The DIYers Guide to Adhesives

As avid DIYers, we know that home improvement projects are only as good as the tools, and sometimes a hammer, drill, or staple gun isn’t right for the job. For projects where aesthetics are important, we try to minimize any visible screws, rivets, and protrusions by using adhesives instead. Whether it's installing flooring, setting tile, or making repairs, glues and adhesives can get the job done. Additionally, glues and adhesives allow the stress of the load to be distributed evenly across surfaces, instead of having localized stress points at a screw. 

If you need an adhesive for your next DIY project, but you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. The number of adhesive options on the market can be overwhelming, so we put together a DIYers guide to help you get started with a reliable solution now.

Contact Adhesives

Contact adhesives are popular, high-strength bonding materials that are ideal for close-fitting surfaces. When using a contact adhesive, it’s important to remember that all surfaces must be coated with the contact adhesive. They will bond immediately on contact, so position the two materials properly upon joining. We recommend working from one edge, and then bringing together the remainder to remove air bubbles. Press or roll the surfaces together to ensure complete contact. Contact adhesives are available in spray, gel, and liquid formats. 

Polyvinyl Acetate

DIYers_Guide_To_Adhesives_Hot_Glue_Gun

Polyvinyl acetate is a contact adhesive commonly known as PVA, and it comes with a long list of uses and benefits that make it ideal for your next DIY project. You've probably used a PVA glue in elementary school for arts and crafts - think back to using a slimy white goo that magically dried clear. Hot glue guns are also classified as a type of PVA glue. PVAs are affordable and easy to find. 

PVA glue is best for crafts, repairs, or woodworking. It sets relatively quickly, so it can be used for quick projects and crafts on materials like rubber, ceramics, metal, plastic, glass, and wood. If your DIY project is outdoors, look for a PVA that is specifically made for exterior use and is moisture resistant.

Instant Glue

DIYers_Guide_To_Adhesives_Super_Glue

Instant glue, often referred to as super glue, is another contact adhesive with high strength and a quick set time, making it the go-to adhesive for a variety of DIY home improvement projects. Like its name suggests, instant glue provides long-lasting repairs in an instant. If you're doing a small, quick repair with close-fitting surfaces, instant glue is the perfect adhesive for your project. It comes in a smaller package as it requires very little product to be effective. Instant glue gives you super-fast bonding of common materials like metal, glass, rubber, ceramics, fiberglass, vinyl, and most plastics. 

Epoxy

DIYers_Guide_To_Adhesives_Epoxy

If your DIY project requires exceptionally high strength and durability, consider using epoxy glue. While epoxy glue requires an extra step and is not as quick as instant glue, this contact adhesive will give you a super-strong bond once it is set. Epoxy glue comes in two parts, a resin and a hardener, which are mixed together right before application. Epoxy glue can join a wide variety of materials, allowing for a wide variety of applications. When using epoxy glue, be sure to read the curing instructions, as time and temperature can alter its adhesive properties.

Structural Adhesives

Some epoxy glues can be also considered structural adhesives, but generally structural adhesives are used for load-bearing capabilities. Structural adhesives are best used in high strength, permanent bonding applications, as they are capable of bearing considerable loads. Typically, structural adhesives are available as epoxies, urethanes, and acrylics. 

When selecting a structural adhesive, you should keep in mind the type of materials you'll be bonding together, the stress requirements of your project, and the environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and rain. Epoxies are more rigid and best used to fill large gaps; urethane adhesives are more flexible and often used as sealants; and acrylic adhesives are a low-cost, versatile adhesive with incredible durability and resistance to wear.

Polyurethane and Urethane

Urethane adhesives are known for flexibility, as this type of structural adhesive can absorb more stress and vibrations than other adhesives. Because urethanes have a little more give, this adhesive is often used for installing flooring.  Additionally, unlike many adhesives, polyurethane glues can be painted without any effect on their efficacy. 

If aesthetics are important to your DIY project, urethane adhesives will provide you with a major advantage. While polyurethane and urethane adhesives take time to completely cure, the adhesives provide a surprising amount of initial bonding, so no clamps or fixtures are needed to ensure that this structural adhesive remains in place. 

Acrylic 

Like urethanes, acrylic adhesives can be easily painted without any effect on their adhesion. Acrylic adhesives stand apart from other structural adhesives in their resistance to weathering and aging. These structural adhesives can withstand high temperatures, UV rays, and moisture. Acrylic adhesives are budget- and user-friendly, making them one of the most preferred types of structural adhesives. While acrylic adhesives typically come in paste form, they are also available in liquid form for application with a brush or damp cloth. Use acrylic adhesives for virtually any type of joint, including wood, glass, metal, and upholstery. 

Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs)

If you've used tape or sticky notes, then you've used a pressure-sensitive adhesive before. PSAs form bonds when pressure is applied to the adhesive and the surface. They are available in bulk, often coming in packs of sheets, rolls, or dots, which makes them an easy choice for lightweight craft projects using paper, plastic, metal, or glass. PSAs are easy to apply and can add a durable grip without attracting dirt or grime. PSAs allow you to add gription with an easy-peel and stick application.

CatTongue Non-Abrasive Grip Tape

DIYers_Guide_To_Adhesives_CatTongue_Grip_Tape

With CatTongue Non-Abrasive Grip Tape, you can add gription to virtually any DIY project you can think of. CatTongue Non-Abrasive Grip Tape comes on a roll, offering easy and versatile application. 

Our customers have used the grip tape on hearing aids, utensils, water bottles, and countless other household items. This PSA is the perfect solution for anything you need to get a better grip on. It's non-abrasive and easy to cut, which gives you the power to transform any surface into a non-slip surface.

CatTongue Non-Slip Grip Strips

DIYers_Guide_To_Adhesives_CatTongue_Grip_Strips

If you're short on time, CatTongue Non-Slip Grip Strips will give you gription right out of the package. Pre-measured to 2" wide x 8 1/2" long, CatTongue Grip Strips are a PSA that can be used as-is or easily cut into smaller sizes. Get stabilization and security on any surface with this PSA that makes getting a grip in small spaces simple.

Made of non-abrasive material, grip strips won't ever scratch your furniture, floor, or anything else. CatTongue Non-Slip Grip Strips are made of flexible, lightweight, and waterproof plastic, so you can apply them to outdoor items or high-use tools.

Whatever adhesive you use, whether it's contact, structural, or pressure-sensitive, we recommend working on your project in well-ventilated areas and ensuring surfaces are clean and dry before application. From small repairs to large projects, there's an adhesive perfect for the job. Get the right adhesive that you can count on for your next home improvement project.