Liquid nails: what are they and which ones are better to choose?

Liquid nails: what are they and which ones are better to choose?

Liquid nails have appeared relatively recently. Initially, this was the name of a specific American-made glue. However, due to its high technical and operational characteristics, the composition quickly became widespread, and its name became a household name..


Liquid nails are a universal assembly adhesive for various surfaces, including those with different textures (ceramic, glass, metal, plasterboard). In addition to high adhesion, these formulations exhibit strength and high setting rates. It takes just a few seconds for the glue to harden. At the same time, its consumption is very economical – one drop is able to glue surfaces with a load of up to 50 kg.

The popularity of liquid nails is also due to the ability to tightly connect surfaces without using the usual fasteners (nails, self-tapping screws), which significantly simplifies and reduces the time of repair and construction work. The use of liquid nails eliminates noise and dust, they do not corrode, unlike standard metal fasteners.

The use of the composition does not require professional skills and labor-intensive surface preparation. Another “plus” is the possibility of gluing curved surfaces, including when they do not fit completely.

Such glue is not afraid of exposure to water and low temperatures (with the exception of water-based formulations), fire-resistant. Most high-quality formulations are non-toxic, have a mild neutral odor.

The product has a convenient form of release – these are tubes of various volumes, the minimum is 0.3 liters. As a rule, to use them, a special pistol is needed, where the tube is inserted. Using the composition is quite simple even for a non-professional.


Liquid nails are based on rubber combined with polymers. The filler is a special type of clay characterized by improved plasticity. In some formulations, chalk is used instead of clay. The latter not only becomes a filler, but also provides the necessary glue shade. In the classic recipe (using clay filler) titanium oxide is responsible for the color.

Older formulation also includes acetone (added to speed up the drying process) and toluone (to improve adhesion). However, these components are toxic and most of the leading manufacturers refused to add them to the composition of liquid nails..

GOST does not prohibit their use in compositions, however, more and more reputable European and domestic manufacturers do not introduce them into liquid nails.

There are rubber (neoprene) and acrylic (water-based compositions). The former, as already mentioned, are based on a rubber solvent, the latter on an acrylate basis. Acrylic copolymers in water-soluble formulations can replace PVC or polyurethane.

Types and technical characteristics

Depending on the base, liquid nails are divided into the following compositions:

Water based

Such compositions have an acrylic base, and therefore are considered absolutely environmentally friendly. They are suitable for gluing surfaces with which a person is in direct contact (interior decoration of living rooms in the first place). When applied and dried, water-based liquid nails do not emit an unpleasant odor. The strength indicators of the composition are lower than those of synthetic analogs, therefore they are not suitable for bonding heavy surfaces. Among the disadvantages are low indicators of moisture resistance and frost resistance, and therefore they are not suitable for use in conditions of high humidity, for outdoor work.

Synthetic origin

Such nails are also called neoprene nails, and synthetic rubbers are used as a solvent. The adhesive is characterized by high strength, therefore it is suitable for fixing even heavy materials (metals). It is distinguished by frost resistance, tolerates temperature fluctuations well, exposure to moisture. The disadvantage is low toxicity. When applied, the glue emits a mild specific odor, which evaporates on its own 2-3 days after application.

Undoubtedly, the composition of liquid nails determines the scope of their application..

In this regard, the glue is divided into 2 types:

  • universal;
  • special.

The universal adhesive has found wide application, as it provides reliable fixation of various surfaces in any conditions. However, in specific conditions, a special modification still works better. It can be specially designed for outdoor or indoor use, dry or wet rooms, exclusively for metal surfaces, for expanded polystyrene. Special compositions also include compositions with increased adhesion, strength or accelerated glue setting time..

Specific include heat-resistant glue (used to repair stoves and fireplaces). Waterproof and frost-resistant counterparts are usually used for outdoor work. Such compositions are weather-resistant, do not change their characteristics even after several freeze / thaw cycles..


The advantage of liquid nails is also several color variations, so the gluing points are almost invisible. Transparent and translucent formulations are very popular, but they cannot always be used due to insufficient adhesion..

