Liquid Nails is one of the most popular brands of construction adhesive on the market. This versatile product can adhere to virtually any kind of material together, ranging from wood to metal to masonry to glass. This makes it a Swiss Army knife of adhesives. But, for Liquid Nails to form a tight bond, it needs time to dry to its full hardness.
Liquid Nails products require as little as 4 hours and as much as 24 hours to dry and typically require a full week to cure to their maximum strength. While the directions on the packaging provide guidance, the type of material, weather, and even thickness of application can extend or shorten that dry time.
This article will review the dry times of some of the most popular Liquid Nails products on the market while examining some of the factors that impact dry time.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- What is Liquid Nails?
- Liquid Nails Dry Time vs Cure Time
- Liquid Nails Drying Time Examples
- How Long Does It Take for Liquid Nails to Dry?
- What Factors Affect Liquid Nails Dry Time?
- How to Make Liquid Nails Dry Faster?
- Liquid Nails Cure Time
- Will Liquid Nails Dry in the Rain?
- How Long Does Liquid Nails Last?
What is Liquid Nails?Liquid Nails is the brand name for one of the most popular construction adhesives on the market.
Liquid Nails come in various types that are suitable for such applications as hanging drywall, attaching molding, laying tile, or adhering a mirror to a wall. Common construction adhesive ingredients include polyurethane acrylics, resin, clay, cement, rubber, and different solvents.
The product typically comes in the same type of tube as caulk and requires a caulk gun to apply.
- Wood. Great adhesive to bond two pieces of wood together by helping to reinforce the fasteners. It is not a replacement for wood glue as it does not dry as hard and therefore does not create as strong a connection. Construction adhesive is a great option for attaching larger pieces of paneling to wood, attaching drywall to wood framing, or attaching wood baseboards to drywall. It also works well when attaching wood to plastic and other composites.
- Tile. While it is not a suitable replacement for mortar, it is a good option for reattaching stray tiles that have come loose, eliminating the need to mix mortar for minor repairs. Look for the options that are specially designed to use with tile.
- Drywall. Liquid nails are often used for drywall, creating a connection between the house framing and the sheetrock. This helps to create a stronger connection between the two different materials and buffer noise.
- Glass. Since many Liquid Nails products work with glass, they are ideal for adhering a mirror to a wall in a bathroom.
- Masonry. Is a great option for holding landscaping masonry blocks together. You can also use it for attaching brick or stone veneer to the front of a house.
Liquid Nails Dry Time vs Cure Time
When reading the label on the tube, you’ll notice a dry time and typically a cure time. Dry time is the amount of time the construction adhesive takes to dry or set so that it’s hard to the touch. This is usually enough time to remove any clamps or devices holding the adhesion in place.
That said, the construction adhesive will not reach its full hardness until the end of its cure time. Cure time will be longer than dry time, which can be up to a week. Construction adhesive won’t be at its full strength until it has reached its cure time.
For example, Liquid Nails Heavy Duty will dry to shear strength of 150 psi after 24 hours but won’t reach its full shear strength of 240 psi for 1 week.
Liquid Nails Drying Time Examples
The chart below shows common drying times for some of the most popular Liquid Nails products. Keep in mind that these drying times are for optimal conditions of around 70 degrees and 40 percent humidity.
How Long Does It Take for Liquid Nails to Dry?While actual dry time varies depending on a whole host of factors, including temperature, humidity, surface type, and application, most Liquid Nails products take about 24 hours to dry and a week to cure. In the section below, we’ll discuss all of the factors that can impact dry time in greater detail.
When applying construction adhesive, it’s also important to pay attention to grab. Grab refers to how well an adhesive holds two objects together when they are first joined. Construction adhesive with excellent grab will have a tight hold when first joined. Some construction adhesives will create a permanent bond instantly, while others will allow some time for some readjustment.
What Factors Affect Liquid Nails Dry Time?
The temperature of both the air and the bonding surfaces can play a significant role in how long the product takes to dry. Lower temperatures can significantly slow the drying and curing of construction adhesive. For example, it takes Liquid Nails twice as long to dry at 50 degrees versus 70 degrees.
Liquid nails construction adhesive applied in sub-40-degree temperatures may never dry, requiring you to remove the adhesive and reapply. If possible, apply construction adhesive in more temperature conditions to ensure a rapid dry time.
Humidity & Moisture
Just as low temperatures can affect the dry time, so too can moist and humid conditions. It takes latex Liquid Nails products more time to dry in humidity 60 percent or greater. Construction adhesive will also take longer to dry if the surfaces of the material are moist.
For faster drying times when bonding wet or moist materials, use a rubber-based construction adhesive. In some cases, moisture can promote drying time. With silicones, polyurethanes, and polymer-based construction adhesive, water and moisture will cause the product to dry faster.
