Contact Adhesive Information

Written by gretchen freeman
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Contact Adhesive Information
Contact adhesive is a glue that works by sticking to itself. (glue bottle image by Bruce MacQueen from

Contact adhesive, also referred to as contact cement, is a solvent-based adhesive that works by autohesion, or self-bonding. To use this bonding agent, the surfaces to be attached are coated with the adhesive, left to dry until tacky and then stuck together.

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How It Works

Contact adhesive is made by suspending an adhesive in a chemical solvent. When it is applied to a surface, the solvent evaporates, leaving just the glue behind. Always apply contact adhesive in a well-ventilated area because the fumes can be toxic.


Contact adhesives are used for their fast application and setting times as well as their strong bonding properties. In the home, contact adhesives are commonly used to install decorative laminates in kitchens and bathrooms. They are also used in the manufacturing of automotive parts, furniture and leather goods.


Coat both surfaces to be attached using a roller, brush or spray mechanism. If the surfaces are porous, apply a second coat to ensure even coverage.

Drying Time

The full bonding potential is not reached until the adhesive has dried fully. While air exposure is sufficient for drying, using a fan or heat helps to speed the process.


Most problems with contact adhesive are caused by inadequate drying time, not applying enough adhesive or waiting too long before assembly. When applied correctly, the bond is instant and permanent, so use care during initial placement.

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