In the tube, you can find white or beige glue, usually designed for gluing plastic and expanded polystyrene elements. The brown tint of liquid nails is usually characteristic of wood compositions. The color of the glue matches the shade of the lacquered wood, which allows you to mask the joints.

Yellow liquid nails are suitable for colored materials.. If this tool is of a suitable composition, but siding and wall panels are attached to it.

If you could not find the right shade of liquid nails, you can simply paste over the completely dried glue seam in a suitable shade. It should be remembered about the compatibility of paint and varnish compositions on different layers. So, it is better to paint water-based glue with acrylic paints, rubber seam – with similar synthetic means..


Liquid nails are usually used for bonding metal, wood and chipboard surfaces, glass and mirrors, as well as plasterboard structures. It is possible to connect both homogeneous and dissimilar, as well as loosely adhering bases.

An important point – the glue is not intended for gluing wet surfaces, in which case it loses its ability to adhere to the material. Wet is meant not only surfaces to which water has been applied or in contact with it, but also insufficiently dried wood..

Liquid nails are widely used in repair work – heavy wallpaper (for example, bamboo or cork wallpaper, soft wall panels), ceramic tiles can be fixed on them. At the same time, the reliability of adhesion when using liquid nails will be higher than traditional masonry compounds demonstrate..

The only drawback is the higher cost of liquid nails, so they are best used for cladding small surfaces. For laying tiles on large areas, it is more rational, of course, to use classic masonry mixtures. Liquid nails are often used to glue ceiling panels, and can also be used to fix baseboards or moldings. For these purposes, it is better to use quick-setting compounds for plastic..

Some manufacturers use liquid nails as a sealant to fill gaps in wall surfaces., between walls and floors, in window and doorways. In principle, this is possible, but sealants are elastic, which cannot be said about liquid nails. In theory, of course, you can use them as sealants. However, practice shows that it is undesirable to do this. Liquid nails are also suitable for mirrors, but they should not contain components that destroy amalgam. As a rule, these are silicone-based formulations..

Only neoprene liquid nails with increased strength are suitable for bonding metal and concrete substrates (they must withstand a load of up to 80 kg / m2). They are also used for fixing large or heavy wooden surfaces, for example, for gluing laminate to the wall. This is one of the technologies for zoning a room, obtaining the necessary visual effect..

For gluing some floor materials – linoleum, carpet, liquid nails can also be used. True, it can be too expensive, in addition, a special super-strong, vibration-resistant composition will be required..

Liquid nails are often used in a combination of metal hardware and are even used to protect the latter from corrosion..

Manufacturers overview

Do not expect high quality and safety from anonymous formulations from unknown manufacturers. Preference should be given to original products of a reputable brand, therefore it is useful to ask the seller for a certificate of conformity before buying..

The leading manufacturer of liquid nails is the German company Henkel.. The produced adhesives Makroflex and Montazh Moment are universal. There is also a special line for ceiling tiles, cornices and moldings, separate compositions for chipboard, wood, glass, metal. The “Super Strong Plus” modification can withstand increased loads (up to 100 kg / m2).

For gluing heavy structures (wall panels, siding, tiles), the manufacturer recommends choosing “Mounting Moment Extra Strong”. However, it is not suitable for fixing polystyrene foam substrates. In this case, it is better to use the “Instant Super Strong” water-based.

An extended line of liquid nails can be found from another manufacturer from Germany – Kim Tec.. Differentiation of the compositions is made based on the texture of the materials to be glued, indicators of the strength of the adhesive bond. Moisture resistant formulations are also available.

American adhesives are famous for their high quality (which is quite logical, because the USA is the birthplace of liquid nails). Among the leaders are Franklin, Macco, whose products are of consistently high quality. The LN601 rubber adhesive from Macco is well known for its versatility. However, it is not suitable for high humidity applications..

