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Construction Adhesives and Sealants

Construction Adhesives and Sealants

Construction adhesives and sealants allow for strong bonding in building projects. They also help distribute stress and weight across bonded surfaces, ensuring structural integrity. They can also resist exposure to moisture and extreme temperatures.

The type of materials you’re bonding will determine what kind of construction adhesive is right for you. There are a number of options available, from one-component polyurethane construction adhesives like Loctite to heavy duty woodworking mastics.


There are several different types of construction adhesives and sealants, based on their chemistries and their intended use. Some of the most common types include one-component, two-component, and sealant tapes. One-component construction adhesives are typically the most versatile and easily applied. Their chemistries may include silicone, urethane, and acrylics. Two-component construction adhesives are more complex and require mixing equipment, but they often provide higher strength and durability than single component options. They can be made of epoxies, polyamine hardeners, cements, and methyl methacrylate (MMA). Sealant tapes are usually butyl-based.

Engineers must consider the substrate materials and environmental conditions that a bond must withstand when choosing an adhesive or sealant for construction applications. Additional considerations may include the tensile and compressive stress construction adhesives and sealants levels, thermal expansion and contraction rates, and chemical exposure.

The physical form of a construction adhesive or sealant can also affect its application and curing characteristics. Liquid adhesives are often the easiest to apply, but they can leak or sag during their curing time. They are most effective when used for adhesions that require gap filling and are best applied using tools such as a brush, roller, or caulking gun.

Those in the form of a paste are typically more viscous and can be more difficult to spread, but they offer excellent gap filling and non-sagging properties. They are ideal for adhesions that require thick gap filling mastics or when a long working life is required.


There are many different uses for construction adhesives, including bonding and sealing materials together, reducing the need for fasteners, and filling gaps in uneven surfaces. Adhesives also can help increase the strength of a surface by providing more uniform distribution of load and stress, unlike fasteners alone.

There is a broad variety of chemistries used in construction adhesives and sealants. Generally, they are divided into three categories: physically hardened, chemically cured and pressure-sensitive. Physically hardened construction adhesives, such as cyanoacrylates and methyl methacrylates, are typically strong, flexible and resistant to temperature and humidity. They start out in liquid form and then become physically hardened upon application.

Water-based and solvent-based construction adhesives are typically used in thin applications. However, these types of adhesives may shrink during drying, leaving spaces that require re-adhesion or repairs. They need to be used in a controlled environment, such as an enclosed area or with a respirator.

Non-shrinkage construction adhesives, such as acrylic emulsions and PVAc polymer adhesives, are designed to be used in thicker applications. They contain mineral fillers to lower cost, improve gap filling properties and provide a viscosity that can be applied with a notched trowel without sagging. These types of construction adhesives offer good shear strength and good resistance to cold temperatures up to -40°C. These types of construction adhesives can be used in applications such as flooring, wood molding and trim, stair assemblies and ceramic and glass tile installation.


Adhesives and sealants reduce assembly construction adhesives and sealants time, increase durability and help create a stronger finished product. They can also distribute stresses across the bond line, reducing failure risks. They can also eliminate the need for fasteners, resulting in cost savings and material waste reduction.

Many of these chemicals are flammable, requiring proper storage to prevent fire hazards. They may also pose a health risk to workers if used incorrectly, so users should read the technical data sheets and safety labels carefully. Some adhesives may emit dust or toxic fumes during curing, so workers should wear protective equipment such as respirators, gloves and eye protection, and ensure that work areas are adequately ventilated.

Look for options that are labeled as low- or no-VOC, which means that they don’t release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere during use. Avoid those that require mixing or activation, as these will likely release dangerous chemicals into the air for extended periods of time. Many companies offer environmentally friendly adhesives and sealants, which are a great choice for any job that requires these types of chemicals.


The conditions under which construction adhesives are used affect their strength, durability and longevity. You’ll need to choose an adhesive that is suitable for the environment in which it will be applied and cured, such as indoors or outdoors, and whether the surfaces you’re bonding are exposed to moisture or extreme heat.

Some construction adhesives emit toxic fumes, dust or vapors that pose a health risk and require specific precautions during application and cleanup. Check the product’s safety data sheet for details on personal protective equipment, such as eye protection and dust masks, and refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for barrier creams that protect skin from the chemicals.

Once cured, most construction adhesives are safe to use and do not present any risks. However, exposure to uncured adhesives can cause a variety of problems, including fires and explosions, surface damage, odor, and skin irritation. Therefore, you must store all adhesives in designated chemical storage areas and follow all handling, mixing, application, and disposal instructions for each product.

If you’re looking for a strong construction adhesive that can withstand a lot of pressure, look no further than the Power Grab Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive from Loctite. This strong, long-lasting glue is perfect for applications such as stair assemblies, wood molding and trim, vinyl cove and stair nosing, and more. Plus, it is weather-resistant, paintable, and has a low VOC count.

