What information do I need to provide when ordering bolts or requesting a quotation to ensure that I receive the correct product?

Have you ever gone to order bolts and haven’t known what information you needed to provide to ensure you receive the correct fasteners? Relax, because you’re not alone. If you don’t deal with fasteners on a daily basis, you may not understand all of the necessary information you need to provide in order to ensure that you receive the correct bolts the first time around. The good news is that Portland Bolt’s experienced sales staff is trained to ask all of the questions necessary to ensure you receive the correct materials.

Below is list of information to provide and an explanation of how each factor effects price and lead time.

1. Quantity

For custom manufactured items, the size of a run has a significant impact on the cost of a part. There are fixed costs associated with the production of any fastener and can include equipment set up costs and testing charges. These costs are the same regardless of the size of the production run and when broken down into a per part cost are reduced as the quantity increases. Quantity can also have an effect on the lead time required to produce a run of product. Extremely large runs may require more machine hours and therefore may take extra time to manufacture.

2. Dimensions

The diameter and length of a fastener has a dramatic effect on the cost of a bolt. Since the steel used to manufacture bolts is bought and sold on a per pound basis, the heavier the bolt, the more expensive it will be.

3. Finish

Construction fasteners can be produced and supplied with a corrosion resistant coating or in bare metal (referred to as plain finish or black). The most common corrosion resistant coating is hot-dip galvanized, however zinc plated and other options are available as well. The different coatings will not only add to the cost of a plain finish fastener, but it will also lengthen the lead time.

4. Grade

The grade of a bolt, whether ASTM, SAE, or AASHTO, has an impact on the cost. Since various grades of bolts use different types of raw material, costs vary depending on the chemical composition of the steel round bar used. Additionally, some specifications require heat treating or special testing, both of which add to the cost and lead time to produce the fastener.

5. Configuration

The type of a bolt (e.g., headed bolt, bent bolt, or straight rod) will have an effect on the cost and lead time. Certain fastener types require more or fewer manufacturing operations than others. The time to process each operation will affect the price. Since different pieces of equipment and machinery are used depending on the configuration, lead times will vary according to the type of fastener required.

6. Thread Length

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “standard thread length” for the vast majority of construction fasteners. ASME outlines some standards for headed bolts, but often more thread is required. It is important to clearly communicate desired thread lengths on headed bolts in addition to bent bolts and threaded rods.

7. Nuts, Washers, and Accessories

If nuts, washers, anchor sleeves, anchor plates, and other accessories are required with your bolts, it will definitely affect the unit cost. Special nuts, washers, and accessories might also take longer to produce than the bolt itself.

Portland Bolt salesmen are trained to provide the least expensive compatible nut and washer for the grade of bolt being provided. If a different grade of nut or washer is required it is important to communicate that information.

8. Domestic Requirements

Many state highway projects and some government and military projects require American made products. Most federally funded highway jobs require 100% domestic product while many military projects require that only 50% of the product be domestic.

It is important to clearly communicate any domestic requirements. In almost all cases, domestic product is more expensive than the identical imported item. Many of the smaller standard construction fasteners that Portland bolt stocks are imported but can be manufactured domestically within our facility. Virtually all of the steel round bar we use to manufacture bolts is domestic as are the standard washers we stock. Nuts are dual inventoried both import and domestic.

9. Delivery Requirements

Portland Bolt’s lead times are based on our customers’ requirements. However, we have standard lead times which we work to when customers are not pressed for delivery. Should materials be needed quicker than our standard lead times we are able to expedite the manufacturing process, however additional costs to cover overtime labor may be incurred. Therefore, lead times could affect the price.

10. Response Time

The speed with which you require your quotation back has no effect on the price or delivery of your order. However, by letting us know how quickly you need your pricing back, not only will we be able to accommodate your needs, but it will also allow us prioritize the rest of our workload accordingly.

11. Freight

With regard to quotes, let us know if you would like your bolt prices to include the cost of shipping the product. We can either quote your list of product delivered to its destination or we can exclude the freight costs from our estimate. On orders, we can ship with freight prepaid, third party, or collect on a carrier of your choice.

12. Certification and Special Testing

Unless otherwise specified, Portland Bolt will provide chemical and physical mill test reports for all domestic, high strength, and custom manufactured bolts and accessories. Testing of fasteners, many of which are performed within our own in-house testing laboratory, will be in accordance with the ASTM, AASHTO, or SAE specification that the bolts have been ordered to. Any additional testing or special certification will be provided upon request.

Consider “calling out” the information according to the following example:

“Please provide a quote for 100 pieces of a domestic ¾” diameter X 30” long galvanized ASTM A307 grade A hex bolt with 4” of thread. Include one (1) nut and (1) washer per bolt. Quote the materials FOB Los Angeles, California and deliver them no later than 3 weeks from the time of order placement. Certification is required and pricing is required by the end of the day.”

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    i am from hqc and in saudi arabia jobsite, ma’aden project. could you pl send me fastener catalog for order? Thanks.

    @You- As a custom manufacturer, we make specials per order, so we do not have a published catalog. Our capabilities and commonly provided items are listed on our website.

    @Ronald – There is a concrete anchor testing specification, ASTM E488. We do not have any experience with testing this way, since it is usually a concrete thing. You may contact a certified test lab and perhaps they can assist you.

    Hi Greg, I own a small hardware store here in Austin, Texas. And ordering bolts can really be a pain you know where. You order something then they ship something which is not exactly what you specified. The pointers you listed here are quite good and I’ll take them into consideration when making our purchase orders. Great job!

    I always fear that whenever I am asked by my father to order bolts for him would end up having the wrong product specifications so I always go to the hardware myself and show them a sample of what I want to buy. With this info, I can now order in peace.


    @Dave: We would be happy to try and assist determining the bolt lengths you need. Typically, structural bolt (ASTM A325/A490) lengths are calculated as the grip (plate, material bolting) plus the thickness of the washer and nut. However, this formula may change depending on your specific application. Feel free to contact us about with more information.

    Here are some other resources you may find useful.

    Recommended Nut Engagement

    Washers Dimensions

    Nuts Dimensions

    Can I know how to determine the bolt length for specific bolt size based on the shop drawings? (exp 3/4″ diameter bolt) I know the plate thickness and the steel member thickness have to take into consideration. What else? Can anyone explain to me and show me the example to determine the final bolt length? Thanks

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