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Does Liquid Nails Work On Plastic?

Liquid nails is a fantastic adhesive with high strength and durability. It can be used to bond a wide variety of materials. Will Liquid Nails work on plastic? The answer is Yes. Liquid Nails works on almost all types of plastic as long as conditions are right and you use the right type of Liquid Nails. Ideal conditions include: surfaces must be clean, dry, and dust-free, and the application temperature must be between 40–100° F (5–38° C). Make sure and use a Liquid Nails product that says for use on plastic. Some of their products are for things like particle board or sub-floors and not designed for use on plastics. I use Heavy Duty Liquid Nails model LN-950 or their line of Fuze It and Extreme adhesives. The hold is very strong and it dries fast.

Liquid nails is easy to use. You can buy it in either a 9 oz tube which is applied using a standard size caulk gun or in small 2.5 ounce squeezable tube. For small projects, Liquid Nails All Purpose Clear Adhesive works great on plastic. It’s strong and dries fast. And the glue is silicone based so it’s waterproof when dry.

To make Liquid Nails bond even better, scuff the surface of both materials before you apply the adhesive. It’s easier for Liquid Nails to bond with a rough surface.

The two most important things to remember when using Liquid Nails on plastic are:

  1. Buy the right type of Liquid Nails. Not all types work on plastics.
  2. Scuff and score the surface. Liquid Nails has a hard time sticking to very smooth non-porous surfaces.

In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of using liquid nails on plastic along with some tips for getting the best results.

What Is Liquid Nails & What Are It’s Uses

Liquid Nails is a brand of adhesive that comes in a variety of forms for use on different materials like plastic, metal concrete, wood, fabric, foam, etc. It’s known for its strength and durability and can be used for a variety of applications. It’s generally much more versatile than a polyurethane adhesive, has high strength, dries relatively fast and is easy to use.

I use Liquid Nails on just about every job site I work on and at home to make plastic architectural scale models.

Solvent-Based & Water-Based Liquid Nails

Solvent-based Liquid Nails have a stronger bond than water-based liquid nails. But they’re more toxic and flammable. Water-based Liquid Nails are less toxic and flammable, but they have a weaker bond.

When choosing the right type of Liquid Nails to use on plastic, it’s important to consider the application and the level of bonding strength you need. Make sure the Liquid Nails you buy specifically states that it works on plastic or it won’t bond very well.

Liquid Nails Works On Almost All Plastics

Liquid Nails works on nearly every type of plastic. It does not work on plastics called Polypropylene and Polyethylene. These types of plastic are rare and generally not used in construction or household materials you’ll probably be gluing.

Liquid Nails dries slowly on plastic because it’s a non-porous material that’s no breathable. So it takes time for the adhesive to dry and cure. Even though it may appear dry on the surface, Liquid Nails can takes days and in some cases weeks to fully cure and reach maximum strength. So be patient and give it time to work.

When you apply Liquid Nails to plastic surfaces and press them together, you may have to wait a full 24 hours for the adhesive to dry. But curing to full strength may take another 7 days.
Spread Liquid Nails as thin as possible. Using more product will take longer to dry and doesn’t necessarily mean it will work better.

There are many Liquid Nails products that work well on any type of plastic. But the Liquid Nails Polyurethane Construction Adhesive is specifically made for plastic. It works on glass, ceramic, and plastic which are all non-porous smooth surfaces. It’s also designed to be weatherproof and more durable in hot and freezing temperatures. This is a big benefit when you’re working outdoors.

Liquid Nails Doesn’t Work On Polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene (PE) Plastic

Liquid Nails doesn’t work on plastic materials made from polypropylene or polyethylene or both. This due to a scientific term called low surface energy.

Glues and adhesives, like Liquid Nails, are applied when wet and then dry. When they dry they also cure and become strong. But both Polypropylene and Polyethylene are chemicals that prevent Liquid Nails from drying and bonding to the plastic.

The most common products these two chemicals are used to make are in the medical medical and automotive industries. I also found some plastic products that used them to build camping equipment like tents and backpacks and some tools.

How Long Does Liquid Nails Take To Dry On Plastic?

Non-porous surfaces like plastics, can slow Liquid Nails drying or curing time from 24 hours to several days, or even weeks. It’s recommended that at least one of the bonding surfaces be porous if possible. This is why I recommend scuffing up the surface of any plastics you use Liquid Nails on.

What I do whenever I use Liquid Nails on plastic is take some hard grit sandpaper and scuff up the surfaces really good. Make sure you only scuff areas that won’t be seen once the plastic is glued. Scuffing the surfaces creates more pores for the glue to adhere to.

