To know how and when to use Liquid Nails construction adhesives, use this handy reference chart, comparing adhesives and tools. Most construction adhesives are available in tube form. Some of the larger floor and wall-area compounds are mastics (pastes) and are available in cans.

when to use a Liquid Nails construction adhesive

How and when to use Liquid Nails

 

Liquid Nails construction adhesives come in many formulations for many different uses, including roofing adhesives, flooring adhesives, tile adhesives, countertop adhesives and epoxy. 

Adhesive Type Formulations Tools
Needed*
How it Performs Uses
Roofing adhesive
  • Rubberized asphalt- or tar-based
  • Thermoplastic rubber-based
  • Polyurethane¬based
  • Standard caulking gun for roofing repair
  • Spatula or ¼-in. trowel for larger applications
Asphalt or tar performs best in moderate temperatures. These solvent-based formulations are waterproof and adhere well to most substrates. Rubber is added to the formulation to ensure the adhesive has elasticity to further reinforce its water resistance in extreme temperatures.  Adheres roofing tile to roofing substrate. (Secure tiles with nails or screws as well.) Serves as an additional layer of waterproofing to the roofing membrane. Also used to cement vent stacks, valley and chimney flashing, eaves and gutters.
Floor joist adhesive
  • Neoprene-based
  • Thermoplastic rubber-based
  • Polyvinyl¬acetate-based
  • Polyvinyl¬acrylic-based
  • Polyurethane¬based
  • Acrylic-based
  • Standard caulking gun
  • Battery¬powered or air-powered caulking gun for larger applications
These structural adhesives must conform to structural specifications including water- and flex-resistance, as well as application in extreme temperatures and humidity. Adheres plywood, OSB or flake board to floor joists to form a structural bond. Nails or screws are also required.
Plumbing caulk
  • Silicone-based
  • Latex-based
  • Mastic butyl¬rubber-based
  • Standard caulking gun
  • Spatula or ¼-inch trowel
All of these compounds resist water and are very flexible. When cured, they allow stretch of joints up to three times the normal width or compression to one-half the width. Seals drain flange into base or around faucet escutcheons of plumbing fixtures. Provides water-resistance to the joints.

Countertop (laminate)adhesive

  • Polyisoprene rubber-based cements
  • Rubber-latex based
  • Neoprene based
  • Styrene block-copolyper based
  • Brush applicator
  • Roller applicator
  • Standard caulking gun
  • 1/4-inch notched trowel
Easy-to-use adhesives provide quick bonding of substrate to laminate or wood-based countertops. When using contact cements, take care to ensure proper placement of the laminate to the countertop.. Adheres laminate-type countertops to wood substrates.
Countertop (solid surface, granite, marble, etc.) adhesive
  • Epoxies
  • 2-part acrylics
  • Curing urethanes
  • Standard caulking gun
  • 1/4-inch notched trowel
Adhesives prevent movement between joints. Will not shrink and form a tight bond to materials that contain small amounts of moisture Adheres granite, marble or other hard surface to base cabinets. Do not use rubber/solvent-based or latex-based adhesives for this application; both can stain countertop.
Backsplash adhesive
  • Thermoplastic rubber cements
  • Standard caulking gun
These easy-to-use adhesives provide quick bonding of substrate to laminate. Allows for correcting misapplied laminate. Adheres backsplash material to walls (i.e., laminate-type material adhered to wood-substrate, generally in kitchen or bathroom applications).
Wall tile adhesive
  • Rubber based
  • Polyvinyl acetate based
  • Thermoplastic rubber based
  • Acrylic based
  • 1/4-inch notched trowel
  • Hot melt gun (optional)
These adhesives are formulated with a small amount of solvent or a combination of solvent and water to hold tile in place (higher “grab”). Adheres ceramic, tile or vinyl or fiberglass panels to a wall.  For wall tile (vertical) applications, a hot melt gun is sometimes used for temporary adhesion while the mortar dries.
Ceramic floor tile adhesive
  • Cement-based mortar
  • Epoxy based
  • Acrylic based
  • Neoprene based
  • Thermoplastic rubber based
  • 1/8-inch notched trowel
Using a trowel, spread mortars and adhesives evenly over the entire floor surface. Then press tiles into the mortar. Used for floor tile, but not able to hold tile into place for vertical applications.
Soft flooring adhesive
  • Urethane based
  • Epoxy based
  • Acrylic based
  • Neoprene based (for carpeting only)
  • Thermoplastic rubber based
  • Natural rubber based(for carpeting only)
  • Asphalt based (for vinyl flooring only
  • 1/8-inch notched trowel
Most of these nonsolvent systems can cure in any condition or temperature. For proper adherence, let surface dry until tacky but not wet to the touch. Refer to manufacturer’s
curing and drying instructions.
Adheres carpet, vinyl and any non-floating wood floor to a subfloor.
Trim adhesive
  • For vinyl cove base moldings:
  • Latex-based For wood, MDF, foam and PVC molding and trim:
  • Thermoplastic rubber-based
  • Polyurethane¬based
  • Latex-based
  • Standard caulking gun
Most times, using these nonstructural adhesives in this application eliminates the need for mechanical fasteners. Adheres trim and molding in interior applications. NOTE: Do not use solvent-based adhesives on vinyl moldings, as they can distort vinyl as it dries.

 

Safety note: Always wear protective clothing and safety glasses when working with a Liquid Nails construction adhesive.

*Note: Refer to the material data safety sheet for the appropriate equipment to use.

 

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