Are you planning a project and need to glue things together? Debating between Liquid Nails or wood glue? If you don’t think it matters what you choose, you’d be wrong!
When it comes down to Liquid Nails vs. wood glue, there are some major things to know before you grab one adhesive or the other. The main difference is that Liquid Nails is a brand name that includes dozens of construction adhesives, while wood glue typically refers to the glue type and comes in multiple brands.
In this article, we explain what Liquid Nails and wood glue are, their differences, costs, and uses. We look at which is stronger and review several products from each line. Our hope is that you’ll have a better understanding of which to use for your project.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- Liquid Nails vs. Wood Glue: Key Points
- What Is Liquid Nails?
- What is Wood Glue?
- What is the Difference Between Liquid Nails and Wood Glue?
- Is Liquid Nails Stronger Than Wood Glue?
- How Much Weight Can Liquid Nails Hold?
- How Much Weight Can Wood Glue Hold?
- Best Liquid Nails Construction Adhesives
- Best Wood Glue Adhesives
- Liquid Nails vs. Wood Glue vs. Gorilla Glue
Liquid Nails vs. Wood Glue: Key Points
You can use Liquid Nails and wood glue to fix two pieces together permanently. But that’s the only thing these two products have in common. This chart demonstrates key points between the two adhesives.
|Liquid Nails||Wood Glue|
|Dry Time||15 minutes||15 to 60 minutes|
|Cure Time||Full week||24 hours|
|Strength||Stronger for foam, fiberglass, and plywood||Strongest with wood furniture but not as strong as LN|
|VOC Levels||Low to high||Little to none|
|Shelf Time||Two years||One to two years|
|Cost||$3.38 to $20||$2 to $40|
|Primary Uses||Bonding most materials - glass, leather, foam, ceramic, metal (and some wood)||Bonding wood together; also metal, plastic, or porcelain|
What Is Liquid Nails?
Liquid Nails is a brand name of heavy-duty construction adhesives that comes in multiple formulas – 39 for interior use and 23 to use on the exterior. One of the most significant reasons Liquid Nails is such a versatile product is its compatibility with bonding multiple nonporous materials. It’s fantastic for construction uses or for making repairs around the house.
Liquid Nails forms a secure bond between similar or dissimilar surfaces. Once applied, it creates the strongest bond of all adhesives. Plus, after it’s dried, you’ll get a long-lasting hold.
- Long lasting
- Works on dry or wet timber
- Adjusts to changes in temperature
- Works on multiple surfaces
- Wide range of formula choices
- Excellent for construction uses
- Requires oil or petroleum jelly to remove from skin
- Difficult clean-up
- Extrudes under compression even when thinly spread
- Strong, toxic, and flammable fumes while drying
What is Wood Glue?
Wood glue refers to a type of adhesive primarily used to bond pieces of wood, although it also works on materials other than timber. You can get wood glue in multiple brand names and types, formulated for different uses. Types include epoxy resin (clear), polyvinyl acetate (PVA), polyurethane (all-purpose crafts), superglue (cyanoacrylate), and carpenter’s glue (aliphatic resin).
This type of adhesive dries fast, although it takes a day to cure to full strength. Unfortunately, though, the glued joint is not as strong as the Liquid Nails bond.
- Easy to clean up and remove from skin
- Low to no odor
- Fast drying
- Multiple formulas
- Great for DIY, furniture, and craft projects
- Different woods can need special formulas
- Can’t use exterior grade products indoors
What is the Difference Between Liquid Nails and Wood Glue?
Liquid Nails and wood glue both adhere or bond two materials or pieces together, but that’s where the similarities end. Liquid Nails is the brand name of a line of construction adhesives that encompasses multiple products under the same umbrella (name). On the other hand, wood glue refers to the material that the adhesive works on, which comes in multiple brand names.
The drying time of both adhesives is a major difference. Wood glue is the best choice when you’re in a hurry and need two materials to create a bond in a quicker time frame. When working with wood glue, you have to put pressure on the two joined pieces for one minute or more to help the pieces bond together. You then have to wait for an additional 15 to 30 minutes or longer for the glue to dry.
Liquid Nails adhesives require up to 15 minutes to hold. So, after applying it to two pieces, you need to use a clamp or some other mechanism to keep pressure on the joints until they dry, usually 24 hours or more.
Cure TimeWhen working with adhesives like wood glue and Liquid Nails, you need to consider the drying time, or how long it takes for the product to dry. You also need to consider each product’s curing time, or how long it takes the glue to reach its full strength after drying.