When I glue larger, heavier pieces of plastic I score the surface with deeper cuts than sandpaper alone. I also drill some small holes in the bonding surfaces which allows Liquid Nails to penetrate into the plastic. This creates a really strong hold.

If you use Liquid Nails on two non-porous smooth surfaces there’s a chance it won’t stick very well. Adhesives need something to grip onto but if the surface is super smooth there’s no where to stick. This is why sand paper, scoring and holes work so well. The rougher the plastic the better Liquid Nails will work.

How To Use Liquid Nails On Plastic

If you plan on using Liquid Nails on plastic, the first thing you need to do is buy the right kind. I like their Heavy Duty, Fuze It and Extreme adhesives the best. But their silicone based All Purpose product also works pretty well on plastic.

Typically I use Heavy Duty, Fuze It or Extreme Liquid Nails to glue larger pieces of plastic on my job sites. But I’ll use the All Purpose clear adhesive in a 2.5 ounce squeezable tube to glue small bits of plastic at home.

  • If you’re using using a 9 oz Liquid Nails tubs you’ll also need a caulk gun. Slice the tip of the tube off with a utility knife. Some Fuze It tubes has a removable nozzle you have to screw off before cutting the tip of the tube.
  • Insert the Liquid Nails tube into the caulk gun and squeeze the trigger until adhesive reaches the tip of the tube.
  • Scuff the surface of the plastic with some hard grit sandpaper or score it with a utility knife. If the object is large I like to drill a few small holes in it.
  • Apply Liquid Nails around the edges and in a zigzag pattern on inside areas. Make sure the adhesive lines have an even thickness. Don’t apply it everywhere because when you press two surfaces together the adhesive needs room to spread out.
  • Press the two surfaces together firmly. Wipe up any adhesive that seeps out the edges immediately.
  • When you’re done applying adhesive, relieve pressure on the tube by pressing the gun’s release button or pulling back the rod.
  • Once I remove the tube from the caulk gun I insert a screw in the tip. This keeps the adhesive from hardening.

How To Store Liquid Nails After Using?

Whether you use a 9 oz or 2.5 oz tube of Liquid Nails to glue plastic, chances are you won’t us the entire tube. If you leave the tube open the glue will dry out, harden and become unusable. This is a common issue on my construction sites. And it can get expensive considering Liquid Nails Fuze It Max is over $10 a tube. Luckily I’ve learned a few simple tricks you can do to keep the glue fresh for long periods of time after the tip of the tube’s been cut.

Here are some of the ways how you can re-use your liquid nails again and again:

  • If you’re using the smaller 2.5 ounce tube of Liquid Nails simply screw the cap back on when you’re done.
  • Before you screw on the cap make sure no adhesive is on the threads or you’ll glue the cap on.
  • If you use a 9 ounce tube insert a screw into the cut tip. This will seal the tube and keep the glue fresh.
  • You can also use some painters tape to seal the tip. Just make sure the seal is tight so air doesn’t get in.
  • A nail in the tip also works.
  • Try to store Liquid Nails in a cool dry place once the tube’s been opened.
  • Clean glue off the tip before you insert a screw, nail or apply tape.

I’ve used the same Liquid Nails tube for months on the same job because I make sure to seal the tube after each day. It’s a great way to save money on a project because Liquid Nails can be expensive.

The Benefits Of Using Liquid Nails On Plastic?

There are a few good adhesives on the market that work on plastic but Liquid Nails are one of the best. I like their entire range of products and use them on just about every house I build. Especially their Heavy Duty, Extreme and Fuze It products. They’re all strong, durable and dry fast which is important when doing construction.

When I’m working at home or have small plastic parts to glue I use Liquid Nails All Around adhesive. it’s a clear silicone based glue that works really well on plastic. And it dries waterproof which comes in handy when I’m gluing outdoor plastics.

Here are a few of the benefits to using Liquid Nails of plastic:

  • It’s strong, durable, weather and water-resistant and dries fast. These are all big benefits when you’re working on a construction project.
  • Nails can’t be used on plastic which is where a high quality adhesive like Liquid Nails is important. It’s also great when you want to hide the bond or make repairs to a cracked piece of plastic.
  • Liquid Nails can be used both indoors and outdoors.
  • It’s a relatively safe adhesive to use because Liquid Nails doesn’t use off-gas VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be a health risk. It doesn’t emit a bad odor either.
  • If you seal the tube properly Liquid nails can be used again and again.
  • They make a wide variety of products that work on all sorts of materials including plastic, metal, concrete, wood, fabric, foam, particle board and many more.
  • Liquid Nails is very easy to use on plastic. You just squeeze product on the bonding surface and stick them together. However, if the plastic is non-porous and very smooth you should scuff it up or score it before applying adhesive.

