Sometimes, a bottle of white school glue just won’t cut it, particularly if you have to glue items that are tough, nonporous, and exposed to different elements. Enter epoxy glue. It’s much stronger than other glues and much more difficult to dissolve. Because epoxy glues work for a variety of surfaces, they’re ideal for home DIY projects. From carpentry to jewelry-making, epoxy glues are a versatile part of any tool kit.
Before you add epoxy glue to your cart, consider some factors. What materials will you bind with it? When possible, it’s best to buy epoxy glues that are made for adhering to specific materials. Also consider the kind of epoxy glue you want (two components vs. one component), what you plan to use it for, and how quickly it sets. Regardless of your purchase criteria, BestReviews is pleased to help inform your purchase with our guide.
When working with epoxy glues, it’s recommended to wear gloves. If you do get epoxy glue on your skin, remove it immediately before it sets. Try using soap and water or vinegar. If neither of these work, try a citrus-based cleanser.
How to buy the best epoxy glue
History of epoxy glue
The active ingredient in all epoxy glue is epoxy resin. Epoxy resin was discovered in the 1930s by Swiss chemist Pierre Castan, then created synthetically by German scientist Paul Schlack in the 1940s. To make epoxy glue, epoxy resin is typically mixed with a hardener and other filler materials such as petroleum.
Epoxy resin is created from various epoxide groups. Epoxy resins have differing degrees of hardness, density, and flexibility. Because this powerful resin can be easily manipulated by manufacturers, epoxy resins have become ubiquitous. They’re found in common household products, and they’re used by the aerospace industry, metalworkers, and pretty much any field that constructs durable products for consumer use.
The white glue used by students and craftsters is polyvinyl acetate-based (PVA) synthetic glue. This glue, often known as school glue or carpenter’s glue, is water-based and popular for craft projects and woodworking projects. PVA glue dries fast and can be peeled. While it’s flexible, it sorely lacks the durability of epoxy glues.
The epoxy glue you can purchase may not be as powerful as the epoxy resin used in space, but it’s pretty durable nonetheless.
One-part vs. two-part
Epoxy glues can be classified into two-part and one-part models. Two-component epoxy glues are packaged as two canisters bound together, with one containing epoxy resin and the other containing hardener. As the substances are dispensed at the same time, they bond together to make a strong, versatile adhesive. Two-part epoxy glues are great for binding substances with dynamic movement.
Since you don’t need heat to bind two-part epoxy glues, they’re often preferred over one-part epoxy glues. One-part epoxy glue arrives in a single tube, no mixing required. Although technology is advancing and there are a few more one-part epoxies that don’t require high heat, many of them do.
How to use epoxy glue
To use epoxy glue for the surface of your choice, make sure you have everything you need prepped. The actual surface to be glued should be sandpapered down so the epoxy adheres as well as possible. The glue’s applicator tip should already be removed, and the table, countertop, or floor you’re working on should be covered.
To mix a two-part epoxy glue, you need some kind of disposable tray. Turn the epoxy glue dispenser tip up and plunge the syringe to remove the air bubbles, then dispense the epoxy resin and hardener into the disposable tray and mix them. Once they’ve hardened (usually after a few minutes), apply the glue to the appropriate surfaces. Keep a rag on hand to wipe away the excess.
In case you aren’t aware of epoxy glue’s versatility, there are more than a few home improvement and DIY projects you can use it for.
Wood/metal glue: As a wood or metal glue, epoxy glue can preserve rotting wood or rusted metal in a pinch. You’ll want to remove the rotted wood or sand the rusted metal before applying the glue and allowing it to fully dry.
Jewelry: Epoxy glue can be manipulated to make unique and beautiful jewelry. It’s best to use a clear-drying epoxy glue for jewelry so you can add any dyes you like.
Plastic: Epoxy glues are useful for most nonporous surfaces, plastic included. With so many household products made from plastic, it makes sense to have a plastic epoxy glue on hand. You never know when a PVC pipe might burst or a polyethylene chair might break.
Bolt reinforcement: Epoxy glues are useful for bolt reinforcement — mainly for heavy, vibrating machinery. This is a more industrial use compared to other household fixes, but in case you need to know, you can add epoxy glue to a pre-drilled hole before fully securing the machinery to the floor. The epoxy glue will help protect the bolt from corrosion.
