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A Buying Guide to Adhesives


When you enter a hardware or craft store, you may find that the number of adhesives on offer there is so large that you may feel overwhelmed by the multitude of choices. Some of these adhesives are designed specifically for certain tasks. Other adhesives are designed to join different materials together. Hopefully, the following information will be of benefit to you if you are considering purchasing adhesives.

Types of Adhesive

There are six main types of adhesives to choose from:

  1. Wood work adhesives, like Unibond.
  2. Contact adhesives, such as Thixofix and Evo-Stik.
  3. Two part epoxy adhesives, like Araldite.
  4. Cyanoacrylale adhesives, which most people know as “super glue”.
  5. Universal and other general purpose glues and adhesives like Durofix and UHU.
  6. Two part acrylic adhesives, which are more of an acrylic than an adhesive.


There are also a number of specialist adhesives, which are mainly used in repairs. Some are made specifically for glass, PVC or even polystyrene. Others are for hobby work like paper and card glue, wallpaper glue or even bathroom tile glue to name just a few options.

How to Choose an Adhesive

When you are looking to use an adhesive, you need to first know what job you will be using it for. A few other things you should take into consideration include:

  1. What types of materials do you want to glue together? The adhesive you use has to be suitable for this, which is particularly important if the two elements are made from different materials. This can, unfortunately, be very difficult if you are dealing with plastic, because there are many types of plastic out there and it can be difficult to find out exactly which one you’re dealing with.
  2. How strong does the hold need to be? If you think of a wood glue, for instance, the bond it creates is often the same as the strength of the wood itself. However, if you use a plastic or metal glue, it will generally be much weaker. If strength is everything in your specific project, you may want to consider whether there are things you can do to reinforce the materials.
  3. In almost all cases, when you join two things together, you will need to fill a gap. The size of this gap is very important and different adhesives can deal with different sized gaps. For instance, a contact adhesive work on almost any medium sized gap. An eyanoacrylate, by contrast, will only work on a tiny gap. Choosing epoxy glue, finally, is a great idea if you have a wide gap, although epoxy works just as well on narrow gaps as well.
  4. How hot will the item become once it is glue. Some adhesives are so called ‘thermoplastics’, which means they will melt and let go if the temperature rises. If you know this could happen to your item, you may want to choose thermosetting glue instead, as this can withstand hotter temperatures.