Almost not inferior to European compositions and liquid nails “Titan” from a Polish manufacturer. In addition to high quality, the product is characterized by affordability. If you need a composition for ceramic tiles, “Titan WB-50”, “Solvent Free” are suitable, which are characterized by improved adhesion, moisture resistance, and in addition, they can withstand small vibrations and dry quickly.

For mirrors, LN-930 or Zigger 93 is usually recommended. The composition of these liquid nails does not harm the surface as it does not destroy the amalgam.

Among the compositions that are resistant to high humidity indicators, it is worth noting Nail Power, Tub Surround. Their moisture resistance in combination with high strength characteristics allows the use of compounds for tiling bathrooms and kitchens.

Fast-drying compositions include “Solvent Free”, which is convenient to use for gluing ceiling cornices, moldings, baguettes and other elements mounted on vertical bases.

Among the versatile liquid nails that have received positive feedback from consumers, “Stayer 41334” is usually noted. (Germany), “Titebond Multi Purpose” (USA), “Moment Installation Universal” (Russia).

For plastic surfaces, the recommended compositions are “Quelyd Mastifix Ultra”, “Kraftool KN-915”. The latter is also suitable for operation at high humidity levels..

For tiles, in addition to highly durable fixing compositions, you can also purchase “Titanium Ceramics and Stone”, “Liquid Nails”. They are suitable for fixing large materials, including ceramic tiles and artificial stone. Available in white and beige colors, which eliminates the need for grouting.

How to choose?

The choice of liquid nails is recommended according to the following criteria:


Depending on the purpose of the composition, you should choose acrylic or rubber liquid nails. The former are optimal for lightweight materials used indoors at normal humidity. In all other cases, it is better to opt for a rubber-based analogue..

It is preferable to choose a composition with a clay filler, since chalk modifications have the worst adhesion. The composition with chalk should be abandoned even if it is planned to glue metal surfaces. Acetone and taulon are also undesirable in the composition of the glue, the presence of which is usually indicated by a strong pungent odor.

Scope of use

This criterion is largely related to the previous one. For domestic use, general purpose liquid nails are usually sufficient. For bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms with high air humidity, as well as for outdoor use, only moisture-resistant compounds should be selected.

Special glue is also required for fixing polystyrene foam.. Other types may contain additives that destroy the material..

Setting speed

In most cases, this criterion is not the main one when buying liquid nails. However, when it comes to gluing tiles to ceilings and similar surfaces, it is better to choose an adhesive with an increased setting speed..

If you do not have sufficient skill for the job, it is better to choose formulations that have a slower setting speed. This will allow you to correct the position of the parts..

Type and weight of glued surfaces

Universal compositions are suitable for solving most construction and repair tasks, but in some cases it is better to use specialized analogs, taking into account the characteristics of the material of the elements. It is important to take into account the weight of the products, correlating it with the strength of the glue. The greater the mass of the products to be glued, the higher the load-carrying coefficient should be..

When choosing liquid nails, it is important to pay attention to material compatibility.. So, water-soluble polyurethane-based compounds are not recommended for gluing polyethylene and Teflon surfaces. Acrylic compounds are best used on porous substrates. When buying, you should pay attention to the shelf life and storage conditions. The first usually does not exceed 12 months if stored at a temperature of -5 … +30 degrees. Do not allow freezing of the product, its contact with water. When exposed to direct sunlight, the composition stratifies.

Usage guide

The glue is easily applied at home without requiring a professional approach. It is completely ready for use, you just need to place the cartridge in a special gun. However, in the absence of such, you can use glue without it. It will just be a little uncomfortable.

Prepare surfaces before applying glue. They must be clean, fat-free and dry. Otherwise, the adhesion of the adhesive is significantly impaired..

The glue tube must be installed in a special gun and opened. On large surfaces, the glue is applied with a snake; for small light parts, spot application is sufficient.

After the glue is applied to the part to be fixed, it is firmly pressed against the base and held for 1-2 minutes. If necessary, you need to align the horizontal and vertical.

If the parts are heavy enough or in a suspended state, it is recommended to apply a small amount of liquid nails to the base. The final adhesion will take place in 1-2 days. It is after this time that the structure to be glued can be operated..