Wood glue not only dries faster (15 to 60 minutes) but it also cures quicker. Once wood glue dries, it takes a full day (24 hours or more) for the bond to cure. Until the glue cures, the joints are still vulnerable to stress. Adding weight can cause the adhered joints to break.
Liquid Nails not only takes longer to dry (24 hours or more), but it takes even longer to cure. You must keep the two joints pressed together for the entire drying time to ensure the pieces bond. You can remove the clamp after the 24 hour drying time. But it can take another six days for Liquid Nails to cure. Like wood glue, you mustn’t put stress on joints fixed with Liquid Nails until the adhesive is fully cured.
StrengthIn most cases, the stronger chemical bonding agents in Liquid Nails make it the superior glue. If you bond two joints with Liquid Nails, there’s a higher chance of breaking at another part of the material before it would at the glued joint.
Liquid Nails forms the strongest bond when used on materials like plywood, fiberglass, or foam board. However, when working with wood, the best bond occurs with wood glue rather than Liquid Nails.
Wood glue is safe to use in all situations, indoor or outside, without worrying about harmful chemicals or fumes. Most types of wood glue have a similar chemical makeup to school glue, which means they contain no VOC – volatile organic compounds. Liquid Nails adhesives have high traces of volatile chemicals, which release toxic fumes as it dries. It may even continue to release noxious odors until the product cures.
These chemicals can cause health issues like nausea, headaches, eye and throat irritation, and potential breathing complications. So when working with Liquid Nails, be sure there’s adequate ventilation to remove harmful fumes.
There are also some formulas of Liquid Nails with little to no VOC content, making them safer for interior use. These products will not release dangerous chemicals. Nor do they require as many safety precautions during and after application.
Wood glue is the safer product in all categories. Although there are different brands and types, all formulas contain non-toxic ingredients. There are even types of wood glue rated as food-safe, meaning you can use them on products that come in contact with your food or beverages. The zero VOC, non-toxicity of wood glue means there’s no need for serious safety precautions, making it suitable for use anywhere and by anyone.
On the other hand, Liquid Nails pose more risks for users, making it important to follow safety protocols. In addition, solvent-based adhesives are more dangerous than latex-based, which contain little to no harmful fumes.
Depending on the formula, you may need to ensure proper airflow and ventilation when working with interior Liquid Nails. For example, opening windows allows the circulation of fresh air, which can pull out the fumes. Turning on a fan can create a similar airflow effect.
You may also need to wear gloves to prevent contact with your skin, safety glasses for eye protection, and a respirator or mask over the mouth and nose to avoid irritation from the fumes. In some cases, you may have to vacate the area until the adhesives cure and the fumes dissipate.
While solvent-based Liquid Nails are drying and curing, the fumes produced are not only a hazard to your health but are also flammable. Venting the area reduces the fire hazard risks.
The clean-up process between Liquid Nails vs. wood glue also significantly varies. Liquid Nails clean up is more difficult, whether on unintended surfaces or your skin. If you get wood glue on your skin, just rinse the area with water to remove wet glue. You can also use soap and water to remove dried glue, or just peel it off your skin with little effort or pain.
You may still experience some stickiness once the adhesive is gone. Washing with soap should eliminate the feeling. In most cases, you can also remove wet or dried wood glue residue or excess that may have squeezed from the bonded joint.
If you get Liquid Nails on your skin or a surface, the clean-up process is not easy. You can rinse the area with soap and water to remove Liquid Nails if it’s still wet and in the very early stage of application.
You’ll have a better chance of removing the adhesive with soap and water if it’s latex-based. However, if it’s a solvent-based formula, you may have to try applying petroleum jelly to get it off your skin. If Vaseline doesn’t work, you can also try mineral oil.
The shelf time means how long a product will stay usable once opened. All products have a best by manufacturer date, but the shelf time often extends past this date. Wood glue has a longer shelf life compared to Liquid Nails.
Although it’s possible to use Liquid Nails two years past the listed manufacturer’s date, many professionals recommend that you use your adhesive within a year of buying it. Products that exceed the manufacturer’s date, may have solvents in the adhesive start to separate, or the contents may harden. This can occur even if the product hasn’t been opened.
Wood glue can have a one to two-year shelf life when unopened. However, as long as the adhesive stays in a fluid state, it can still be usable, regardless of age. Some wood glues, like Titebond white and yellow glues, are usable well past two years.
When it comes to buying glues, you’ll spend more if you shop online for smaller amounts than larger quantities like a gallon or more. Smaller amounts are usually less expensive in stores than online too. Wood glue costs more than some heavy-duty construction adhesives. You can spend anywhere from $3.38 to $20 on wood glue, depending on the quantity, while Liquid Nails can cost from around $2 up to $40.
