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Proper care of your tools.

Proper Care of your Tools

A single Vortabrush can typically clean between 200-300 concrete holes, but what will make your new Vortabrush last longer?

#1-  Correct product

Of the few times we have experienced a brush breaking prematurely, it has been because it was used on a concrete hole smaller than the brush diameter.  For example, a 1” brush will NOT work in a ¾” hole.  You MUST use the correct size brush; the brushes diameter must match that of the hole diameter.  When a brush is used in a different sized hole, you can expect your brush to have a much lower life expectancy.

#2- Proper storage

These tools are durable but storing them alongside your other tools can cause fraying of the brush bristles along with other deformities.  We recommend that you store your Vortabrush in the plastic container you receive it in.  Not only will it make the brush itself last longer, but you won’t cause unnecessary bending of the tool.

#3- Occasional cleaning

While the brush is make up of corrosive resistant metal and nylon, a brief rinse in water can make it last longer.  Often the brush works so well at cleaning holes that, especially on a damp hole, fine pieces of sand and dust can cling to the outside of the pipe.  A quick rinse in water will help protect the brush from premature aging.

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Vortabrush Instructions For Use

THE BASICS-Always wear proper eye protection.

1. ) Attach air hose from compressor. Use a minimum of 80psi air pressure for attachment to Vortabrush.
2.) NEVER put a Vortabrush into a hole of a smaller diameter than the brush itself.
3.) Insert Vortabrush to the bottom of the drilled hole pushing and pulling the tool from the top to the bottom while releasing a continuous stream of air for 10-15 seconds or until no more dust exits the hole.

That’s it. Typically at this rate you can clean 4-5 holes per minute.

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Who is Responsible? Proper Cleaning Of Holes Drilled In Concrete For Placement Of Anchors

The codes says that the contractor is ultimately responsible. Not the epoxy manufacturer, the tools used or the inspector.

Regardless of the methods or tools required by the manufacturers, ultimately, code enforcement ensures that holes are cleaned properly before in concrete anchors are placed. How so? ACI and ICC requires full time Special Inspection of ALL structural anchor placement in concrete. When holes are not properly cleaned by the contractor, the Special Inspector is required to report this as a non-conformance by the contractor.

It should be noted that just cleaning a drilled in concrete hole in concrete “per the manufacturer’s instructions” does not ensure that the hole is actually free of debris. The contractor laborer is responsible to clean the hole to whatever degree is necessary to ensure cleanliness and attain the required pull-out values. The governing codes ensure conformance by having the Special Inspector confirm the condition of the cleaned hole regardless of the method used. They (Special Inspectors) are trained and licensed to approve proper installation.

As a Special Inspector myself with 15 years’ experience, and having witness literally 10’s of thousands of anchors being placed; I can say with confidence that cleaning per the manufacturer’s instructions does not “always” clean the hole sufficiently. Contractors may argue that since they have “technically” followed the instructions on the epoxy installation notes, they cannot be required to clean them any further. Examples of insufficiencies may be that the proper size brush has not been used for the diameter of the hole. Perhaps the air pressure is not sufficient. Or, perhaps they simply do not spend enough time on each hole. The holes may have gotten damp or wet leaving a fine paste that is hard to remove. My practice is to inform the contractor that if sufficient cleaning is not provided to my satisfaction, they may proceed, but the witnessed condition will be reported to the Engineer of Record, the building official and the owner. This usually moves the contractor to provide additional effort.   Regardless, the contractor is ultimately responsible.

Conclusion; Whatever required method or tools used for cleaning, the contractor must use these effectively. And, Special Inspectors, by diligently enforcing the requirements for cleaning of holes, provide a ‘safety net’ that protects all parties involved.

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Does Vortabrush fulfill the required cleaning procedure instructions for major epoxy products?

5/8" Vortabrush

Yes, in general application situations.

Below are 2 examples of typical installation instructions for widely used anchor epoxies. Both require that a tube be inserted to the bottom of the hole with compressed air being applied and a brush that will reach the bottom of the hole to scour the sides of the hole for loose dust/debris. Vortabrush technically fulfills both of these requirements.

Vortabrush even goes a step further by requiring that specific brush sizes match the inside diameter of the drilled hole. This serves to get a more thorough brushing of the entire inside surface of the drilled hole. With its Patent Pending coil design, it allows dust and debris to escape through the “keyway” space between the coils. It is suggested that brushing and application of compressed air (minimum 80-120psi) be done for a minimum of 10-15 seconds with Vortabrush. This exceeds the 4 second minimums mentioned in the Simpson SET requirements.

I hope that this general information is helpful to representatives, contractors and inspectors. Vortabrush cannot officially speak for all epoxy manufacturers regarding their installation instructions. But in principle, and backed by lab testing, Vortabrush accomplishes its basic designed purpose.

Jaimie D. Gordon

ICC Special Inspector/Inventor of Vortabrush

Owner of Flash Services, LLC


Simpson SET Epoxy

1. HOLE PREPARATION: Horizontal, Vertical and Overhead Applications

Refer to Hole Cleaning Brushes for proper brush part number.

1. Drill –
Drill hole to specified diameter and depth.

2. Blow –
Remove dust from hole with oil-free compressed air for a minimum of 4 seconds. Compressed air nozzle must reach the bottom of the hole.

3. Brush –
Clean with a nylon brush for a minimum of 4 cycles. Brush should provide resistance to insertion. If no resistance is felt, the brush is worn and must be replaced.

4. Blow –
Remove dust from hole with oil-free compressed air for a minimum of 4 seconds. Compressed air nozzle must reach the bottom of the hole.


Red Head® Epcon® Installation Steps for
A7, C6 and G5
For more information about Red Head® products go to the Red Head® website at:
Drill proper size hole. Clean out hole from botton with forced air. Complete hole preparation with use of a brush and repeat cleaning with forced air. (leave no dust or slurry). Please, always protect your eyes from flying debris by wearing safety glasses.