If exposed to the elements, epoxy glue may turn yellow over time. This isn’t cause for alarm, especially if the glue has been on the surface for some time. A properly set and cured epoxy glue bond may last as long as several years.
What features do epoxy glues have?
A clear-drying epoxy glue is best. It blends better with the original material and the color can be easily changed as needed. Not all epoxy glues dry clear, however — some dry gray instead. Be sure to check the packaging to confirm if it’s a clear-drying glue.
Set time is a crucial consideration. An epoxy glue that dries too slowly isn’t convenient, and an epoxy glue that dries too quickly won’t give you the time to manipulate the glue as needed. Several epoxy glues on the market dry within five minutes. That’s usually enough time to adjust the joints or surfaces being glued. There are certainly epoxy glues that take longer than five minutes. Set time is typically indicated on the packaging, so double-check to verify that the glue will harden when you need it to.
DID YOU KNOW?
Generally speaking, epoxy glue shouldn’t be used on fabrics. It will turn fabrics stiff, change their color, and otherwise change the fabric in an undesirable way. Opt for a quality fabric glue instead.
How much do epoxy glues cost?
Household epoxy glues are fairly affordable. In this range, expect to pay up to $7 for a glue. Glues at this price range are likely to be packaged as a single set, with no more than one ounce of product, if that. Even at this price, you can find two-part epoxy glues.
Epoxy glues in the $7 to $10 range include more product — as much as five ounces. Many of these epoxy glues are professional-grade. Some brands sell packs of two or three glues at this price.
If you have a larger surface to glue, the $20 and above range gets you epoxy glues in bulk. You can buy a gallon or more of epoxy resin and hardener. Some manufacturers may include additional accessories at this price range, such as a glue gun.
For two-part epoxy glues, don’t be too quick to mix your epoxy resin and hardener; otherwise, you risk a messy, sticky hardening process. The strength of the glue may even be compromised.
- Keep things ventilated. Epoxy glues give off strong fumes. Make sure the area in which you’re working is well-ventilated.
- Protect yourself and your surfaces. If you’re using multiple applications of epoxy glue, it’s a good idea to have rubber gloves and a face mask on hand. Cover your surfaces with parchment or wax paper. Neither will stick to epoxy glue.
- Be cautious if you need to mix. Epoxy may seem thick, but it’s actually quite viscous. Check that surfaces are free from dust and debris, and take your time while mixing to prevent splashing.
Epoxy glues can last up to a few years if stored properly. To ensure longevity, make sure the epoxy glue you purchase remains sealed after opening and stored in a cool, dry place. If you don’t foresee using epoxy glue very often, buy the smallest amount possible.
Q. Will epoxy glue work for metal to wood?
A. Yes. The highest-quality epoxy glues work on a number of different surfaces. Just be sure to check the glue’s label to confirm.
Q. How do I get rid of bubbles in cured epoxy?
A. To remove bubbles, reheat the resin using a heat gun (or hair dryer in a pinch). This allows the epoxy to thin enough for you to remove the bubbles and for it to cure smoothly.
Q. Can epoxy glue be removed?
A. Yes. It’s much easier to remove epoxy glue if it hasn’t cured (hardened) yet. For uncured epoxy glue, soak a clean rag with rubbing alcohol or acetone and rub it repeatedly until the epoxy residue is gone. For cured epoxy glue, you can do the same but with paint thinner or adhesive remover as the solvent. This should only be done in a well-ventilated area.
Which epoxy glue is the best? ›
- Devcon Plastic Steel Epoxy. The strongest epoxies will often have a longer setting time. ...
- Gorilla Two-Part Epoxy. For jobs that require you to hold the pieces together, a quick-set epoxy is the best choice. ...
- Loctite Epoxy. ...
- J-B Weld Original Epoxy. ...
- Bob Smith Slow-Cure Epoxy.
Loctite Plastic Bonder is the strongest epoxy plastic bonder on the market. Its tough rigid bond is impact and water resistant, making it ideal for outdoor applications like patio furniture, or broken plastic mailboxes.Which is stronger gorilla glue or epoxy? ›
The tradeoff is that in just about any case, epoxy is stronger, as well as being able to bond with so many different materials. That makes it an excellent go-to adhesive, when one is unsure what they should use.What is the difference between epoxy resin and epoxy adhesive? ›
The main difference between both adhesive types is the drying time. Both epoxy and resin adhesives require mixing before use, but epoxy hardens much faster than resin glue. Epoxy adhesive is far more expensive compared to resin glue since it has an excellent bonding capability that surpasses all type of adhesives.Which epoxy has the longest working time? ›
Long Work Life Epoxy Adhesive Overview
Infinity Bond EP190 is a two-part translucent epoxy and perfect for bonding metals and plastics. This metal bonding epoxy has a work-life of 70-100 minutes, shear strength of 3,000-4,000 psi and a handling cure is reached within 16-24 hours at room temperature.