If heavy parts are adhered to vertical or inclined surfaces, it is best to support them reliably with wood or metal supports. Such supports should be evenly installed over the entire surface of the part to be fixed and left until the glue seam is completely dry..

Gluing fragile objects (glass surfaces, mirrors) to a vertical base also requires the use of supports and additional fixation of the element with masking tape to the wall until the glue is completely dry. If heavy surfaces are glued, the following technology can be used. Apply a sufficient amount of glue to the prepared part and attach it to the base for a minute, then remove. Wait 5-7 minutes so that the glue is absorbed into the upper layers of both the part itself and the working base, then re-attach the part to the working surface, align and hold for 2-4 minutes until adhesion. If necessary, install wooden supports until the glue is completely dry.

When working with rubber adhesives, it is recommended to wear a respirator and protect the skin of your hands with gloves.. Since the composition is toxic, good ventilation should be provided for indoor use. Until the moment of hardening, such glue is flammable, therefore work should be carried out away from heating and heating devices and sources of fire. If, during the application process, glue gets on the front sides or other surfaces that cannot be glued, you should wipe off the drops as soon as possible, first with a dry and then with a damp cloth..

The cured composition can be removed mechanically, that is, by scraping off the surface. However, this could damage the latter. Better to use mineral solvents or a building hairdryer.

When using solvents, it is recommended to carry out a preliminary test on a sample of the material or an invisible part of it. If, 30 minutes after the solvent is applied to the sample, it is not damaged, no negative effect is noticed on its surface, you can dissolve the stains on the base with this tool. A small amount of solvent should be applied to the glue drops, wait 3-5 minutes and gently wipe off with a rag. After that, the coating should be washed with clean water..

The easiest and safest way involves heating the cured glue with a construction hairdryer.. After which they will acquire a liquid consistency, the drops are simply removed with a clean cloth, and the surface is rinsed with water. If acrylic liquid nails get on the skin, they are washed off with ordinary running water and soap, if rubber ones – use vegetable oil, petroleum jelly or fat cream.

Useful Tips

To work with liquid nails, you need a gun (visually resembles a syringe), where a cartridge with glue is inserted. One side of the cartridge rests against the wall of the gun, when pressed on which a portion of the glue is squeezed out. Due to the simplicity of the design, even a person who has no experience in construction activities can handle the application of liquid nails.

For work, you can use frame or sheet guns. The former are considered more reliable. Depending on the design, it is possible to select devices with and without a return stroke. The latter are usually used for professional purposes. For domestic use, a pistol without a reverse stroke is sufficient.

If you plan to use several types of liquid nails at the same time, then it is better to choose professional pistols in which you can change the tubes without waiting for the glue in the cartridge to run out..

Under certain conditions, you can do without a pistol. To do this, open the tube and squeeze out the glue by pressing on its movable bottom. You can do this with a hammer. However, in this case, there is always the risk of uneven release of the adhesive, as well as its splashing..

The upper part of the tube has a dispenser. By cutting higher or lower, you adjust the thickness of the adhesive layer and, accordingly, its consumption. Manufacturers usually recommend cutting the tube along the lower division (closer to the cartridge) to obtain an adhesive output thickness of 6 mm..

However, in some cases, a smaller amount of funds is sufficient. So, if it is necessary to smear the seams (for example, after the part or the ceiling plinth, tile is fixed), you can cut off the corner of the tube in the first division. Then the glue will come out in a layer with a diameter of 2 mm.

Small and lightweight plastic parts can be glued by cutting off the tube in the second division. Then a layer with a thickness of 3 mm will come out of it. Thicker plastic, as well as light wood parts can be fixed by cutting off the tube in the third division. The released layer will be equal to 4 mm.

Thick and heavy parts made of plastic and wood can be “planted” on a 5 mm layer of glue, for the release of which you need to cut off the fourth division of the tube.

In the video below, you will find a comparison between hot melt glue and liquid nails. Is it possible to replace one with another? For which surfaces is it better to choose hot melt glue, and for which liquid nails?

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