19 January 2023

Finding an adhesive to cure the problem

With the ability to chemically bond two or more substrates, adhesives play an important role in many day-to-day construction jobs. However, with so many adhesive options available finding the right solution can be confusing.

Developed to work for a specific combination of substrates and in varying conditions, selecting the right adhesive for a job is a challenge. Product quality also varies significantly so it is crucial that installers specify the best product for the job in hand. Here, we look at the three major types of adhesive and the jobs they are best suited to.  


Silicone adhesives

Silicone adhesives

Silicone adhesives are extremely versatile and useful products. Offering outstanding movement capability, they remain permanently flexible and provide strong adhesion to a wide variety of substrates, including plastics, metals, painted surfaces and PVCu. They can be formulated to be electrically insulative or conductive, meaning they are also suitable for electrical applications. Similarly, silicone adhesives can repel water.

Furthermore, they are also incredibly durable thanks to their weather and temperature resistance capabilities. In fact, silicone adhesives have the potential to withstand a wide temperature range of −100 to 250°C. As such, when applied correctly, they can last for decades without shrinking, cracking or discolouration.

A good example of a high performing silicone adhesive is Trade Mate Mirror Fix. Providing excellent unprimed adhesion on most glasses, metals and mirror coatings, it is non-corrosive, odourless and resistant to heat and humidity – ideal for bathroom mirror installations.

MS Polymer adhesives

MS Polymer adhesives

MS Polymers entered the adhesive market just over 20 years ago and have since been very popular with installers. An outstanding all-round option, a high-quality MS Polymer has many of the characteristics associated with traditional sealants, such as the ultraviolet stability and flexibility of silicones whilst also possessing some of the qualities of high-quality ‘grab’ adhesives. They are incredibly versatile - suitable for internal and external applications and can be applied to wet or dry materials.

MS Polymers also have excellent non-staining properties and won’t attack synthetic materials after application. To further ensure that a tidy finish is achieved, they do not bubble when curing. What’s more, MS Polymers can be easily over-painted with a water-based paint or a water-based primer layer.

A popular MS Polymer is THE WORKS PRO X High Grab Adhesive which provides an ultra-fast bond on almost any material and can even cure underwater. It resists mould growth and UV and has an excellent service temperature range.

Polyurethane adhesives

Polyurethane adhesives

Available as either a two-component or a one component product, polyurethane adhesives are predominantly used for jobs where an especially high strength bond is required. In fact, it is so strong that clamps and fixings aren’t required post-application. They are suitable for a range of porous and non-porous materials, including wood, concrete, glass and metal.

Another key feature of polyurethane adhesives is that they bond very quickly and have handling times ranging from 5 to 30 minutes. This reduces the amount of time it takes to complete a job meaning a tradesperson can move onto the next task faster. What’s more, polyurethanes are incredibly waterproof and work within a wide temperature range between –30°C to 150°C. 

Geocel’s Joiners Mate range encompasses two high quality polyurethane adhesives:

Joiners Mate Wood Adhesive is a highly versatile product that can be applied internally or externally to wood, metal, stone, concrete, brick, masonry and various plastics. It has a working time of just 5 minutes and is highly resistant to weather, seawater, acid and chemicals

The other product is the Joiners Mate Liquid Wood Adhesive. A one-part rapid moisture curing adhesive, it expands slightly to increase bite strength and is ideal for bonding rubber and PVCu and where fast assembly times are essential.

By gaining an understanding of the different types of adhesives available, tradespeople will be in a stronger position to navigate through the crowded market and avoid the wrong solution, which could result in the need to revisit a job further down the line.

To further ensure that a high-quality adhesive solution is sourced, specifiers should look to a reputable supplier. Geocel for example, has more than 30 years of technical expertise and is certainly up to the challenge. Thanks to our commitment to innovation, we have developed several market leading sealant and adhesive product ranges such as THE WORKS PRO and Trade Mate.

To learn more about our adhesive products, visit our adhesives page.