Weld was accualy better than epoxy. Not price wise, but its quality. JB Weld actually is stronger, but not enough to make it worth it. It's very hard to get smooth.What is stronger super glue or epoxy? ›
Both form a very powerful bond and are good for specific uses. The type you choose should depend on your project. Super Glue has less shear strength but is easier to use. Epoxy has better structural strength.Which is stronger JB Weld or Gorilla Glue? ›
Compared to Gorilla Glue, JB Weld is stronger, more resistant to hazards, non-toxic, and versatile for many materials. It's the best glue around. Keep reading for a more detailed comparison between the two glues!What is the strongest glue in the world? ›
The name of the world's strongest adhesive is DELO MONOPOX VE403728. This is a modified version of the high-temperature-resistant DELO MONOPOX HT2860. This epoxy resin forms a very dense network during heat curing.What does Gorilla Epoxy not stick to? ›
The manufacturer says “Gorilla Epoxy works well on PVC sheets, but is not recommended for use on PVC pipe or certain low surface energy plastics, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), or certain types of rubber with high oil or plasticizer content.”
How long does epoxy glue last? ›
Epoxy shelf life can last many years when resin and hardener are properly stored at room temperature and in closed containers to prevent contamination. Those who have used polyester resins know that its shelf life is only about six months before it turns to a useless jelly-like substance.How thick can epoxy be poured? ›
For a pour less than 20L (5gal), a 1.5” layer should cure fine without overheating but for pouring more than 20L, we recommend breaking it up into multiple layers of about 1” per layer to avoid overheating. Keep in mind that FlowCast® is not recommended for pouring anything less than 1/2 inch.Which is better to use resin or epoxy? ›
Compared to casting resin, epoxy coating resin has relatively shorter processing times. Because the ink layers do not mix, they can be better controlled. Epoxy coating is more resistant to mechanical influence as compared to casting resin. Epoxy coating is suitable on rougher surfaces and is water-resistant.How do you keep epoxy resin from turning yellow? ›
A product that contains both a UV stabilizer and HALS will yield the best results against ambering and the other results of UV exposure. Apart from that, making sure that your epoxy supplies have little to no exposure to moisture, heat, or air will also help in preventing discoloration of the cured product.What is the hardest epoxy resin? ›
The strongest epoxy glue you can purchase is probably Systemthree's T-88. This two-part adhesive has a tensile strength of 7000 psi. It is well above the average strength for epoxies. T-88 exhibits outstanding adhesion and permanence on a wide variety of materials and is designed to resist adverse conditions.How do I choose epoxy? ›
- Chemical stability.
- Electrical insulation.
- Low moisture absorption.
- Durable adhesive bond.
- Excellent fatigue strength and flexural strength.
- Low shrinkage after curing.
Our 2:1 Epoxy Hardener is considered to be a slow hardener, Our 3:1 and 4:1 hardener epoxies will cure much faster. However this 2:1 hardener will provide you with the maximum working time possible and should not be used in temps under 70° F unless a very long curing time is needed.Are all epoxy glues the same? ›
Epoxy types vary widely, and specifiers need to note such attributes as nozzle time, gel time, load time, sag, cure time, and chemical resistance—each property will affect what makes the product ideal for the intended application.What's the strongest two part epoxy? ›
The strongest epoxy glue you can purchase is probably Systemthree's T-88. This two-part adhesive has a tensile strength of 7000 psi. It is well above the average strength for epoxies. T-88 exhibits outstanding adhesion and permanence on a wide variety of materials and is designed to resist adverse conditions.What is stronger Super Glue or epoxy? ›
Both form a very powerful bond and are good for specific uses. The type you choose should depend on your project. Super Glue has less shear strength but is easier to use. Epoxy has better structural strength.
How long does epoxy glue last? ›
Epoxy shelf life can last many years when resin and hardener are properly stored at room temperature and in closed containers to prevent contamination. Those who have used polyester resins know that its shelf life is only about six months before it turns to a useless jelly-like substance.