Understanding Construction Adhesives and Sealants

Understanding Construction Adhesives and Sealants

Construction adhesives are used for bonding different materials, such as wood, concrete, metals and more. They create a strong and durable bond that is resistant to water, heat, chemicals, and more.

It is important to choose the right type of adhesive for each job and surface to ensure you get a strong, long-lasting bond.

1. Strength

Construction adhesives and sealants join and bond different materials, offering reliability and structural integrity. Depending on the substrate and environmental conditions, these products can be designed to provide varying levels of strength and durability. The type of stresses — compressive, tensile or torsion — that will be experienced and the working temperature and chemical exposure may influence which adhesives to use.

Adhesives come in several forms, including physically hardened, chemically cured and pressure sensitive. Physically hardened types, which start out in liquid form and dry by evaporation or absorption of the carrier, can include solvent-based adhesives such as cyanoacrylates, silicones or methyl methacrylate and water-based construction adhesives like polyurethanes or epoxy glues.

Generally speaking, caulks are intended to serve a cosmetic purpose, while construction adhesives and sealants sealants will keep air, moisture or other unwanted elements out of a joint. They typically have lower strength than adhesives. On the other hand, construction adhesives can be formulated to meet many specific engineering and production requirements, such as high elongation at break or low shrinkage after application. This enables them to be used in applications that require long-term strength, but short-term handling or rapid production lines.

2. Versatility

A basic understanding of the different types of construction adhesives and sealants enables DIY enthusiasts to make informed choices that improve their results. They can also avoid common mistakes that cause a weak bond.

Whether you are bonding wood, metal, concrete, or plastics, these adhesives offer secure adhesion for projects of all sizes. They can even fill gaps and provide insulation to keep your work stable and structurally sound. They are also able to resist challenging conditions like extreme temperatures and humidity.

These adhesives are available in a variety of containers, including buckets, tubes, and sticks. Some are also formulated for specific materials and applications. To ensure you select the right one for your project, look at its viscosity and other characteristics.

For example, this one-component construction adhesive from Loctite offers the versatility of a strong bond, weather resistance, paintability, and a low VOC count. It is a good choice for large, long-term jobs, or on-the-go use on smaller projects and last-minute fixes. It also comes with UL Environment certification to confirm its eco-friendly properties.

3. Weather Resistance

There are a variety of weather conditions to consider when choosing construction adhesives and sealants. The environment, temperature and humidity are all key factors that impact curing times and long term performance. Choose a high quality product that can stand up to the conditions where it will be used.

Non-structural adhesives are used for bonding decorative materials, floor and wall coverings and other materials that do not need very high strength (panels, fibers and particle boards, trim and some interior doors). These include emulsion, dispersion, silane hybrid prepolymers and solvent-based adhesives.

Sealants are more flexible than adhesives and can fill gaps between components or substrates to form air-tight barriers. They are often used in conjunction with other fasteners and are characterized by high tensile and shear strength. Some sealants are elastomeric, and have up to 40% elongation at break and good construction adhesives and sealants fatigue resistance. Some are low odor, and therefore suitable for use in occupied spaces. They are typically used in the building and construction industry for sealing and caulking.

4. Sealing

Construction adhesives are designed to bond and seal joints in a variety of applications. They’re used to hold materials together and reduce the amount of fasteners needed. They also help distribute load and stress over a larger area, which reduces the chances of failure in high-stress areas.

A wide range of chemistries are available to meet the varied needs of contractors, builders and homeowners. Some of the most common construction sealants are silicones and elastomers that offer versatility and flexibility. Others are based on neoprene or polychloroprene rubber, which offer superior resistance to weathering and aging.

Most of these are one-component sealants that cure through a reaction with humidity in the air. They can be extruded through a caulking gun and used to seal gaps up to 20 mm thickness. These usually contain mineral fillers to reduce cost, improve the gap-filling properties and give a creamy consistency that can be easily spread with a notched trowel without sagging.

5. Protection

Adhesives offer the ability to bond and hold together surfaces in a wide range of applications including flooring installations, stair assemblies, molding and paneling, bathroom installations, and more. This helps to reduce the number of fasteners required and provides greater structural support than fasteners alone.

They form bonds, or stick, in one of two ways: mechanical adhesion, which happens when the fibers and pores of a porous substrate like wood or concrete physically interlock with the adhesive when it dries; and chemical adhesion, which relies on molecular forces, polarity, and surface energy to create a bond between the substrate and the adhesive.

Other considerations when choosing an adhesive include the ambient temperature and humidity where it will be used. High levels of humidity can slow the curing process, and low temperatures can cause the adhesive to become stiff or dry out prematurely. Contractors should also look for products that have been formulated with MoldGuard, which is a special additive that prevents the growth of stain-, odor- and mildew-causing mold and algae on the sealant.