Skip to main content

Types of Glue

Glue–a sticky subject. Literally. Having a few types of glue in your toolkit is an essential for everyone, from the DIY hobbyist to professional renovator. So what are the different types you can find at the hardware store and what are the best for? Check out our crash course in glue types, for the next time someone in your family crashes into something.

Image by Lowe’s

Cyanoacrylate (CA) AKA Super Glue

What it is

An acrylic resin that’s made up of polymer chains.

How it works

Super glue cures so quickly because its compounds react with the moisture in the air (and there’s a lot of moisture in the air!). It sets in seconds; and while most say it takes 24 hours to cure completely, it’s probably much less. Because of its speedy set time, you can’t work with the material.

When to use

Super glue is the perfect remedy for small repairs that set quickly, like cracks and fractures in ceramics or other small household items.  It’s pretty brittle so while it can stick things together well, it can’t take much impact (that’s why it shouldn’t be used for anything that requires structural repair). 

Pro tip

Go for the gel version if you are looking for something with a more flexible bond (which means less drippage!). 

Our favorite is Gorilla Super Glue.


Image by Lowe’s

Wood and White

What it is

White glue is a type of PVA. Wood glue is an ultra strong type of white glue. 

How it works

The major difference between this type of glue and super glue is that where super glue uses moisture to cure, PVA glues expels moisture to cure. More flexible than super glue and has a longer curing time, which means you have more time to “play” with it before it sets. Most often used in conjunction with a fastener. You need to have clamping pressure for PVA glue to work optimally.

When to use

Carpentry projects, craft projects

Pro Tip

Clamp it for about 30 minutes to help a strong set.

Our favorite choice is Titebond Original Wood Glue.


Image by Lowe’s

Epoxy

What it is

Epoxy is a type of polymer and comes in two forms: Heat-cured and Two-part. 

How it works

Like the name suggests, heat-cured epoxy cures in the presence of extreme heat (at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit). It is not as strong as its two-part counterpart, which requires you to combine the two components (resin and hardener) to create the bond. There are also versions of epoxy that can be used structurally. It is also waterproof.

When to use

Construction projects, like countertop installation, boat building, masonry projects, or anywhere you need an incredibly strong bond. 

Pro tip

Be sure to use epoxy only in well-ventilated spaces (completely outdoors, not around pets or kids).

Our favorite brand is DAP Tank Bond Gray Epoxy.


Image by Lowe’s

Craft

What it is

A broad category that encompasses lots of milder adhesives like fabric glue, hot glue, spray glue, dot glue, etc. 

How it works

Most craft glues are water-based adhesives that are quick-drying.

When to use

For crafting! Suitable for more lightweight materials and non-structural needs. 

Pro tip

Stock up on a variety of these glues to have on hand for decorative DIY projects.

Our favorite kind to use is ELMER’S Multi-Purpose Glue.

DIY + Inspiration

Top 6 Places to Feature Handmade Tile with Fireclay Tile
Installing a Reverse Osmosis Tank with Carly
Grout 101
Stay Up To Date With Us
Positive vibes. No mansplaining. Ever. Follow along to learn about the newest Pros on the MBuild roster, our favorite DIY + renovation tips, and stories about badass women in the trades. Let’s build the matriarchy one project at a time.