Does Temperature Affect the Stickiness of Glue?

by Lucy Dale; Updated September 26, 2017
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Whether you're working on a craft or a home repair, glue serves as an important tool in bonding items together. However, you may be frustrated to find that your glue is not as sticky as it should be, leading to sub-par work, which may be because of the current temperature as temperature and other atmospheric influences impact the stickiness of glue.

Cold

Household glues are effective in temperatures between 38 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when the temperature drops below this range, the glue has a tendency to crack, producing a "glue line" and losing some of its stickiness. In addition, when the temperature is below freezing, glue can also freeze and will need to be reheated and reapplied before it becomes sticky again.

Heat

Similarly, most glues will not work in temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At this range, they are still sticky; however, they are unlikely to dry properly, or at all, depending on the relative humidity of the environment. The exception to this is hot glue, which requires a special "gun" and works at temperatures around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity

More than heat, humidity affects the ultimate stickiness of glue. Moisture can prevent glue from drying and bonding items together. Therefore, working in a dry environment with moderate temperatures will best ensure that you get the results you need. A dehumidifier may help in circumstances where you must use glue in a humid environment. You may want to let the dehumidifier run for awhile before you start your gluing project.

Other Products

While glue needs to be used under very specific temperature conditions to have the optimal stickiness, other products have a wider range of uses. For example, you can use contact cement, rubber cement and other cement products to bind a range of objects while hot glue works well for items that need a strong bond that is non-temperature dependent after the initial application at high temperatures.

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