How to Choose Glues and Adhesives

How to Choose Glues and Adhesives. Every household experiences breakage and damage that can easily be repaired by gluing pieces together. But with the many types of materials in the home that need to be attached to each other, our households need to have a variety of glues and adhesives to do the job. How to choose what glues and adhesives to keep on hand for specific jobs? Here are some quick guidelines.

Choose water-soluble white glue for paper and cardboard. For pasting paper products, especially for paper crafts like greeting cards, journals and scrapbooks, no other adhesive is better than white glue. White glue is water-soluble, but paper and cardboard must always remain dry anyway. White glue is also the best adhesive for children's use.

Choose cyanoacrylate (also known as Instant Glue, Super Glue and Krazy Glue) for instant waterproof bonding of non-porous, tight-fitting materials like metal, rubber and plastic acrylic. Several types of cyanoacrylate glues are commercially available, some of which can be used for semi-porous materials like pottery and ceramics.

Choose epoxy resin glue for waterproof bonding of porous materials like wood, ceramic, pottery, china, as well as rubber, leather, fabric and plastic. It takes several hours for epoxy to cure completely.

Choose hot melt glue for instant bonding of porous materials like fabric, fiber and wood, as well as ceramic and pottery. Hot glue is the preferred adhesive for handicrafts because it cures instantly. However, hot glue does not stick to hard plastic and smooth or laminate surfaces.

Choose construction glue like contact cement, Loctite and Liquid Nails for construction projects like gluing drywall, paneling and mirrors, as well as installing toilet fixtures and ceramic tile. Silicone sealant is best for strong and waterproof bonding of glass. A wide assortment of construction glue is available at home improvement stores for all types of home projects.

Consider other types of adhesives like glue dots and adhesive tape. Glue dots come in different sizes and colors and are used for lightweight bonding. Adhesive tape comes in different strengths (from the extremely sticky duct tape to the slightly sticky painter's tape) and thickness (from thick foam-backed tape to flimsy gift-wrapping tape) and is either one-sided or double-sided. Glue dots and adhesive tapes are mostly non-permanent.


  • Keep the basic types of adhesive at home for ordinary use and emergency repairs. These are: white glue, cyanoacrylate, epoxy resin and various adhesive tapes. Always have acetone (nail polish remover) in case you accidentally glue your skin with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Denatured alcohol (aside from heat) helps remove hot glue. Multi-purpose household adhesives are also available in different brands like Duco Cement, Gorilla Glue, Rhino Glue, Goop, DAP and Loctite. Adhesive also comes in spray cans. Read instructions for proper use.


  • Some types of glue (like epoxy and contact cement) emit health-hazardous fumes. Always use with adequate ventilation.


About the Author

Ruby is a freelance writer by profession. She has written extensively about a wide variety of topics in print and online, but here at eHow, she shares her passion for home and garden. Whether it’s housekeeping, home organization, do-it-yourself restorations, or creative renovations, chances are she’s tried it herself. A big fan of power tools, always eager to get her hands dirty, and happy to answer questions, Ruby’s always puttering around the house or digging in the garden.