Steel Manufacturing Blog: Keeping it Steel

EZ Sleeve Hole Diameter vs. Depth

Posted on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

A question frequently asked, regarding the placement of EZ Sleeves, is the required depth. In actuality, the required depth does not change whether the hole is created by using EZ Sleeves before pouring concrete or Core Drilling after the concrete has cured.

To answer briefly, the EZ Sleeve can be used to form any hole desired up to the full length of the sleeve. While there are several important considerations when mounting Handrail Posts, Anchor Bolts, etc., the method of creating the hole does not change.

EZ Sleeves come in two sizes:

  • Item # 200-3 x 6 - 6” maximum depth x 3” diameter at the top
  • Item # 200-4 x 12 - 12” maximum depth x 4” diameter at the top

Each sleeve can be set at any depth as shown in the image below.

EZ Sleeve Hole Diameter vs. Depth

When determining the depth, there are two very important considerations:

  1. Grout Material

Each grout material has its own characteristics regarding compressive strength. The best non shrink Portland cement based grouts, such as Dayton Superior’s Anchor All, require a minimum thickness of 1/2” in every direction to develop full compressive strength. Epoxies, as a rule, can develop full strength in much less space. Note however, Epoxy Grout tends to be rather expensive compared to Portland cement based non-shrink grouts, hence the limited use of Epoxy Grout.

  1. Hole Depth vs. Leverage

The Steel Fabricator and Installer should always consider the “leverage” effect as the embedded end becomes shorter. On a typical handrail, forward or backward pressure does not affect the setting much. On the other hand, sideways pressure multiplies, due to the leverage created by the height of the handrail post. 

EZ Sleeve Hole Diameter vs. Depth

Illustrated in the diagram above, the hole depth of 6” provides double the resistance as the hole depth of 3”. Translated into real numbers, if a force of 200 lbs. were to be exerted against the handrail in the 6” depth, it would translate into 1,200 lbs. of force operating in the opposite direction at the bottom. Change the depth to 3”, and the leverage doubles the force to 2,400 lbs.

For this reason, it is usually better to mount the handrail post as deep as the EZ Sleeve will allow. Also, be sure to use a quality non-shrink grout. Especially if the application is outdoors, it is imperative that the grout be Portland cement based. Anchor All, among others, is Portland cement based, which assures expansion as grouts are supposed to, but will never shrink thereafter, which would leave gaps for water to penetrate. 

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Tags: EZ Sleeve