Liquid Nails Vs Wood Glue Which Is Better

Liquid Nails vs Wood Glue: Which is Better?

Are you pondering over the best adhesive choice for your next woodworking project? Liquid Nails and wood glue each offer unique benefits, but selecting the right one can be crucial for your project’s durability and appearance.

09/01/2024 – Update

In a Nutshell:

Liquid Nails, a versatile construction adhesive, excels in bonding non-porous materials, including wood, plastic, and metal, offering robust and durable adhesion. Wood glue, on the other hand, is specifically formulated for woodworking, providing strong bonds primarily for wood-to-wood applications. Liquid Nails have a longer drying time but offer greater strength and durability, especially in non-wooden applications. Wood glue dries faster and is ideal for wood joints, being easier to clean and less toxic.

What Are the 8 Key DIFFERENCES Between Liquid Nails and Wood Glue

The primary differences between Liquid Nails and wood glue can be highlighted below.

  1. Bonding Surfaces: Liquid Nails are more versatile in this regard since they can work for bonding a variety of surfaces, especially non-porous materials like tiles, drywall, plastic, metal, vinyl, and many others. Wood glue works only for bonding two pieces of wood.
  2. Ingredients: Liquid Nails are made from latex or solvents combined with other materials. Wood glue is also made from a variety of materials, with most of them being synthetic, such as polyvinyl acetate, epoxy, and more.
  3. Strength: In terms of strength, you can expect Liquid Nails to serve you better than wood glue, except when you are dealing with stressed joints. If you are dealing with two pieces of wood, however, wood glue is stronger.
  4. Drying and Curing Time: Wood glue can dry within 30 minutes and can take up to 24 hours to cure. Liquid Nails take up to 24 hours to dry and several days to cure.
  5. Durability: Liquid Nails offer more durability between the surfaces after application than wood glue. However, wood glue has a longer lifespan if you simply need to store it for a while before using it.
  6. Toxicity: Liquid Nails can be a bit toxic if they are made from solvents, requiring precautions and safety measures to avoid contact with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Latex-based Liquid Nails and most kinds of wood glues are not toxic.
  7. Cleaning: You can clean wood glue easily, not only from surfaces but also from your own skin. Soap and water can work well in this case. For Liquid Nails, you might need to use mineral spirits or petroleum jelly.
  8. Cost: The cost of both Liquid Nails and wood glue can depend on the kind and quantity of adhesives that you are buying. It can be better to buy these adhesives in bulk to last you for a long time.

Liquid Nails versus Wood Glue: Key Points

Liquid Nails and wood glue can help bond two or more surfaces together for a long time. You can review the following chart to understand the key distinctions and points covered above.

Liquid NailsWood Glue
Formulations39 for interior, 21 for exteriorVarious
Drying Time24 hoursUp to 30 minutes
MaterialsLatex/solventsCasein, resin, polyurethane, etc.
StrengthHighHigh for wood but overall lesser than Liquid Nails

What Are Liquid Nails?

Liquid Nails are construction adhesive products made by an industrial adhesive manufacturer. There are various heavy-duty materials that these products come in, each having different formulations that you can pick from, with interior use applications having 39 options and exterior applications having 23 options.

Liquid Nails are highly versatile adhesives that are chosen for their ability to bind non-porous materials together. This can apply to wood and a range of other surfaces, making them useful for home improvement and building projects.

Thus, you can not only bind two pieces of the same surface together but also two pieces of different surfaces.

Liquid Nails Applications

Liquid Nails have numerous applications, given that many of them are made from latex while others are made from solvents. In this sense, you can use the relevant product for different non-porous materials and surfaces, such as:

  • Varnished/sealed/painted wood
  • Plastic
  • Drywall
  • Metal
  • Concrete
  • Ceramic
  • Tile
  • Molding
  • Vinyl

You can also attach two or more of these materials together using Liquid Nails. Additionally, if you are dealing with surfaces that carry gaps or cracks in their joints, you can use Liquid Nails to fill them up.

Liquid Nails can also work in areas with high levels of humidity, such as basements or subfloors.

Liquid Nails Applications
Image: Jonathan Spiva

Liquid Nails Pros

  • Liquid Nails are durable and can keep surfaces bonded for a long time without the need for any upkeep.
  • You can use Liquid Nails on versatile projects and applications like baseboards, drywall, backsplashes, and crown molding.
  • These adhesives hold up well in different kinds of climates (including heat, cold and humidity) and can prove useful for outdoor surfaces too.
  • Liquid Nails are resistant to water and can act as a strong seal on a given surface as long as it’s adequately cleaned beforehand.
  • You can paint or seal surfaces with Liquid Nails without damaging the bonding material.

