Choosing The Right Adhesives For The Right Job - A Complete Guide

Choosing The Right Adhesives For The Right Job A Complete Guide

Choosing The Right Adhesives For The Right Job

  • Posted by Direct Sealants in Adhesives
  • January 12, 2018
  • No Comments

When it comes to choosing the right adhesives, it seems like it should be a simple task.

What you need to accomplish is simple: you need to stick something to something else.

An adhesive is designed to stick something to something else… so surely, it can’t be that hard choosing the right adhesives?

The reality of choosing the right adhesives

Of course, this assumption is one that you will quickly realise is incorrect.

There are some general purpose adhesives that will do well when trying to stick to most surfaces.

For the most part, choosing the right adhesives for the job you have in mind takes some consideration.

To do this, you need to learn a little more about adhesives themselves.

To give an adhesive the best opportunity to work as described and the right questions to ask yourself when preparing a project.

We stock a large range of adhesives that, when used correctly, can help produce outstanding results.

Below are all the questions you might have regarding choosing the right adhesives.

As well as the answers you need to allow you to find the right product for your application.

Difference between reactive and non-reactive adhesives?

Ultimately, the biggest difference is in the application.

Reactive adhesives work via a chemical reaction, which allows them to harden and form a complete bond.

Epoxy adhesives are a good example of reactive adhesives.

The vast majority of applications in the modern world will require reactive adhesives.

These are easier to use and can be applied in a single step.

Non-reactive adhesives are generally used while hot; it is the cooling process that hardens the bond, rather than a chemical reaction.

Are adhesives harmful to health?

It is always recommended you use a mask, gloves, and other appropriate safety gear when working with adhesives.

If you take these precautions, then adhesives are completely safe to use.

Why are there so many different types of adhesive?

This is a common question, and the answer isn’t particularly enlightening at first glance.

Realistically, the reason there are so many different adhesives on the market is that there needs to be.

General purpose adhesives, such as Everbuild’s Fix in 5, can do a fantastic job at bonding the vast majority of surfaces.

General purpose sealants absolutely can be used on the majority of applications.

It’s natural to wonder why all the other kinds of adhesive need to exist.

The answer to this is found in an old saying:

“jack of all trades, but master of none”.

General purpose sealants can do a fantastic job, but that doesn’t mean they can do the best job for your application.

If you’re going to invest time and money in a job, you only want to do it once.

That means finding the right adhesive for the work you’re going to do.

Are general adhesives useless?

Not at all!

For one thing, general purpose adhesives are wonderful to have around.

Just in case they can help keep you working rather than having to pause to make a supply run.

They are also more than sufficient for a large number of jobs for which specialised sealants don’t exist.

You’re not going to find a special sealant for literally every job that you do.

General purpose adhesive should be used for all jobs that fall outside of the specialised sealants.

As a general rule, if there is a specialised adhesive available, then you should be using it.

Why choosing the right adhesives is so important

Specialised adhesives are designed for one particular purpose.

But if we look back to that same saying they are absolutely the master of that purpose.

Specialised adhesives aren’t concerned about just “being sticky”; they are specifically designed to deliver the best results in very specific circumstances.

Adhesives that are created for specialised jobs also take into account certain factors such as:

  • ease of use or…
  • drying times that will be needed to complete the work that needs to be done, as well as the eventual use of the item once the bonding has been completed.

For example, you could use a general purpose adhesive to lay down wood flooring.

There’s no doubt the general purpose adhesive would appear to work for this application.

The adhesive would bond the flooring to the tiles, and the finished effect would be rather good.

However, the general purpose adhesive isn’t designed with the specific requirements of adhering a floor.

It’s not been designed with considerations like: “the adhesive is going to be walked on frequently”.

That means that while the general purpose adhesive might work for awhile, its durability is going to be questionable.

Flooring Adhesive

A flooring specific adhesive, such as Everbuild’s Lumberjack 650 flooring adhesive, has specifically been designed to meet the needs of flooring.

That means it is engineered to be particularly flexible, to accommodate people walking on it, and can help to fill gaps when being used on uneven surfaces.

By using a specific product, you not only guarantee yourself a special finish, but also the benefit of the durability of the finished product when in use.

This helps to ensure long-lasting work that does not need to be redone relatively quickly.

The above is just one example of how the specific needs of a job can be met by a choosing the right adhesives for a designed for that task.

So while general purpose adhesives will always have a place, and are definitely useful to have on hand, you should opt for a specialised choice wherever possible.

Major considerations when buying and choosing adhesives

When it comes to selecting an adhesive for your purpose, there are several different factors you need to consider.

The first, as described above, is the need for a specialised adhesive where available, but there’s more decisions you need to make besides that.

Here’s an overview of what you need to consider.


Adhesives are not made equal.

You will need to find an adhesive that can handle the surfaces you intend to bond.

If in doubt, you can always ask us as Direct Sealants.

We’ll guide you as to whether the adhesive you are considering is suitable for the job you wish to complete.


The length of time the adhesive needs to “set” and form a firm bond between the two surfaces.

This is particularly important to consider when using adhesive on heavy items.

You want to look for high-grab adhesives.

Products such as Everbuild Maximum Torque, that will dry quickly and thus reduce the length of time the materials need to be supported in place.


Some adhesives can be painted, others will suffer a weakening of their bonds if painted.


It is particularly important to consider this when bonding items related to kitchen or electrical usage.

An adhesive must be heat resistant when the final bond will be subject to high levels of heat.

Always check the label of a product to ensure it can withstand heat.


Some adhesives will only bond surfaces when they are used in dry conditions.

This can be difficult if working outdoors or in bathrooms and kitchens.

Everbuild Stixall Extreme Power, for example, can be used in damp conditions, while most bathroom tile adhesives should work even when wet.


Most adhesives will be labelled as “interior” or “exterior”.

Interior adhesives are not suitable for use outdoors, usually due to insufficient weather proofing.

Most exterior adhesives can also be used outside; Pink Grip, for example, works well in both applications.


Many adhesives are designed to replace nails.

For example, Bond It Saves Nails can be used in place of conventional nails and screws.

However, if you are using this kind of product for weight-bearing (such as wall shelves), then you will need to check the technical specifications.

Make sure to ensure that the adhesive is capable of holding the weight required.

Essentially, you have to learn to read the labels.

It’s impossible to just grab a product off the shelf and be sure that it works.

You have to do a little more research to ensure that the work you need to complete can be done correctly, first time, and with excellent durability.

Can’t find the right adhesives

Send a query to us at Direct Sealants and we will help you navigate any issues you have.

If you are struggling to find the appropriate product.

Ensure your adhesive works correctly

There are a few pointers to keep in mind to give your adhesive the best chance of working effectively:

Prepare the surfaces.

Vacuum, dry, and fill gaps in the surfaces (where possible) prior to using.

Give sufficient bonding time.

Most adhesives will require 24 hours to be completely confident of a good bond.

Even if the bond feels solid prior to this, wait a day to give the adhesive the best chance to solidify the connection.

Final points to remember when choosing the right adhesives

Wherever possible, use an adhesive that is designed for a specific purpose.

Don’t use a product designed for a specific purpose for anything other than that specific purpose.

Chances are, it won’t work as a general adhesive.

Always read labels and be sure you have considered the various requirements of the work you are trying to complete.

Always use appropriate safety gear when using adhesives so as to protect your health.

Hopefully, the above will help you choose the right adhesives for the right job, every time.

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