Liquid Nails has a variety of formulas that allow it to work on many different types of materials, such as foam, plywood, ceramic, leather, glass, and metal.
Wood glue is mostly for bonding wood to wood, like when building or repairing furniture, although you can also use this adhesive for gluing plastic, metal, or porcelain. It’s a fantastic for DIY and home improvement repairs and comes in types for indoor and outdoor use and various grades. However, when working on wood species like redwood, teak, or cedar, you’ll need to sand the surface or wipe it with acetone before applying wood glue.
Is Liquid Nails Stronger Than Wood Glue?
When it comes down to the basic comparison of the strength of wood glue versus Liquid Nails, the answer depends on your purposes for needing the adhesive.
When to Use Liquid Nails
- Bonding nonporous materials, including anything other than wood
- If there’s the potential for gaps
- For construction needs
- When you need a strong bond
- When there’s time for the adhesive to dry and cure (up to a week)
Liquid Nails doesn’t require soaking into surfaces for the pieces to form a bond, making it an ideal adhesive for nonporous construction surfaces.
When to Use Wood Glue
- Gluing wood to wood
- Adhering wood to a porous surface
- When you need fast drying and curing times
- If you need an adhesive with a long shelf life
- Working with arts and crafts
- If there’s an aversion to fumes or strong smells
When wood glue cures fully to bond wood to a porous or wood surface, it creates a permanent hold. You can release the pressure after holding the two glued pieces together for a minute or two to make a firm hold. The glue will set fast enough that the drying can occur without clamps.
The strength of the wood’s bond depends on the quality of the wood glue brand. Elmer’s is popular for minor hobbyists with good results. Titebond is better, though, and has special formulas like Titebond II and Titebond III for exterior use.
How Much Weight Can Liquid Nails Hold?
The amount of weight that Liquid Nails can hold will vary by product. LN-3000 Fuze It Max is the strongest formula available and has a shear strength of up to 1700 psi when it cures. The shear strength of other formulas reduces from there.
Since many of these products are specific to a type of project, like drywall, deck and subfloor, or paneling and molding, the psi of the different lines will be reflective of the material’s weight and strength potentials.
How Much Weight Can Wood Glue Hold?
Wood glue has a strength of 3,600 to 4,000 psi (pounds per square inch), roughly. This value means the bond strength of wood glues can withstand significant force without damage.
Best Liquid Nails Construction Adhesives
There are dozens of interior and exterior Liquid Nails construction adhesives. The best seller for Liquid Nails is LN-3000 – LN-Fuze*It Max.
LN-Fuze*It MaxLN-Fuze*It Max (LN-2000) is an all-purpose hybrid construction adhesive for interior and exterior use. This low odor, no VOC adhesive is suitable for all weather conditions – hot, cold, dry, or humid. It’s good for any temperature from 0° F to 140° F, and it bonds to almost any material with a 5x stronger instant grab and hold.
Best Wood Glue Adhesives
There are multiple brands of wood glue, but the two most common types are Elmer’s and Titebond. Elmer’s is better for beginners, while Titebond offers a more robust hold.
Elmer’s is one of the best known brands for wood glue, but it only offers one concentration rather than multiple formulas. This non-toxic, fumeless wood glue dries clear and is budget-friendly, making it a good choice for small arts and crafts.
TitebondTitebond is the top brand of wood glue, available for indoor and outdoor use. This adhesive is non-toxic, waterproof, and creates a permanent bond that won’t dry out or budge once applied. The PVA, polyvinyl acetate glue, products can range in strength from 3,000 to 4,000 psi.
Liquid Nails vs. Wood Glue vs. Gorilla Glue
Liquid Nails comes in multiple variations for different uses, and with shear strengths from 336 lbs (Liquid Nails HD) to 1178 lbs (Fuze*It). Wood glue doesn’t come in different formulas, but it does come in numerous brands. This adhesive has a strength of 3,600 to 4,000 psi. Gorilla Glue construction adhesives can support 846 lbs, more than double that of Liquid Nails HD.
In comparing Liquid Nails vs. wood glue, the main difference is that Liquid Nails is good for glass, leather, foam, ceramic, or metal, while wood glue is great for wood, although it also works on metal, plastic, or porcelain. In addition, Liquid Nails is also the brand name of a line of multiple construction adhesives, while wood glue is a type of glue that can come from different brands. Hopefully, you have a better idea of which o pick for your project.