There are more than 30,000 types of adhesives; many of these adhesives and glues for used for residential applications. Some are general purpose and useful for having around the home, others are special purpose and have more limited use.
This list is not complete by any means, but should give a quick overview of the different types and their uses.
Note: setting time refers to the time until the adhesive hardens and can no longer be worked with, curing time refers to the amount of time until the adhesive’s bond reaches maximum strength.
Acyrlic Adhesives: These are used for quick setting and extra strong waterproof bonding on wood, glass, metal and outdoor furniture. They consist of two parts, a liquid and a powder, which are mixed just before applying with a brush wood strip or putty knife, or liquid and paste, applied one to each surface. Some brand names are Miracle Mender Glue, Devcon Plastic Sealer, 3 Ton Adhesive and Weather Ban Acrylic Sealant. They cure overnight, but set up in as little as 5 minutes. To remove or cleanup, the solvent to use is Acetone; 3M Natural Cleaner, a citrus-based cleaner, can also be used.
Carpenter’s Glue: Aliphatic adhesives include Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue and Titebond; they are yellow glue as opposed to the white glue. The difference between this and regular Elmer’s glue is that carpenter’s glue has a faster setting time of about one hour, as opposed to white glue which sets in about 8 hours. That makes it better for carpentry and furniture repair work. It cures fully overnight, and is water-soluble, so shouldn’t be used for exterior uses. Dissolves with warm water.
Bolt-Locking Compound: is used specifically for locking bolt and screw threads to prevent leakage, loosening and rusting. Brand names include Scotch-Weld Epoxy Adhesive, Perma-Lok, Pronto Instant Bond and Loctite. They are usually methacrylate-based liquids applied before or after assembly. It can be cleaned with soap and warm water prior to hardening. After hardening, acetone can be used, but for unlocking threads, heat must be applied, usually a heat gun or hairdryer can unstick a locked bolt.
Casein Glue: A water-resistant glue made from skim milk and common chemicals. Traditionally used on furniture, it is useful for restoring antique furniture. Works well for oilt woods like teak and rosewood. Susceptible to mold and fungus attack. Use warm water for a solvent.
Cellulose Adhesive: Cellulose adhesives like China Weld, Ambroid and Duco Cement work well for bonding china, glass, wood, fabrics and model kits. It is waterproof and applied from a tube or can in liquid form. This type of adhesive will set to 60% of its strength in under two hours and cures to 90% of it’s final strength in two days. Use nail polish remover (acetone) for a solvent.
Contact Cement: Contact cement is used by applying a coat with a brush or roller to each surface to be joined. The two surfaces are allowed to dry and then pushed together, forming a permanent bond. Brand names of contact cement include 3M Contact Cement, LePage’s Household Cement, Pres-Tite, and Elmer’s SAF-T. These adhesives are good for laminated plastic countertop work, and for applications where clamping is not feasible, like attaching tiles. Use acetone or 3M Natural Cleaner for a solvent.
Cyanoacrylate: Super Glue, Krazy Glue and Wonder Bond Plus are examples of this type of adhesive. It is an acrylic resin that is water-resistant, setting in under 30 seconds and cures fully in 30 minutes to 12 hours. It is useful bonding plastics, ceramics, wood, vinyl and rubber. It’s ease of use and cure speed make it handy for making repairs and mending, but care should be taken not to get it on skin as it can act as a skin irritant and may cause an allergic skin reaction. Also, inhalation may trigger asthma and it’s fumes irritate sensitive membranes in the eyes, nose and throat. Acetone can be used as a solvent.
Epoxy Glue: Epoxy adhesives are used where high strength bonds are required. They are outstanding adhesives for wood, metal, glass, stone, and some plastics. They can vary from flexible to rigid and fast setting to very slow setting. Epoxy adhesives have the highest heat and chemical resistance of common adhesives. They are particularly useful for bonding together dissimilar materials, such as aluminum to plexiglass. They are a two part adhesive, mixed immediately before use; their bond results from thermosetting polymers formed from the reaction when the epoxide “resin” is mixed with a polyamine “hardener”. Epoxy adhesives are waterproof and when cured can be dissolved with acetone. Examples include Elmer’s Epoxy Glue, Scotch-Weld, Cold Cure Epoxy, and Super Glue Plastic Fusion Epoxy.
Hot Melt Glue: This is a form of thermoplastic adhesive that typically comes in solid cylindrical sticks, designed to be melted in an electric hot glue gun. It is handy for fast repairs to furniture, leather, fabrics, carpeting, and ceramic tiles. Thermogrip and 3M Jet Melt are two examples of hot melt glue. It starts to set in as little as 5 seconds and cures to 90% strength in 1 minute. It is applied by inserting in an electric glue gun, waiting 5 minutes for the glue to heat up, and pulling the gun’s trigger while moving the gun along the surface to be bonded in a wavy line. Acetone is used for solvent.
Liquid Solder: Is useful for bonding together aluminum, iron and other metals when repairing leaks and reattaching sheet metal seams. It should not be used for electrical connection soldering, despite the name. Some brands are Permatex, Liquid Steel and Scotch-Seal Metal Sealant. It comes in a tube or in a can for larger jobs. For best results, both surfaces to be joined should be as clean as possible, with no corrosion. Clamp pieces together for twenty minutes or so while the adhesive is setting. Full cure takes about 24 hours. Acetone is used for solvent.
Polyurethane Adhesives: these are waterproof and good for both indoors and outdoors construction bonding of wood, metal, drywall, concrete, brick, fiberglass, painted surfaces and ceramics. Sold under the name Gorilla Glue or Excel, it expands while curing, filling gaps and cracks, which requires parts being bonded to be clamped. Cures in about 6 to 24 hours depending on type.
Polyvinyl Acetate: Also called PVA glue or white glue, this is the standard household white glue. Sold as Elmer’s Glue-All, LePage’s Bondfast, GF Glue, Titebond Original Wood Glue, etc., it is used for general household repair work on porous surfaces, such as woodworking, furniture, ceramics and paper. It is similar to carpenter’s glue except it has longer set (8 hours) and cure (24 hours) times. It is water-soluble.
Resorcinol: Sold as Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue, Scotchgrip Plastic Adhesive or AeroDux 500, this is a two part adhesive used for extra strong wood repairs on wooden boats and outdoor furniture. It is mixed before use and applied with a brush or roller. It dries to a dark red color so shouldn’t be used on anything that won’t be painted after bonding. Set and cure times vary with ambient temperature; at 70 degrees F it sets and cures within 8 hours. Gloves and protective goggles should be worn when working with resorcinol glue as it is very difficult to remove once hardened.
Thinset Mortar: used for installing tiles on floors and walls. See www.onlinetips.org/thinset-mortar