put a wooden board on the concrete wall of my basement so that I can easily mount and dismount electronic equipment to the board with drywall screws without creating concrete dust.

My electrical main breaker panel board is mounted this way, but I can't tell how the wood is attached to the concrete.

Is chipboard ok in this application? I think it would help "hide" holes from removed screws better than plywood.

And how should I attach the board to the wall? Epoxy, concrete lags, nails fired from some sort of gunpowder powered tool?

Including electrical tags because I know that main breaker panels are mounted this way.

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    FYI, "chipboard" isn't really a thing. It's what laypeople call any of a loose class of things, such as OSB, particleboard, and MDF (fiberboard). It's better to use industry terms for clarity.
    – isherwood
    Feb 22, 2018 at 13:58

3 Answers 3

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Anchors
Concrete screws are fine, but they don't have great pullout strength in concrete block. If properly installed in poured concrete they're quite strong.

If you happen to have a block wall I'd use an expanding anchor of some sort. Plastic plugs, togglers, and expanding sleeves would all be appropriate.

Finally, size and quantity are important. I wouldn't use 1-1/2" #8 screws to mount 3/4" plywood, for example. 2" x 3/16" would be more suitable, and with a quantity of at least 6, with more depending on your sheet size and load. Post more details in your question for a more specific recommendation.

Boards
I would use high-quality plywood (BC grade or better) of at least 5/8" thickness. Anything less won't hold enough of a screw's threads for any significant load. 3/4" plywood is ideal, and doubled would be excellent.

3/4" OSB would be ok, but it tends to release "strands" when screws are run in, resulting in a rougher surface. It is plenty strong, though, and is often more dimensionally stable than plywood.

Don't use particle board or MDF as moisture is likely to be present, if only in small amounts. Neither is great for holding screws anyway.

Moisture Management
If you have regular moisture on your wall, seal it first with a suitable paint-like coating, or apply 4 mil or heavier poly sheeting behind the board. This will reduce mold and rot.

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  • I 100% agree expanding anchors have higher pullout strength and plywood is the preferred material with a moisture barrier if the wall is damp or an exterior wall.++
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:24
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    Lead anchors, a 2x4 on the flat top and bottom (optionally, a ful frame including the sides), and half or 3/4" ply for the face (on top of the 2x4s) so it's spaced 1-1/2" from the block wall, providing plenty of space for screws.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 22, 2018 at 17:06
  • I also thought of standing the sheet off the wall. This allows for more flexibility of screw length and better grab. Regarding "lead" anchors... they're harder to come by. Most expanding sleeve anchors these days are tin or zinc or whatever, but they still work fairly well.
    – isherwood
    Feb 22, 2018 at 17:10
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    Then Let's Just Say I've had a lot less metallic expanding anchor pullout/failure than I have with plastic, and let the metal be whatever they are selling these days.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 22, 2018 at 17:27
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Generally concrete screws (eg, Tapcon) into holes drilled with a masonry bit/hammer drill.

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I ended up completing this project, and was extremely satisfied with the result so I thought I'd share.

I used plywood for the board material for its strength and aesthetic. 3/4" seemed an appropriate depth for screws to get a good bite EXCEPT often, the tip of a screw doesn't have much to do with holding and it would be taking up part of that 3/4". I don't want to waste the back 1/4 inch of whatever material I use.

I used lathe boards that were 1/4" or maybe 5/16" thick to create a gap behind the plywood. I used trim nails to attach the lathboards around the perimeter of the plywood, and across its midline for support.

The concrete surface was not perfectly even, so I decided to use 'great stuff' on top of the lathe boards and on the plywood inside their framing to create an air tight seal so bugs can never set up a nest in the void I created.

To physically attach the plywood to the concrete, I balked at tapcons. I'm putting up a lot of board and tapcons are tedius. They're also slow and with great-stuff in play I have to work fast. I went with a borrowed Ramset, and I have to say it worked Pretty darn good. I used 2 1/2" ramset nails that came with a washer.

One yellow cartridge was enough to start them, Usually a green cartridge or two was needed to get the nail all the way in.

WARNING: DO NOT use a yellow cartridge for 'followup' shots, as it can more easily overdue it and blow the nail clear thrugh the wood! I would have been happy to find brown cartridges as they're even lower power than green, but after much searching, I think they're a myth…

I attached temporary handles to the plywood to make lifting easier, and i intalled temporary hooks to the ceiling to help hold the heavy plywood up and near position straight and a few inches out from the concrete. This was important because all greatstuff has to be applied before any point on the panel is fixed to the concrete. I didn't want to smear the great stuff all over the concrete by attaching one corner and then raising/rotating it to attach another.

Levels were used to make sure each panel was straight. Chalk line was used before putting any panel up to create a clear line on the front of the panels for all nails to follow and a neat line. Making the chalk line over the center latheboard is essential before the board is up on the wall as that latheboard is not visible once mounted.

WARNING: When attaching two adjacent panels side by side, do NOT install a ramset nail in the corner of both of them. Leave a good 8-12 inches in the concrete between each nail to manage the 'stress' you create in the concrete with each shot. If you nail every corner, then the adjacent corner nails will be only 2-3 inches apart and it will cause unnecessary damage to the concrete.

WARNING: DO NOT use ramset at any angle other than 90 degrees. It will wildly blow out chunks of concrete.

Instead, to get around obstructions like large vents, ignore the perimeter lathe board, and add another horozontal piece that is in an area not obstructed.

All ramset nails should/must go through plywood AND latheboard to prevent creating a depression in the finished surface.

It's also a good idea to start by scraping or hammering the concrete surface as flat as you can before you begin if there are imperfections (seams) that stick up from the surface.

Wear eye protection for sure when using Ramset and hammering concrete. Ear pro is not a bad idea either. Gloves and paint suit are wise to prevent clothing damage from greatstuff.

Moisture was not a concern as the concrete wall is one of two interior sides of a garage slab, so there is little opportunity for moisture to get behind this wall and it's never happened since the house was built.

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    That took a while... welcome to the club of delayed projects! Thanks for the self-answer.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 24, 2020 at 18:06

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