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I won’t pretend to be an expert here: Sean is the undisputed king of bull$#!& solutions with adhesive. And I say that with respect, as he can generally find a way to stick things together and save tons of time on any given project. Case in point: When I needed to quickly attach a cover plate over a hole in my ceiling — I moved a fixture and might want to move it back — Sean recommended Liquid Nails.

It’s an adhesive designed for construction use, specifically for bonding cabinetry and trim to walls, sticking plywood together, and all sorts of other strange tasks. Though you’ll hear everyone call it simply by the brand name, Liquid Nails actually makes tons of different versions of the stuff, each targeted toward a specific application. In my case I wanted to stick a piece of plexiglass to drywall, so after a little rooting around at the big-box I settled on a plastic-compatible version. (The nice lady at the shop indicated that lots of guys buy it to stick up pieces of plastic crown molding.)

Result: It worked great. A couple of little lines of it on the plexi, a little push and it stuck the first time. Awesome, awesome stuff. Saved me a ton of time with screws or other mechanical attachment methods.

Anyway, totally worth having a tube or two of this around. They sell “small project kits” with little toothpaste-sized tubes of adhesive, but they’re pretty tough to find. I generally have better luck just buying the standard caulk-gun sizes which generally run $2-$5. If you’re careful with it you can use ’em again, and you’ve probably got a caulk gun laying around somewhere, right?

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14 Responses to S#!& You Should Have: Liquid Nails

  1. BJN says:

    Plexiglas drywall?

    Plastic compatibility is rarely universal. Crown moldings are typically PVC. Plexiglas is acrylic.

    The Heavy Duty adhesive shown has this info on the product page:

    Recommended For:

    exterior/interior use on brick veneer, fiberwood, wood trim, particleboard, drywall, plywood, concrete backerboard, polystyrene foam, ceiling tiles, imitation stone.

    NOT Recommended For:

    flooring applications, plastics, ceramics, mirrors, granite, marble or installing tileboard directly to studding.

    What I’d be worried about with acrylic is crazing over time in reaction to an incompatible adhesive.

  2. Assen says:

    I always try to keep on hand a tube of Goop.
    (http://www.biosafe-inc.com/ag_adhesives.htm)
    For about $5.00 keeps about 3 months before becoming
    hard to use out of used tube, well worth it for
    bonding just about anything/waterproofing electrical connections, etc.

  3. joe says:

    I’m guessing he meant plexiglas TO drywall, not plexiglas drywall. Also he said he picked one compatible with plastic so the tube in the picture is probably not the product he used.

  4. Dave P says:

    Useful tip—keep that crap in the cab of your truck this winter if you use it on the job. You’ll hate your life if you need it and it’s frozen. Also, don’t thaw it out on top of a kerosene heater–it burns like napalm. Ask me how I know.

  5. Jerry says:

    There are a lot of different construction adhesives out there. Liquid Nails was kind of the pioneer and everyone soon followed suit.
    My personal favorite is Power Grab.” It comes in a few varieties as well and I have even seen it in those confounded squeeze tubes that I have never been very fond of.
    I recall a young lad a few years back who had the frozen tubes in the back of his truck. Tossed them into the apartment we were working on and turned up the heat. Too close! They melted down onto the carpet that had been put in the previous day. But, we all do them foolish things now and then.

  6. PutnamEco says:

    Pl Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive is what I see most often on jobsites.
    There are a lot of options in adhesives. I think I would have used Scotchweld had I wanted to bond Plexiglas to drywall. Red Head also has some excellent construction epoxy,

    Re:Liquid Nails was kind of the pioneer,

    I think they where the first to have a successful MARKETING campaign….

  7. Brau says:

    I used Liquid Nails in the early eighties and thought it was mostly crap, but something changed over time, maybe the recipe. I tried it again in the nineties for a reno between the joists and the flooring, then had to pull up a section about a week later. BIG mistake! THe Liquid Nails was fully set and that sheet of 3/4 ply was impossible to remove – broke to shreds trying to pry it off. I was both pissed and impressed at the same time. I’ve used it every time I lay a floor since. Keeps it solid, plus nice and quiet! Great for other stuff too.

  8. John says:

    There are tons of these now, and most of them are using an identical base with just slightly different mixes or dyes added; e.g. Pink Grip.

    This is one of the things I’d like to do a youtube video of. Buy every common brand I can and then try wood to wood, wood to steel, wood to ceramic and so on with all of them, then try breaking the bonds with controlled weights to find out if that £4 tube is actually £3 better than the £1 tube.

    Evostick / Everbuild are two common brands in the UK for PVAs / Epoxies, but they’re identical to the far cheaper versions in my experience thus far.

  9. DoItRite says:

    I’ve used this stuff and the clones from other brands, but often wondered as our houses are getting tighter al lthe time how much formaldehyde is in the stuff and how fast it outgasses. I may be unwittingly creating all sorts of health problems by using this as much as I do, especially when a few nails or screws would work.

  10. Toolhearty says:


    Brau Says:
    …I tried it again in the nineties for a reno between the joists and the flooring, then had to pull up a section about a week later. BIG mistake! THe Liquid Nails was fully set and that sheet of 3/4 ply was impossible to remove – broke to shreds trying to pry it off…

    It is nice to be able to take things apart. Nothing last forever, sooner or later it’s going to have to be replaced.

  11. Note from Editor:

    @BJN You are correct. I fixed the missing word in “plexiglass TO drywall.”

  12. Dipsie says:

    Does anyone know whether liquid nails (heavy duty, or otherwise) can be applied over old mastic (originally used to tile a plasterboard wall) to attach plywood bead board. Question really is; will the liquid nails react poorly (chemically) with the old mastic. I really don’t want to remove all the wallboard and replace with new, or buy a mastic chemical remover to clean the wallboard, if I can instead, just simply liquid nail over the mastic and apply the plywood. Anyone have experience with this type of install?

  13. tom says:

    Can I use liquid nails to bond plexi glass to wood.

  14. tom says:

    How about power grab?

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