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Adhesives in construction – How are they being used today?

In the construction and building sectors, various adhesives are used for a multitude of purposes, ranging from sealing window frames to fixing tiles and timber lamination. Choosing the right adhesives for a project is vital for its success as not all adhesives are engineered for the same purposes.

Some might be more resistant to the elements and therefore more suitable for exterior use, whereas some might be more effective when used with specific materials. Here, we’ll be going through three common construction use cases, explaining what adhesives are typically used and why.

Timber laminating

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The construction industry is now experiencing a major shift to more sustainable materials like timber rather than reinforced concrete and steel. Using the correct adhesive for timber means even high-rise buildings can be made from wood and can be just as safe in earthquake-prone regions. Laminated timber is as strong as steel but much lighter and has experienced a great rise in popularity in recent years, with the following adhesives being used most commonly: –

Melamine formaldehyde – These are the most versatile glues for timber as they are designed specifically for load-bearing construction. They also provide coloured glue lines with enhanced water resistance.

Polyurethane – While formaldehyde glue was once commonly used, polyurethane glues cure faster at room temperature and don’t require a hardening agent so are more commonly used today.

PVC installation

Installation of PVC requires bonding to produce strong and watertight joints and seams – gaps and cracks need to be filled in also. The right type of adhesive helps to ensure the industrial systems are waterproof, resistant to chemical damage, resistant to high pressure and can deliver drinking water safely.

The best adhesives for bonding PVC are cyanoacrylates or UV-curing adhesives. For the former, however, note that one of the substrates must be able to transmit UV light. Two-component epoxy adhesives can also be used in a pinch. Also, note that the time it takes for PVC adhesive to cure will depend on the temperature and humidity. On average, we’d recommend leaving it for at least 8 hours, where possible.

Windows and doors

With windows and doors, a greater degree of flexibility is necessary, and these are not simply elements that will be bonded but elements with moving parts. Not only that but adhesives used in windows and doors must be able to withstand a wide temperature range and disparate environmental elements.

Adhesives designed for use with windows and doors offer benefits like increased flexibility, strength, and adhesion. They also act to eliminate leaks and reduce operational costs. The result is a higher quality, lasting and flexible bond that reduces warranty claims and the time taken to cure windows, thus benefitting manufacturers and tradespeople.

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