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Hardware Store Intervention

Stick and Seal: The Basics of Adhesives, Glue and Caulk (page 3 of 3)

The hardware store carries such a large variety of caulks and adhesives, it can often get confusing. Learn what to use for all your projects, repairs and fillers.

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Heavy-Duty Adhesives

Construction adhesives, such as Loctite and Liquid Nails brands are best for large projects like laminating beams. They’re also good for smaller jobs like attaching trim, molding and paneling, especially if you don't want to use fasteners. They're not all quick-setting, so you'll need to check the label.

Liquid Nails can be used in multiple applications and with multiple materials. It's perfect for a wide variety of jobs, everything from repairing vinyl flooring to shoe repair. And one of the best parts is that it dries clear and can be cleaned up with water.

In the last few years polyurethane glues, such as Gorilla Glue, have become popular for a lot of uses, primarily repair jobs. The product requires the bonding surfaces to be dampened to activate the adhesive. This process creates a foam that penetrates and fills the bonding surfaces. But be careful: Not knowing how much foam will be created after the initial squeeze often causes DIYers to use too much and ultimately create a big mess.

Epoxies generally come in two parts that need to be mixed to activate. These are best for heavy-duty and permanent uses including large outdoor projects and connections that have a weak joint.

Spray adhesives are good for attaching fabrics and vinyl sheets to large surface areas. For example, they can be used to attach felt to the bottom a wood box or checkerboard.

Hot glue is great for a lot of craft projects, but it can also be used to temporarily hold project parts together while the permanent glue sets up — especially in situations where clamps are hard to use. Hot glue will not provide a good solid adhesive on all surfaces and shouldn't be relied on for quality holding power.

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