How To Choose The Right Adhesive For The Job

Always pick the right adhesive for the job with this DIY guide 

How To Choose The Right Adhesive For The Job

Create a super-strong bond by using the best product for the surface

Have you ever looked for the right glue or adhesive to use on a DIY job and been baffled by the range of products? Here’s a simple breakdown of what to use for a few basic jobs around the home.

Traditionally, the word glue was used to refer to bonding agents derived from natural products, while adhesives were those with synthetic bases. But today, most glues and adhesives are synthetic-based, so the terms are interchangeable. 

When purchasing an adhesive, it’s best to consider the two surfaces that need to be attached, then select one that bonds with both. 

The main types of adhesives include epoxies, superglues, contact adhesives, polyvinyl acetates (PVA), polyurethanes, construction adhesives and specialty adhesives.   

Adhesive for fixing furniture 

When repairing a wobbly chair or any other pieces of furniture with loose timber joints, choose a PVA adhesive. 

These need no mixing, they dry clear, are easy to sand and are water-based, so clean up easily. 

PVAs are also fast setting, strong and versatile. Weldbond is fume-free and acts as a glue, bonding agent, sealer and primer. 

It can be used on almost any surface from timber to metal and masonry.

Adhesive for attaching skirting boards 

To secure skirting, use construction adhesive. It’s multipurpose and heavy duty, and comes in a tube, cartridge or pressure pack. 

Construction adhesives have great gap-filling qualities, so can bond smooth or rough surfaces, including timber, plasterboard, foam, concrete and glass.

Use Sika MaxTack for skirting or shelving, as after three seconds of applied pressure it bonds strongly, so there is no need to use nails or vices

Adhesive for mending ornaments 

Had the grandkids over for a visit and a much-loved ornament has been dropped and damaged? Try one of the superglues.

Superglues, or cyanoacrylates, are available in both liquid and non-drip gel form. 

They cure in minutes and reach full strength in about two hours. 

Use superglues for very small repairs where a strong, waterproof bond is needed, such as fixing glass, ceramics or toys, or to assemble model kits.

Adhesive for tile walls 

As they’re used mostly in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, adhesives for wall tiles are designed to be waterproof and bond to a range of substrates like concrete, FC sheet and ply.

Wall tile adhesives come in powder form or ready-mixed, have superior flexibility and high grab to support heavy tiles.

Apply the adhesive using a notched trowel and then adhere the tiles.

Adhesive to reattach laminate 

The damaged edge of a laminate benchtop can be glued back down using contact adhesive. 

A rubbery glue developed to mend punctures in inner tubes, it is now mainly used to attach sheet materials to particleboard like benchtops and kickboards.

Available as either a solvent or water-based type, apply it to both surfaces with a brush, then press together when tacky. 

The adhesive bonds on contact, so clamps aren’t needed. 

Adhesive to cap masonry walls 

Use an epoxy adhesive to cap a concrete block retaining wall, as its two-part resin and hardener system makes it one of the strongest adhesives. 

A cartridge epoxy like Dunlop Builder’s Bond is a high-strength, multipurpose, rapid-cure bonding and repair system. 

Suitable for use on materials like brick, concrete, block and even timber, it sets stronger than concrete both indoors and out.

Adhesive to repair ceramic pots 

If the corner has chipped off your favourite garden pot, you’ll need a small-tubed epoxy that can be mixed manually or dispensed via a syringe with a self-mixing nozzle.

To glue the chip back on or make small repairs on metal, timber and most rigid plastics, use a two-part self-mixing epoxy like Loctite. 

It consists of a resin and hardener that sets in five minutes and reaches handling strength in one hour. It is water-resistant and doesn’t shrink.  

Adhesive to assemble a barbecue 

Bought a new barbie and need to put it together? Squeeze a few dabs of threadlocker on the bolt threads and the nuts won’t loosen with vibration and movement, plus the parts will dismantle with normal hand tools. 

These products can also be applied to bolts on outside furniture, toys and even lawnmower blades.

Use one like Loctite 243, which has improved high temperature performance, seals against leakage and prevents thread corrosion. 

Adhesive to secure decking 

Exposed timber decking can cop a real beating from heat and rain, popping nails and causing boards to loosen around fastenings.

If you just re-nail the boards to the joists, the problem will occur again, so apply an adhesive like Selleys Liquid Nails first. It creates a strong bond, stopping movement and wear. 

It is rubber-based and dries by solvent evaporation, and its flexibility helps make decks tight and quiet.

Adhesive to restore handrails 

A deck over 1m high must have a safety balustrade. Maintenance is key, as balusters and handrails can be dangerous if neglected. 

To repair a balustrade, use a fully waterproof adhesive that’s suitable for timber and able to withstand temperature extremes like Sika SuperGrip. 

It cures fully in just 30 minutes, forming a high-strength and watertight bond. 

A polyurethane, it dries to a clear finish, ready for painting.

Vote It Up: 
Choosing Adhesives

See also

Spraying glass jar label residue with Selleys RP7
Glass jars have dozens of uses in the home and garden, including sorting nails and screws, making garden lanterns, creating...
DIY On Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island has a thriving and very creative DIY community 

Two of Australians’ favourite pastimes have to be DIY and home renovation.  It’s fairly simple to get into DIY. Read a good...
Oscillating Tools
Oscillating tools are extremely versatile, with countless attachments for a variety of tasks including cutting, sanding and...
How To Choose The Right Adhesive For The Job

Create a super-strong bond by using the best product for the surface

Have you ever looked for the right glue or adhesive to use on a DIY job and been baffled by the range of products? Here’s a...
6 Strategies To Keep Your Home Cool

A climber over a pergola gives you a gorgeous living canopy. Image: Alamy 

The warmer months are here and as usual they bring sweltering temperatures that can quickly turn the home into an unbearable...
Ladder Safety

Always wear closed-toe, non-slip boots or shoes when you’re on a ladder. Image: Alamy

Do you know what is one of the most potentially dangerous things around the home? The chances are that you have one of them...