How Do I Choose the Best Ceramic Adhesive?

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  • Written By: B. Leslie Baird
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Ceramic adhesives are available for a variety of applications and choosing the best one depends on the type of project. Creating or repairing art pieces generally requires a multi-purpose ceramic adhesive, while fixing broken ceramic dinnerware calls for a food-safe adhesive designed to stand up to daily use and washing. Setting ceramic flooring requires a product designed specifically for ceramic tile. Special adhesives are available for engineering applications as well.

Adhesives may be water-based, and these include vegetable-based glues and latex cements. Thermal adhesives become a liquid or paste when heated, and bond when cooled or when pressure is applied. Two-part adhesives form a chemical bond when the user mixes a resin and a hardening compound. Cyanoacrylates are instant glues that provide strong adhesion but can peel off many surfaces.

For gluing decorative ceramic objects, a cyanoacrylate product provides a strong hold. The actual product label should have a list of suitable applications. Liquid Nails® is one common brand that can often be purchased in single-use sizes to prevent waste. This type of ceramic adhesive is normally not recommended for outdoor use, or for items that will come into contact with food.


When repairing dinnerware, the best ceramic adhesive is generally one that is safe for use with food. The product should be labeled as being dishwasher and microwave safe as well. Caution is still important, as many adhesives are not recommended for oven use. The product may not be designed for exposure to the higher temperatures and longer cooking times. Elmer’s® manufactures a line of glues and cements made for dinnerware repairs.

Specific ceramic adhesives are available for use with floor tile. Each of these products provides different benefits in terms of durability, adhesive strength, and drying time. One popular type for ceramic flooring is a powder that is mixed with water. Colors can be added to this mixture to match, or contrast, the tile. Once dry, the adhesive is water-resistant.

Thinset adhesives can be mixed with an acrylic additive to provide additional strength. This type may be a good choice for flooring in high-use areas. Premixed ceramic adhesives can be the right choice for setting wall tiles, but are not usually recommended for floor applications. While providing some water-resistance, the adhesive does not hold up to puddles of water.

Engineering applications may require the use of a ceramic adhesive that is flexible and able to withstand moisture and temperature variations. A ceramic adhesive used in electronic applications must also be resistant to electricity. These products are not only used to glue items together, but also provide insulation and protection from moisture and corrosion. Adhesive formulas can be custom-ordered for specific uses.


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