How to use Liquid Nails construction adhesive

Last Updated on March 2, 2020 by Dave Farquhar

If you’re wondering how to use Liquid Nails or another construction adhesive, read on. There’s no shame in that. I was 30 years old before anyone told me.

Which should you use?

First off, are you better off using construction adhesive or wood glue? It depends on what you’re gluing. Here’s some help on deciding between construction adhesive and wood glue.

Preparing your Liquid Nails

how to use liquid nails
To use Liquid Nails or another construction adhesive, apply it in a zigzag pattern and press into place.

Construction adhesive comes in a tube that you load into a caulk gun to use. Let’s talk about how to do that.

First, slice the tip off the tube with a utility knife. Depending on the brand, you may also have to pierce the foil inside the tube. Use a long, thin, sharp object. Some caulk guns have a metal rod for this. If yours doesn’t, just use a thin piece of wood or metal that’s long enough to reach.

Push the release on the gun and pull the rod all the way back. Now the construction adhesive loads easily. Pull the trigger on the gun until the tube can’t fall out.

Using Liquid Nails or other construction adhesive

Now you’re ready to use it. Essentially, construction adhesive is nothing more than a strong, gap-filling glue. You use it pretty much the same way. Lay the item you need to glue face down. Pull the trigger on the caulk gun until some adhesive oozes out. Apply the adhesive in a zigzag pattern as you gently pull the trigger. Press the item into place up against the other item. Hold it in place until you feel the adhesive grab. It should only take a minute or two. I still like to hold the two items together some way until the adhesive dries completely. Sometimes that means placing a heavy object up against it. It may mean putting screws or nails in the four corners. Or if it’s possible to clamp the objects together, clamping works really well.

When you’re finished, press the release on the gun again and pull the rod back a bit. Otherwise, adhesive continues to ooze out, which is wasteful and messy. When you’re finished with your project, press the release and pull the rod completely back. Take the tube out of the caulk gun and insert a long deck or drywall screw into the opening. This helps keep the remaining adhesive from drying out so quickly. Try to use the tube up within a couple of weeks, because it won’t last very long once you open it.

That’s about all you need to know about how to use Liquid Nails or another construction adhesive, except maybe how to store any leftover adhesive afterward. I wish you well on your project.

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