The 5 Best Glues For Plastic


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Mar 31, 2023

The 5 Best Glues For Plastic

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For most household projects, the best glues for plastic are super glue, epoxy, or solvent cement, but the right one for you depends on the product and how much time you have. Super glue is easy to use and great for small repairs, but liquid epoxy glue can provide a stronger hold. Epoxy putty is shaped with your hands and useful for filling in gaps. Also keep in mind that many glues don't provide a lasting hold on polyvinyl chloride (PVC), so if you're looking to join PVC, you'll want an industrial-grade solvent cement that's specifically formulated for the material. Most glues cannot be used with polyethylene or polypropylene plastics, so always check the glue's packaging to confirm that the formula is okay to use with your plastic.

Super glue, or cyanoacrylate, is a great choice for everyday repairs and can dry quickly. Super glues designed to be used with polyethylene or polypropylene might also include a primer to prep the plastic. When using an epoxy, you’ll have to mix together a resin and a hardener. Epoxies generally take longer to harden than cyanoacrylate, which can give you more time to work with them. And finally, home projects that involve gluing PVC are best accomplished with a two-step solvent cement that chemically welds PVC surfaces together. While the application process can sometimes be messy, PVC cement can fully harden in just minutes. Some adhesives are water-resistant and some are even safe for use with potable water (just check the packaging).

To determine the strength of any glue, look at the tensile strength, which is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Higher PSI generally indicates a stronger glue. However, tensile strength can vary a little in practice based on which materials you're gluing together. Glues can take different amounts of time to dry — while some become dry to the touch in seconds, many glues require several hours (often up to 24 hours) to fully cure or completely harden. Adhesives can dry in colors ranging from clear to black, so always choose a cure color that's appropriate for your project.

From a simple super glue to a PVC cement pack, here are five adhesives to use with plastic.

When you need a glue that dries clear and dries quickly, opt for the Gorilla Super Glue Gel. It begins to harden in just 10 to 45 seconds, which means you won't be stuck holding the plastic parts together for minutes on end. But according to the manufacturer, it's best to give it 24 hours to fully cure before applying any weight to the plastic. Depending on the specific materials you're gluing together, its tensile strength rates in the 500 to 1,500 PSI range.

Plus, the formula is thick enough to make it easy to control where it goes. While the glue isn't water-resistant, it can be used on a variety of surfaces, including vertical ones like walls. The cap features an anti-clog metal pin to help keep the glue fresh after you've opened it. You can buy one 20-gram bottle at a time, or grab it in packs of two or 10.

Positive Amazon review: "This glue works great. An actual Super Glue that actually works. I prefer this gel because it's thicker than the regular type and won't run all over the place, accidentally gluing your fingers together. I have used it on porcelain, plastics, hard rubber with great results."

This super glue system might look like an epoxy at first glance because it has a two-step process, but it's actually a super glue that comes with a primer to help prep smooth plastics. You don't have to mix the two formulas together: Just apply the plastic primer and let it dry, then apply the glue. The glue sets in seconds, but you should give it 12 to 24 hours to fully cure.

The Plastics Bonding System works on all plastics, including polypropylene and polyethylene. It's water-resistant (but not waterproof), has a tensile strength of 290 to 2,900 PSI, and dries clear. It also doesn't shrink as it dries, and can be sanded and drilled once hardened. It isn't safe to use on surfaces that come in contact with food or potable water, though.

Positive Amazon review: "This stuff works great! I like that it [came] with plastic bonder which is good for smooth surfaces [...] You only need a drop or two for it to stick. This stuff dries QUICK, so make sure you have your plastic exactly where you want it. [...] I'm pleased with the product."

With a tensile strength of up to 3,300 PSI, this Gorilla Epoxy is the strongest of the super glues and epoxies on this list. To use this epoxy, the manufacturer recommends roughening up the surface of the plastic, then mixing together the resin and hardener on a disposable surface (like the bottom of a soda can) and applying the epoxy as needed. The syringe design conveniently keeps the two formulas separate until you're ready to glue. You'll have approximately 5 minutes to work with it before it begins to set, and it's recommended that you let it cure for 24 hours before applying any weight.

In addition to gluing plastics together, this water-resistant epoxy can fill in gaps. The cure color of the Gorilla Epoxy is clear, and it can be painted, sanded, and stained. However, it is not food safe.

Positive Amazon review: "Great for a wide variety of projects. Holds strong and is durable. Reseals nicely too. Holds on to plastic great."

When you need to fill in gaps, chips, or cracks, look no further than this PlasticWeld glue, which contains both the resin and hardener in one stick. The tensile strength of this glue is relatively low at 600 PSI, but unlike the other options on this list, you can safely shape it with your hands before it dries. To use the putty stick, cut off the amount you need, knead the putty together to mix the two ingredients, and then set it in place. PlasticWeld takes about 25 minutes to set, and it reaches a full cure in about three hours.

It dries an off-white color, and it can be sanded, painted, and cut after it hardens. The manufacturer recommends it for auto bumpers and trim or vinyl surfaces, among other things. PlasticWeld is water-resistant and safe for contact with potable water once it sets. (However, while some users mention using this product to successfully seal leaks, J-B Weld's WaterWeld epoxy putty is a better option if you’re gluing parts that will be submerged for extended periods of time.)

Positive Amazon review: "This putty is the best plastic repair product I have ever used. It is easier to work with than liquid plastic epoxy. Slice an inch off of the jelly roll (or whatever amount you need) and fold it in half about 50 times to mix the outside with the inside. If big chunks of plastic are missing from your repair item, you can shape this into place and reinforce the part to be stronger than original. I have also sanded, ground, and drilled this after it cured, and have pressed fiberglass cloth into it (from an auto parts store) to make it even stronger."

Oatey's Handy Pack PVC solvent cement is made specifically for PVC. Unlike super glues and epoxies, solvent cements don't just glue the plastic — they actually melt the plastic's surface to chemically bond the parts. With this two-step pack, you get a primer to pre-soften the surface of the PVC and a cement to bind the plastic together.

After brushing on the primer and cement, hold the parts in place for 30 seconds, then let it set. The amount of time you have to wait before handling the PVC ranges from two minutes to six hours, depending on the size of the pipe and the temperature of your environment. This solvent cement is recommended for pipe up to 3 inches in diameter, and it's safe to use on surfaces that come in contact with potable water.

Positive Amazon review: "I've used this product for years, mainly on PVC for irrigation, pool and other pressurized systems and it always works."

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