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Select proper glue for various projects

Dear Ms. Builder: My kids are always breaking something around the house and I am planning some home repair projects myself. When I go to the home center store, I see so many types of glue. How do I pick among them? - Linda F.

Dear Linda: There are as many types and brands of glue in the hardware aisles at home centers as there are colors of lipstick in the cosmetic aisles at drug stores. It is not surprising that you get confused as to which glue to buy. First, a basic Glue 101 lecture is in order to help you make your selection. There is no one "super glue" that is best for every repair or construction project so plan on buying several types of glue.

Make a list of what materials you are planning to glue, whether you can clamp them together, will they be exposed to water, etc. Read the glue labels carefully when you are at the home center store.

Glues bond two objects together primarily in one of two ways. The most common way is a simple mechanical bond where the glue flows into the microscopic pores and imperfections in the surfaces of the two pieces and dries. This can form a very strong bond on porous surfaces. Common examples are white and yellow wood glue.

The other way is an adhesion bond where the glue chemically adheres to the two surfaces instead of flowing into the imperfections. This is obviously better for nonporous surfaces than a mechanical-bond glue.

When selecting these types of glues, it is important to get the proper glue for the material you are gluing or it may not bond well. The most common example is epoxy and you will notice many epoxies for various materials.

Urethane is one of the newer types of glues available and it is effective for many materials and applications. It dries (cures) when it comes in contact with moisture from lumber, the air, etc. It basically uses a mechanical bond and it expands slightly as it cure to fill in an gaps.

If you have any trouble finding urethane glue, here are a few manufacturers to contact - AmBel (800-779-3935), Bordon's (800-848-9400), Franklin International (800-669-4583) and Lutz File & Tool Co. (800-966-3458). Don't buy too much at one time because it can begin to cure in the partially used container.

Standard construction adhesive is an excellent choice for home improvement projects you are planning. It is ideal where the surfaces are uneven and cannot be clamped tightly together as it dries.

It stays somewhat flexible to handle slight movements, but it is not nearly as strong as most other glues. Nailing or screwing the pieces together, if possible, along with the construction adhesive is best.

If you are planning any outdoor projects, the level of water resistance of the glue is important. Standard white and yellow wood glues are not very water resistant. Construction adhesive, epoxies and many of the urethane glues are waterproof.

Here is a helpful tip when working with wood that you plan to stain when the project is complete. When using yellow wood glue, do not wipe off excess glue from the joint if some oozes out during clamping. People often try this with a damp rag and it appears to be clean.

When it dries, the pores, where the glue oozed out, are filled with glue and the stain will not take. By wiping the excess glue off with the damp rag, the glue gets diluted and flows even deeper into the pores. Often sanding the area will not even help to get to open pores.

When excess glue oozes out during clamping, do not touch it. Just let it dry and scrape it off later. It will probably have soaked in very little and light sanding will allow the stain to take.

Send your questions to Ms. Builder, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com/msbuilder.