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Construction Adhesive For DIY Home Projects

Construction adhesive is a DIYers best friend. Heavy-duty construction adhesive is formulated to bond two surfaces. The material is just as effective and durable as screws, nails, or rivets. The best construction adhesives are surprisingly easy to use for home improvement projects.

Otherwise known as liquid nails, the adhesive is ideal for DIY home repair projects. If you don’t know how to use a caulk gun or know how adhesives work, you have nothing to worry about, we’ll show you everything you need to know.

Construction Adhesive

We’ll show you what to look for when shopping for heavy duty adhesives. We’ll show you how adhesives work and how they can help you save money.

How To Choose The Right Adhesive 

Now that you know what some of the most popular adhesive types are, let’s discuss what you need to consider before making a purchase. Each type of adhesive has unique characteristics, so in order to determine the best one for you, it’s crucial to keep the following factors in mind.

Surface Type

This refers to the surfaces you plan on bonding. You should consider this first and foremost because using the wrong type of adhesive for a given surface will be, be put it lightly, ineffective.

You can find plenty of adhesives that can be used with several surface types, as well as those that are best suited for one or two types. Once you know which surfaces you’ll be bonding, simply read the labels on any adhesives you’re considering to see if they can be used with those materials.

Conditions

In this case, “conditions” refer to the surrounding environment or the circumstances under which you’ll be bonding the surfaces. This is important to consider because some adhesives offer water- and/or UV-resistant properties, in addition to other protective measures. If you know that the surfaces you’re bonding will be exposed to moisture or excessive sun exposure, it would be wise to opt for one of these options.

Drying And Curing Times

The drying time is how long it takes for the adhesive to dry, while the curing time is how long it takes for the adhesive to crystallize. There is no “right” or “wrong” drying or curing time, though you may want to opt for adhesives that offer shorter times if you’re in a hurry to get a project done.

Strength

The strength of your adhesive determines how much pressure it can withstand before succumbing and breaking the bond. This pressure is measured in PSI (Pound-force per Square Inch), and adhesives with higher PSI ratings have greater strength.

Longevity

This refers to how long the adhesive will be effective. While its longevity partially depends on external factors, you should look for long-lasting adhesives.

Application

There are a few different application methods for construction adhesives. While the application method is not the most essential factor in determining your purchase, you should keep it in mind to ensure you have the time and means to apply it. You can find the proper application method for the product in the included instructions or on the manufacturer’s website.

Best Construction Adhesives For 2022

Handpicked by our team of DIY experts, here are the top construction adhesives for DIY home repair projects.

Gorilla Construction Adhesive

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If you’ve ever used Gorilla Glue—you know, that little tube you keep in the kitchen drawer dedicated to random items—then you know that this brand means business. Its Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive is the ideal choice for little projects around the house or for larger-scale building projects. You can use this product to join two surfaces and to fill in gaps in the wood.

It boasts a super-fast 30-second hold time, offers effective bonding for a range of different materials, and is a paintable formula. You’ll also appreciate its low odor, low VOC count, and its weather-resistance. Gorilla has more than delivered with this effective formula.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Long-lasting adhesive

Cons

  • Hard to puncture the spout  

Loctite Premium Construction Adhesive

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This one-component polyurethane construction adhesive from Loctite boasts many of the same features as the previous product: versatile application, a strong bond, weather-resistance, a paintable formula, and a low VOC count.

One key difference is that this adhesive has a longer set time (30 minutes) and cure time, though it does provide a long-lasting permanent bond you can rely on—not to mention it’s just a little bit less expensive.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Works well on a variety of surfaces

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well with metal

Liquid Nails Adhesive

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A construction adhesive should be like a trusty companion—something you can rely on in a pinch, through thick and thin. Liquid Nails gets this, which shines through in every aspect of its Extreme Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive. The adhesive formula is housed in a durable, easily portable tube that you can take with you anywhere, anytime.

It can be used all year round no matter the weather, and its UL Environment certification attests to its eco-friendliness. The only drawback of this adhesive is its longer dry and cure times; if you need something bonded right away, this may not be the most ideal product for you. That said, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better construction adhesive for on-the-go use, smaller projects, or last-minute fixes.

Pros

  • Works well with rubber
  • Long-lasting adhesive

Cons

  • Messy application

Dap Weldwood Ceramic Tile Adhesive

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There are few that can compete with the Weldwood Multi-Purpose Ceramic Tile Adhesive from DAP. Designed for ceramic and mosaic tiles, this adhesive is water-resistant, has a low VOC count, and no odor, and is even non-flammable.

As for user-friendliness, this adhesive is super-easy to spread and can be cleaned up in a pinch. And you won’t be waiting around forever while it bonds, either—it holds to the material quickly, so you can go about your day worry-free.