How Long Does It Take Liquid Nails To Dry On Plastic?

There’s no set time that it takes Liquid Nails to dry on plastic. Temperature, humidity, weight, location, shape and the porosity of the plastic are all important factors.

Most types of Liquid Nails starts to dry within 10-15 minutes. But you need to wait at least 24 hours for it to cure. And it may take a full week to reach its maximum strength. Just because Liquid Nails feels dry on the outside doesn’t mean it’s fully hardened. Give it time to work and be patient.

I prefer using the more aggressive Liquid Nails products like Heavy Duty, Fuze It and Extreme because they set up and dry faster. My all time favorite is Fuze It Max. It’s an expensive adhesive at over $10 a tube but it works super fast. If I have to glue things on a job site I need speed and strength.

When I’m gluing plastic at home I use Liquid Max All Around Adhesive. It comes in a 2.5 ounce squeezable tube, is clear and waterproof when dry. It’s great for gluing plastic parts together or making repairs. It bonds fast but can take a day or so to reach maximum strength. I use it a lot when building architectural models because it dries clear and is very easy to use.

Make sure you use a Liquid Nails product that’s designed for plastic. it will say so right on the tube. Unless an adhesive is designed to work on plastic it won’t bond very well.

Plastic surfaces are usually non-porous so the dry and cure time is longer. To speed things up scuff and score the surface before applying adhesive. This creates more areas for the adhesive to grip. The rougher you can make the plastic the better Liquid Nails will work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I write a lot of articles about Liquid Nails because it’s a product I use just about every day on all of my job sites. I use it both on construction sites to bond a variety of materials and at home when I build scale plastic architectural models. So I know its limits and how to use it very well.

Here’s a list of questions I’m frequently asked about Liquid Nails and Plastics. If you have any more email me here and I’ll add your question to the list.

How much Liquid Nails do I Need?

When I glue small plastic parts with Liquid Nails I try to cover the entire surface with adhesive. This creates the best bond without any weak spots. The same is true when I repair a cracked piece of plastic. Make sure to get adhesive in the entire crack before you push the damaged areas back together.

When I glue together larger pieces of plastic, like panels, I apply a thin bead around the edges and product in a zigzag pattern on the inside areas. Keep adhesive 1/2″-1″ away from the edge or it will overflow when you push the surfaces together. When gluing panels you need some space without glue so there’s room for the adhesive to flow when you push it onto another surface.

Can Liquid Nails Be Removed From Plastic?

Yes, Liquid Nails can be removed from plastic if you get some in areas you don’t want it.

Apply vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to the area. Gently wipe off the area with a clean rag. Then wash with water and soap. Repeat the process over and over again to remove all the Liquid Nails.

On harder surface I use a scraper or rough sand paper to get excess Liquid Nails off plastic and sometimes I even cut it away with my utility knife. I don’t do this on fine finished surfaces but on rough areas chipping, cutting and sanding works great.

Summary: Does Liquid Nails Work On Plastic?

Liquid nails is a fantastic adhesive with high strength and durability. It can be used to bond a wide variety of materials. Will Liquid Nails work on plastic? The answer is Yes. Liquid Nails works on almost all types of plastic as long as conditions are right and you use the right type of Liquid Nails. Ideal conditions include: surfaces must be clean, dry, and dust-free, and the application temperature must be between 40–100° F (5–38° C). Make sure and use a Liquid Nails product that says for use on plastic. Some of their products are for things like particle board or sub-floors and not designed for use on plastics. I use Heavy Duty Liquid Nails model LN-950 or their line of Fuze It and Extreme adhesives. The hold is very strong and it dries fast.

Liquid nails is easy to use. You can buy it in either a 9 oz tube which is applied using a standard size caulk gun or in small 2.5 ounce squeezable tube. For small projects, Liquid Nails All Purpose Clear Adhesive works great on plastic. It’s strong and dries fast. And the glue is silicone based so it’s waterproof when dry.

To make Liquid Nails bond even better, scuff the surface of both materials before you apply the adhesive. It’s easier for Liquid Nails to bond with a rough surface.

The two most important things to remember when using Liquid Nails on plastic are:

  1. Buy the right type of Liquid Nails. Not all types work on plastics.
  2. Scuff and score the surface. Liquid Nails has a hard time sticking to very smooth non-porous surfaces.

If you have any questions about Liquid Nails, email any time.

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