Liquid Nails Cons

  • Liquid Nails cannot withstand the pressure on stressed wood joints, like cabinet joints, floor joints, chairs, tables, and drawers.
  • Some Liquid Nails products can emit harmful toxic fumes that can harm your health and surroundings.

What Is Wood Glue?

Wood glue is an adhesive that you can use specifically to join or attach two or more pieces of wood together.

Various brands and products out there produce different kinds of wood glue, each of which comes with its own properties, functions, and features.

Here is a list of some common types of wood glue that you might be able to use.

Depending on the kind of wood you are using and the type of project you are working on, you can figure out which glue would suit you the most.

Wood Glue Applications

There are several uses for which you can use wood glue in your projects, such as combining wood with another piece of wood or porous material.

This can apply to repairs around the house, building or constructing a piece of furniture, working on a decorative piece, and many others.

In particular, you can use wood glue well if you do not wish to deal with harmful fumes and the hassle of cleaning up.

Wood Glue Applications
Image: Dans Workshop

Wood Glue Pros

  • Wood glue can dry within a matter of minutes, making it easier and quicker for you to complete your project.
  • Wood glue is usually quite safe and does not emit toxic fumes, thus minimizing the adverse impact on your health.
  • Wood glue resists water quite well and can work well in areas where there is high humidity.
  • There is a wide range of options and formulations that you can opt for depending on what kind of wood you want to join.
  • Wood glue has excellent strength while joining two or more pieces of wood, even if stressed.

Wood Glue Cons

  • You will need to buy different types of wood glue products for outdoor projects that make use of polyurethane.
  • Wood glue does not work too effectively on non-porous wood or other such surfaces, such as softwoods like pine and cedar.

How Much Weight Can Liquid Nails Hold?

Liquid Nails can manage to hold a weight of up to 1,700 pounds per square inch (psi). All Liquid Nails products tend to withstand different weight levels depending on the particular kind of surface they are meant to work with.

In general, Liquid Nails are incapable of holding too much weight, making them unsuitable for application on joints that are likely to be stressed during regular usage. This can refer to furniture as well as joists and other such projects.

How Much Weight Can Wood Glue Hold?

Wood glue can hold a good amount of weight. Wood glue can actually hold as much as 4,000 psi. Thus, after you carry out the bonding between two pieces of wood, they can withstand quite a bit of pressure, even when the joints happen to be stressed.

For this reason, it typically makes more sense to use wood glue in wooden furniture, joists, subfloor, and other such applications. However, you should note that you will probably need to use some other joining tools too, instead of relying only on wood glue.

Which One Delivers a Stronger Bond?

When it comes to delivering a stronger bond, Liquid Nails usually emerge as the winner. This is because they are designed for heavy-duty work, including construction, making them extremely sturdy and strong even after some time passes.

Even if you try to force the two non-porous surfaces apart, you will find it difficult to do so. However, Liquid Nails do not provide the same kind of strength on raw wood.

Wood glue tends to deliver a slightly weaker bond and usually requires some additional support to truly hold the surfaces together. It also weakens over time.

Conclusion: Liquid Nails vs Wood Glue

Based on what we have seen, it is better to use Liquid Nails if you are looking for versatility and stronger bonds between your non-porous materials.

Key Takeaways:

  • Versatility and Surface Compatibility: Liquid Nails are ideal for bonding diverse materials beyond wood, including metal and plastic, offering more versatility. Wood glue, however, is specifically formulated for wood-to-wood bonding.
  • Bond Strength and Durability: While Liquid Nails provide a stronger bond for heavier, non-porous materials and have a longer curing time, wood glue offers a robust bond specifically for wood, with quicker drying times and less toxicity, making it safer for indoor use.
  • Application and Environmental Considerations: Liquid Nails require careful handling due to potential toxicity, especially solvent-based varieties, and are better for outdoor or heavy-duty construction projects. Wood glue is user-friendly, less harmful, and ideal for indoor woodworking projects where safety and ease of use are priorities.

Key point to remember, wood glue can be the better option if you only need to join two pieces of untreated wood. So for your home DIY woodworking project, wood glue is your best bet.