Since moisture can impact different types of liquid Nails differently, it’s important to read the label regarding dry times.
The type also plays a role in how quickly the products take to dry. While most Liquid Nails products require 24 hours to dry, some set in just 4 to 6 hours, while a handful of products require up to 48 hours to dry.
Some types are designed to dry and cure rapidly. Certain polyurethane-based construction adhesives will dry and cure in just 10 minutes. While a quick dry time may be an attractive feature, keep in mind that these products may create an instant bond that doesn’t allow users to position the pieces once they have been joined.
Also, some products that cure quickly don’t create as strong a connection as those that require days or even weeks to fully cure.
Like many types of glue and adhesives, the thicker you slather Liquid Nails on, the longer it takes to dry. A thicker application can increase the dry time by hours or even days, depending on how much you use.
Make sure to check the application instructions before applying the product to determine the optimal thickness when using the product Then, adjust accordingly to ensure that the connection is fully dry before putting it into service.
How well-ventilated space is can also impact dry time. Airflow helps to accelerate the evaporation process.
Stagnant air won’t absorb as much moisture from the Liquid Nails, causing it to take longer to evaporate and harden. By improving the ventilation in the room, the air will better help the solvents in the glue evaporate, causing the glue to harden more quickly.
The type of materials you’re applying the the product to will also impact how long it takes to dry. This is largely due to the varying porosity of different materials. Materials such as wood, cement, brick, and other masonry will dry quickly because they are porous and tend to suck the moisture out of the construction adhesive, causing it to dry more quickly.
Conversely, glass, plastic, metals, and painted surfaces are not porous and therefore won’t’ soak up the Liquid Nails, resulting in significantly longer dry times of more than 24 hours. In some cases, it can take several days or even weeks for construction adhesive to dry on non-porous materials.
How to Make Liquid Nails Dry Faster?
While waiting for liquid nails construction adhesive to dry requires patience, there are a few strategies for making them dry faster. Use a fan to improve the ventilation in an enclosed space. By circulating the air, you can speed the absorption process that causes the solvent in the glue to evaporate and harden.
Heat can also make liquid nails dry faster. Make sure space is warmed to 70 degrees or above for optimal drying. If using Liquid Nails in a space that isn’t climate controlled, such as a shed or garage in cooler temperatures, consider setting up a space heater.
Finally, don’t flop on the Liquid Nails. Only use as much as is needed to join the two pieces. This will ensure you don’t have an overly thick layer of adhesive that can take a long time to dry.
Liquid Nails Cure Time
In addition to dry time, Liquid Nails also have a cure time. As discussed above, cure time is the amount of time it takes for the adhesive to reach its full hardness and full strength. This can dramatically impact the amount of pressure the glued joint can endure without pulling apart.
Cure time is typically significantly longer than the dry time for any Liquid Nails product. Most take about 7 days to fully cure, while some products may take several weeks. A construction adhesive’s cure time is not something that should be taken lightly.
The shear strength of most Liquid Nails products improves dramatically from the time the adhesive has set to the time it has fully cured. With that in mind, it’s important not to subject the joint to full duty until the adhesive has had time to cure.
Will Liquid Nails Dry in the Rain?
While it’s best practice to apply liquid nails in a dry environment, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. For many construction adhesives, a little rain doesn’t hurt.
Many products use bases that resist water even when not yet dry, allowing them to dry in the rain. With polyurethane-, silicone-, and hybrid-polymer-based Liquid Nails products, the added moisture will even speed the dry time of the adhesive.
Latex construction adhesive, on the other hand, will take longer to dry in wet conditions. It may never dry at all if overly saturated, forcing you to clean it off and start over again. For surfaces that never get dry, use a rubber-based adhesive.
How Long Does Liquid Nails Last?
Liquid Nails products will last for about 2 years after the manufacturing date on the packaging. That said, the company recommends using the construction adhesive within one year of purchase. After a year, the adhesive can harden inside the container or the solvents may separate.
Finding the manufacturing date on the tube requires a bit of decoding. Look for the seven-digit ink-dot number on the bottom of the container. The first digit indicates the year, and the second digit represents the month. Once opened, you can preserve the remaining by plugging the opening with a large nail.
While simply reading the directions on a tube of Liquid Nails can provide you with important information regarding dry time, it’s crucial to keep in mind the other factors that can impact how quickly or slowly construction adhesive takes to dry are also at play.
Environmental factors such as cool temperatures and high humidity can significantly lengthen the dry time. The type of material also plays a role as more porous materials such as wood and masonry will cause Liquid Nails to dry more quickly than smoother materials such as glass and plastic.
Even how the adhesive is applied can impact dry time. Thicker applications of Liquid Nails will take longer to dry than thinner ones. Keeping all of these factors in mind when using Liquid Nails is key to ensuring good results.