Walk down the adhesives aisle of any hardware store and you’ll be confronted with a bewildering array of glues. Which product should you use for your particular job? Here’s a guide to the common glues and adhesives that’ll handle most situations you’ll come across.
As a rule, all adhesives must go onto a clean surface free of dust, grease or oil. Apart from polyurethane glue, all surfaces must be dry, too. If using adhesive on a painted surface, make sure paint is sound as the glue is only sticking to paint. If it’s no good then the join will fail.
Polyvinyl acetate, or PVA, is the white glue you probably remember from primary school. Common uses are craft and woodworking projects and repairs. It dries clear, so won’t it affect the look of your work, but if you plan on staining a wooden project, make sure you clean up any excess with a damp rag as the stain won’t take over dried glue. There is also an exterior PVA that is resistant to moisture and can be sanded and painted.
This term covers a wide range of adhesives used in building and construction projects with common brand names like Liquid Nails and Max Bond. Construction adhesive has the advantage of being able to bridge gaps between materials, so it’s great when the surfaces you’re joining are uneven and not close fitting. Among the range, you’ll find types for fast grip, high strength, landscaping projects and use on glass or mirrors.
For high strength bonding of close fitting surfaces such as laminates to benchtops, vinyl tiles and even fixing a loose sole on your shoe, contact adhesive is what you’ll need. Apply it to both surfaces and leave for a few minutes so it’s tacky. Working from one edge, bring the surfaces together and bring down to remove any air bubbles underneath. Contact adhesive is available in liquid, gel and spray formats to suit different applications.
For a super strong bond that sets in minutes, use an epoxy adhesive. The glue comes in two parts, which are mixed together. It starts to set immediately so you have to work quickly. There’s no need to clamp the objects, all you need to do is hold them together for a few minutes while the bond takes hold. Full strength is achieved within hours. It’s perfect to use on broken glass or ceramics, kids toys and anywhere else that you need a fast grip combined with high strength.
Popular for craft projects, hot glue comes as a stick and is applied via an electric glue gun. As soon as the glue dries, it sets, giving you a bond quickly so you don’t have to wait long to finish your project. Use it for craft materials, rubber, ceramics, metal, plastic, glass and wood.
Also called superglue, it sets very quickly so it is best for small items with little surface area. Repairing glassware and crockery are common uses. The areas to be bonded must be close-fitting, as the glue doesn’t bridge gaps. This glue works on timber, metal, glass, rubber, ceramics, fibreglass, vinyl, most plastics.
As not all glues stick to plastics, if you are unsure, it’s best to use plastic glue, which sticks to them all. Prime the surface using the primer that comes with the glue, apply to one surface only and bring them together. It bonds within about 30 seconds, but allow about 30 minutes for the glue to cure. It also sticks plastic to metal, china, rubber and leather.
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