Pros

  • Soft consistency
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some have said it doesn’t adhere to tile very well

Henkel Power Grab Adhesive

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“Power Grab.” What is else is there to say? With the Power Grab Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive from Loctite, you get a strong adhesion that will stand the test of time. Better still, the formula allows for a 15-minute adjustment period, where you can adjust the two surfaces as needed—no more panic attacks when the instant bond kicks in as you realize the pieces are not aligned.

It’s user-friendly, but that’s only where it begins. You can also apply the heavy duty adhesive to wet or frozen wood. It’s certified safe for use in schools and around children. Loctite just took the construction adhesive game up a notch.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Strong Adhesion

Cons

  • Strength issues

Dap Polyurethane And Sealant

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50 years is a long time. It’s also how long the DAP Polyurethane Construction Adhesive and Sealant is guaranteed to last—most marriages don’t even last that long. Bad joke. There are many things to love about this commercial-grade adhesive sealant combo. 

This means you can, over the course of 50 years, continue to make adjustments to the surfaces you bonded. In addition, it’s easy to paint. Strength, longevity, flexibility, and everything you could ask for in a quality construction adhesive.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Strong Adhesion

Cons

  • Weak canister housing

Types of Construction Adhesive

When choosing a construction adhesive, you need to know what to look for so you can pick the right one for your job. 

Polyurethane

Polyurethane adhesive is versatile. It can be used to bind a variety of materials and surfaces. You can find it in formulas of one or two components. This type of adhesive is resistant to moisture and is known for its quick bonding time and longer setting time. Because it dries quickly, you’ll need to be careful not to get this on your skin or on any unintended items; it will be difficult, if not impossible, to remove once dry.

Epoxy

Epoxy adhesives make use of two components and can also be used with a number of different materials. You can purchase epoxy adhesives in either liquid or paste form, and epoxies are much easier to clean than polyurethane should you err during the application process. Epoxy is also known for its ability to fill wood gaps.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a favorite among woodworkers and DIYers for its flexibility in bonding a number of materials and surfaces—not to mention how cost-effective it is! This type of adhesive is strong enough to substitute for a range of other joining techniques, making it a convenient option for the majority of bonding jobs.

Hot Melt

Made of thermoplastic, hot melt adhesives are unique in their formulation and setting method. They have fewer VOCs than most other adhesives, remove the need for clamping due to their non-foam setting technique, and are water-resistant. The typical setting time is around thirty seconds.

Contact Cement

Contact cement adhesive features a rubber base that provides a strong, permanent bond. You can use this type of adhesive to bond different materials and surfaces, including non-porous mediums; this is because contact cement works by bonding with itself when applied to both of the intended pieces.

The bonding happens quickly but it’s not fast drying (15 to 20 minutes); while this means you need to be extra careful while joining the materials, it also means you don’t need to worry about clamping. You can purchase water- or solvent-based varieties of contact cement; the former is more eco-friendly than the latter. This is all-around a strong and reliable type of adhesive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Do I need construction adhesive?

Though you can certainly get by without construction adhesive handy, many contractors, woodworkers, and DIY woodworkers consider it a staple item. Because the adhesive is specially designed to “bond” with certain types of materials, it provides a strong and reliable hold that you won’t get from glue alone. In addition, applying construction adhesive is a much simpler way of joining materials than, say, nailing or screwing them together.

How do I store construction adhesive?

A common concern people have when using construction adhesive is how they’re going to store the leftover adhesive so that it doesn’t dry out. There are a few different methods you can use. The easiest is to simply squeeze out a little bit of glue so that it sits and dries at the tip of the applicator. This will make a natural seal that keeps air out of the tube.

Some people find that using a nail as a plug works well too, and still others seal out air using latex or plastic bags. You can find simple how-to guides for these methods online.

Whatever method you use, make sure that you keep the leftover adhesive in temperatures under 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long does it take for construction adhesive to set?

This depends on the type of adhesive, the brand, and the external conditions (such as temperature and humidity). Most construction adhesives will dry within minutes, but will not be completely set until at least a couple of days later. Before putting your construction adhesive to the test, you should probably wait up to a week to allow for complete setting.

Is Liquid Nails a construction adhesive?

Liquid Nails is a trusted brand that produces high-quality adhesives and sealants, and you can find a range of construction adhesives from this brand.

Is construction adhesive stronger than wood glue?

Not necessarily. The one advantage that wood glue has over construction adhesive is that, when used on wood, it does create a much stronger bond. However, construction adhesive is better-suited for other materials and will provide a stronger bond than wood glue in those cases.

Construction Adhesive Conclusion

Each of our top picks has something valuable to offer your upcoming project, whatever that may be. Feel free to pick through them again and pin your favorites somewhere for further consideration. Remember, the best fast drying construction adhesive is the one that best meets your needs, preferences, and budget. We’re just here to give you a helping hand in your search.