Homeowner’s Guide to Glue

Titebond I, II and III wood glue, on a shelf in a workshop

Trying to find the right glue at your local home improvement store can be overwhelming.

There are so many options, and picking the wrong one can lead to a sticky situation — or not, which could be worse.

The trick is to match the glue with the job, but that’s not always easy.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types that are available to help you get it right.

Yellow and White Glue

Man applies Titebond 3 Ultimate Wood Glue to a woodworking project

Yellow glue — such as Titebond Original Wood Glue — is mainly used for interior woodworking. But there are also moisture-resistant and even waterproof versions, including Titebond II Premium Wood Glue and Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, respectively. 

Using woodworking glue is easy. Just apply it to the pieces of unfinished or unpainted wood and clamp them. Titebond recommends clamping unstressed joints for 30 minutes to an hour and stressed joints for 24 hours. 

White glue — often used in elementary school projects — also comes in a professional-grade formula. Titebond All Purpose White, for instance, is perfect for crafts, light home repairs and general woodworking. It’s less resistant to moisture and takes longer to cure.

Yellow and white glues have a shelf life of up to two years, so they’re effective tools to keep on hand in your garage or workshop.

They’re non-toxic and you can clean them with water and a damp rag. But you’ll need to sand unfinished work thoroughly before finishing, as any glue residue will prevent stains and clear finishes from penetrating the wood.

Wood glue drying time is a big concern for do-it-yourselfers, and the good news is you don’t have to wait long for results, depending on the project. 

Curing — the time that wood glue takes to reach full strength — may take six hours.

Instant Glue

Glue that has fast set and cure times comes under the chemical name cyanoacrylate, but you’ve probably seen it in the home improvement center as Titebond Instant Bond

Instant glue comes in handy for everyday household emergencies. Whether you drop a vase, step on your child’s favorite toy, or break a corner off a ceramic picture frame, you’ll be glad you have it. 

To apply instant glue, first clean and dry the item, ensuring there’s no dirt or oil residue, for maximum adhesion. Instant Bond sets in five to 15 seconds and cures between 30 and 60 seconds. It creates an almost invisible bond on wood, rubber, and some plastic substrates, among others. 

This product is not intended for foam, polyethylene and/or polypropylene plastics. And it’s not useful for exterior applications and areas with continuous water submersion. Go with Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue if you have a woodworking project that needs maximum protection from the elements. 

If you get it on your fingers, keep acetone-based nail polish remover on hand and rub the affected area until it removes the adhesive.

Finally, instant glue tends to dry out, so store it tightly capped (and clearly marked) in the refrigerator between uses. If you have young children, place it in an old childproof prescription bottle to keep it out of curious hands.

Polyurethane Glue

Polyurethane glue is waterproof and versatile. It can be used for interior and exterior projects, bonding everything from foam, fiberglass and wood to brick, metal and stone.

Titebond Polyurethane Glue also is ideal for ceramics, most plastics, HPL, Corian, and other porous and non-porous materials. 

It expands as it cures, allowing it to fill cracks and gaps, and it’s easily sanded and unaffected by finishes.

For the best results, apply the glue and clamp the pieces together for 45 minutes.

Polyurethane glue has a one-year shelf life in an unopened container. If you want it to last longer, just store the bottle upside down to help keep the glue from solidifying between uses.


Applying Titebond Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive

Construction Adhesive

Construction adhesive, as its name implies, is for more demanding projects such as hanging drywall and installing countertops. 

This thick, waterproof adhesive is often used to attach plywood, drywall and paneling to framing, but it’s also suitable for projects around the home.

Titebond Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive‘s professional-strength formula provides strong grab, fills gaps and irregularities, and remains permanently flexible. 

Construction adhesives come in a tube and are applied with a caulking gun. You’ll need to keep the nozzle tightly capped to prevent the adhesive from drying out.

Whether you use it indoors or outdoors, to build or repair something, there’s a good chance it will come in handy. If you’re wondering what you can do with it, here are 5 uses for this product.


Other Products

Finally, there are two other products that homeowners should know about, and each is helpful with everyday projects.

Hot glue, applied on wood
(©nanantachoke, Adobe Stock Photos)

Hot glue, a thermoplastic adhesive, comes in cylindrical sticks heated in an electric glue gun. To apply it, you pull the trigger on the gun, and then quickly assemble the pieces before the hot plastic cools.

While it can be used with a variety of materials, hot glue does not produce very strong adhesion. It’s mainly useful for craft projects and temporary bonds.

Also, use hot glue with caution, particularly around children. If you get it on your skin, it will cause a painful burn that you will not soon forget.

Contact cement is mainly used to glue plastic laminates and veneer to plywood. It comes in both solvent and water-based versions.

To apply, just roll or brush the adhesive on both surfaces and allow it to dry for the recommended time before carefully bringing the two pieces together.

As the name implies, the cement bonds on contact and the pieces cannot be repositioned once they have touched.

You then use a rubber roller to press the two surfaces firmly together.


Woman, wearing a beanie, applied Titebond wood glue to a bookshelf with her gloved hand.

Glue Safety

Whenever you use glue, it’s important to practice safety. This means avoiding contact with the skin and working in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing the fumes.

Some glues are highly flammable and you shouldn’t use them without proper ventilation or around possible ignition sources.

Finally, remember that glue doesn’t last forever. Always check the expiration date on the container and apply only within the temperature range specified in the directions.

Further Information