What are the Different Types of Carpet Adhesive?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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A carpet adhesive, also known as carpet glue, is often used instead of carpet tacks for keeping a carpet well grounded and in place. It is an excellent choice for installing a wall-to-wall carpet and stairway carpeting. These adhesives come in two main types.

There are adhesives that come pre-applied to carpets. These adhesive-backed carpets make carpet installation a simple matter. Other adhesives come in a spreadable form and must be applied to the carpet backing with a trowel or a roller.

The spreadable type of carpet adhesive is more versatile and can be used for a wide range of carpeting. It may be used for smooth-backed carpets, coarse-backed carpets, soft underlay, urethane laminated underlay, felt-backed vinyl, carpet tiles, and so on. It is necessary to match the right type of spreadable adhesive to a particular type of carpet backing.

If the carpet adhesive and carpet backing combination is not correct, the carpet installation will be less than perfect. The type of adhesive to use also depends to a large extent on the type of substrate on which the carpet is to be laid. It is important for the adhesive to bond well with the substrate.


Some high performance,commercial adhesives bond well with cement sheet underlays and concrete. Others may bind well with plywood and hardboard. Some versatile adhesives may be used with all the mentioned types of floors.

It is a good idea to check out the different carpet adhesive products available in the market. Most of these usually offer detailed information on the kind of carpets and substrates the adhesive can be used with. It might also help to get advise from a professional carpet installation firm if necessary.

Many modern carpet adhesive companies are going green. Their products use water as the vehicle and are generally non-toxic and non-flammable. The other ingredients, such as binders, fillers, preservatives and viscosity controls, are also safe and less volatile.

Carpet adhesives can come in a white, off-white, and creamy paste forms. The adhesive can be acrylic based or synthetic rubber based. Even when touted as safe, it is best to handle it wearing gloves and avoid contact with the skin and eyes.

Before applying the carpet adhesive, it is advisable to to test the substrate for moisture. The presence of moisture may prevent the adhesive from setting effectively. Once the adhesive is spread, the carpet should be laid on immediately, positioned and rolled with a heavy roller.

Once this is done, the adhesive should be left to dry properly. Avoid walking on the carpeted area for a day or two. The adhesive, depending on the quality, will usually keep the carpet firmly in place for several years.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

Carpet adhesive can sometimes be used instead of seam tape but only when not using a carpet pad, but then again, it probably isn't advisable to be using carpet adhesive when using carpet padding in any case. Sometimes a carpet installer will use adhesives with padding when they are doing the rest of the unit with non-padded commercial carpet, but I always thought it should be avoided.

Post 3

The article says the adhesive should last for several years, but that seems like a relatively short amount of time, especially considering some rooms could go 10 or more years without needing the carpet replaced? Would it be possible to repair if the carpet adhesive failed before the carpet was worn?

Also, does anybody know about using carpet adhesive for seaming instead of using carpet tape?

Post 2

@TurtleeyMC - You should be able to move just laid carpet for a few minutes after it is installed.

However, if the adhesive has started to set at all, there is no guarantee that you will not get bumps or other imperfections.

Carpeting is expensive. If you aren't sure you can install it properly, you may want to make the extra investment to have a professional installer do it.

The bigger dent to your wallet will probably be worth it to save you the grief of having to look at your mistakes for years.

Post 1

Everybody knows it is not easy to tear up carpeting once adhesive has set. However, if a mistake is made when the carpet is being laid, is there enough time to pull it up and reposition it before it is locked in, so to speak?

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