Five all-purpose adhesives will cope with most D-I-Y jobs:

Contact adhesives Economical and strong adhesives, mainly used for gluing timber veneers, plastic laminatesandceramic tiles. Their chief advantage is that they provide instant bonding, so avoiding the need to cramp materials for long periods. The adhesive is applied to both surfaces and left to become touch-dry before they are bonded together, using a firm pressure.

Epoxies Very strong and versatile adhesives, used when a permanent bond is needed. They are heat-resistant and waterproof and adhere well to glass, china, stone, concrete, rubber and many plastics. However, their expense makes it uneconomic to use them on large jobs.

Epoxies are made up of two compounds – a hardener and a resin – which must be mixed in equal quantities. Setting time is up to six hours, but, in some cases, this can be accelerated by gentle heat.

General-purpose type adhesives Although general-purpose adhesives are not permanent in all circumstances, they are excellent for small and light household repairs. They are moderately waterproof, heat resistant and have the advantage of being quick-drying and transparent.

Natural latex This has a strong, flexible bond and is excellent for fixing carpets and fabrics. It dries quickly and can be washed.

PVA The most practical and frequently used adhesive for general indoor work and household repairs. It has the advantage of being clean and easy to use – but the surfaces being glued must be cramped together during bonding. It is not waterproof and so should not be used outdoors.

There is also a wide variety of proprietary special-purpose adhesives for fixing perspex, tiles and wallpaper, etc. As the range is so wide, ask the supplier’s advice.

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