Adhesives and their application in construction


Adhesives are extremely versatile and the sheer range of adhesives available means they’re used across a wide range of industries, as well as for personal use. One industry that regularly uses powerful adhesives is the construction industry.

Understandably, robust foundations are the premise of every new building. This is why it is so integral for construction workers to use adhesives that can be relied on to do everything from fusing materials together to ensuring that insulation materials remain firmly in place. It’s also important for health and safety purposes because if materials aren’t secured properly on site, it can have severe consequences.

Here’s what you need to know about the types of adhesives that are commonly used in construction.

Type of adhesive

There are two types of adhesives used in construction and they’re used for slightly different purposes:


This type of adhesive is used for the structural level of construction work. It’s used to bond materials together, including concrete, making it a key aspect of most building projects. It’s used in masonry, as well as composite bonding and sealing metal parts within concrete.

Structural adhesives need to meet at least 5-8 MPa tensile strength. Examples include epoxy adhesives, silicones and structural polyurethanes.


These adhesives are less heavy-duty in comparison to structural adhesives. As a result, they’re used more for decorative purposes. You can use non-structural adhesives to apply wall coverings, including panels and particle boards.

The idea is that they are strong, but don’t require the level of strength needed to fuse the foundations of a construction project.

How adhesive materials work

So, how do adhesives actually work?

The premise revolves around the creation of bonds between different materials – there’s a lot of science to it all. The molecules in adhesive materials create attractive forces, helping them to bond to whatever material is attached to them. The wetting of the surface is what helps to maximise the level of contact created between the adhesive and the material. The result is a long-lasting bond that’s almost impossible to break.

Role of adhesives in construction

Adhesives are used in construction for a range of purposes. They’re used to cement the structural integrity of buildings, which is key to long-lasting and durable buildings.

It can be used to fuse a range of materials together, such as concrete, plastics, glass and more. With this in mind, the adhesives used need to be extremely strong. It’s also a bonus if the chosen adhesive is easy to apply for improved usability onsite. The last thing you want as a construction worker is to be tackling a messy adhesive with poor application.

Beyond the construction industry, adhesives are also used in the automotive, medical and aerospace industries.

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