Types of Contact Cement

Contact cement can bond everything from laminates to leather.

Contact cement is a rubber-based adhesive that can bond almost any two materials, including laminates, metal, glass, paper, leather and some plastics. After a relatively thick layer is applied to both of the surfaces you wish to join, they are pressed together for an instant bond that cannot be readjusted after contact. Depending on the type of job and the amount of money you can spend, you may want to buy flammable, non-flammable or water-based contact cement.


Flammable contact cement must be used in a well-ventilated workspace. It cannot be used near an open flame, a running source of electricity or even a pilot light. Of the three types of contact cement, flammable is the cheapest and dries the quickest. For safety purposes, only use flammable contact cement on quick jobs where the materials bonded have no known chance of being exposed to open flames or running electricity.


Non-flammable contact cement is the most expensive type. Like flammable contact cement, it must be used in a well-ventilated area. This contact cement dries quickly and is completely safe to use around open flames and electricity. If you believe the bonded materials may be exposed to flames or electricity at any point, it will be safest to purchase non-flammable contact cement.


Water-based contact cement is best for jobs that can be done at a slow pace. It is completely non-toxic and non-flammable, making it safe for any job and any type of workspace. The major drawback to water-based contact cement is that it may need to dry for up to one hour before becoming effective. If you move the bonding materials before the cement has dried, you may ruin your work and have to start over. Water-based contact cement does not work on metal, and may cause corrosion on metal surfaces.

About the Author

Michael Monet has been writing professionally since 2006. At the San Francisco School of the Arts, he studied under writers Octavio Solis and Michelle Tea, performed his work in Bay Area theaters and was published in literary journals such as "Paradox," "Umlaut" and "Transfer." Monet also studied creative writing at Eugene Lang College in New York and Mills College in Oakland.