How to Glue Rubber Together: Step-by-Step Guide (with Pictures)
When you take a moment to think about it, it’s truly amazing how many things in our daily lives are made of rubber. All sorts of tires, the soles of our shoes, balls, hoses, inflatable tubes, and boats are all made of rubber, just to name a few.
With so many things around us made out of rubber, it can be very useful to know how to repair it in a pinch. This article is for the person who needs a quick fix and also the person who just wants to know in advance. Read on to find out everything you know about gluing rubber together.
Before you start…
Sure, you could just slap any old glue on your rubber bonding project, but it might not be the most effective, causing you more work later. Follow these steps to ensure a great final product.
Identify Your Type of Rubber
Yes, there’s more than just one type of rubber. In order to decide which type of glue is best, you are going to have to figure out what kind of rubber you are dealing with. Here’s some of the most common types of rubber and what kind of products are made from them. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of what you are dealing with.
What Type of Glue Should You Use?
Super glue is a good bet
Cyanoacrylate instant adhesive, more commonly known as “super glue,” is a good thing to first try, especially if you do not have a clue what kind of rubber you are working with. It’s a super strong glue that still has some give, unlike epoxy glue that dries very hard. Because this kind of glue cures instantly, you will know right away if it’s going to work or if you need to try something else.
Potential problems with using super glue are that the bond can be so strong that the rubber will tear if pulled on too hard, so take care after using the adhesive.
Other kinds of glue that are good for rubber bonding
Brands like Permabond, ASI, Loctite, and many others make special glues for different materials, including the different types of rubber. It depends on the type of rubber you have, too. For a hard rubber-like nitrile rubber, Epoxy glue can work, but for a technical rubber-like silicone, you will need a specific kind of glue made especially for silicone.
Is Gorilla glue good for rubber?
Original Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue that, when finished bonding, becomes very hard and has no elasticity. Therefore, it is not a good glue for any kind of rubber. Epoxy-type glue is not good for all kinds of rubber either, unless you want a hard bond that is inflexible. The Gorilla brand makes a variety of glue, including the best kind of glue for rubber, cyanoacrylate.
How to Glue Rubber Together
1. Prepare Your Surface for Bonding
There could be some extra grease, lubricant or additives on your rubber that you don’t know about. These things work against good adhesion, so it’s a good idea to clean the slate.
You may be tempted to reach for the acetone, but this can be too harsh on your rubber materials. Try wiping on isopropanol (IPA alcohol) to strip the rubber surface from any lingering chemicals from rubber manufacturing.
2. For any rubber, try out super glue first
If you don’t know what kind of rubber you have, start with super glue, since it’s very inexpensive (and you probably already have it in your junk drawer). Only use a very small drop, a little goes a long way. Squeeze your rubber pieces together tightly. After about a minute, check for proper bonding.
3. For EPDM or natural rubber, use a special kind of “super glue”
Try to find a cyanoacrylate (“super glue”) that is specifically for EPDM or natural rubber. Many brands produce them and should specify on the label that it is made for gluing EPDM or natural rubber. Permabond in particular makes a cyanoacrylate called Permabond 105 for rubbers that are difficult to bond.
4. For silicone rubber, prime, then glue.
Silicone is especially hard to glue together. You have a few options with silicone. First, you could use a gluing primer, then use the special rubber glue we just talked about.
This method might not allow your rubber to be as flexible as you would like. In that case, use the primer and then a glue-like Permabond 2050 cyanoacrylate, or Loctite Silicone Waterproof Sealant. This creates an even seal around the glued spot that doesn’t flake off at all, allowing the rubber to flex and bend without the glue coming off.
For silicone rubber adhesives, you will need a longer set time than gluing with super glue. You will want to set some time aside to hold it together or find out a way to clamp your silicone rubber together. It can also get slippery, so be prepared for messes.
Also, if you are gluing silicone on kitchenware, make sure the glue is food grade safe and heat-resistant.
5. Test it out
Finally, after the glue has had time to properly set, you can go ahead and give it a little tug. For plain cyanoacrylate, this should only be a minute or less, but for the other types you have to wait longer. Check your bottle of glue for set times.
After the tug test, if your glue isn’t sticking, you might need to try a different kind of adhesive.
As you have read in this article, it’s not so simple to glue any kind of rubber together with any kind of glue. You need to pay attention to what kind of glue works best with certain kinds of rubber, which there are many of! Luckily, most glue companies know this and create the best kinds of glue for whatever rubber material you happen to have.
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- How to Glue Metal to Metal: Step-by-Step Guide
Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock vzwer
- Before you start…
- What Type of Glue Should You Use?
- How to Glue Rubber Together