Which glue works best on styrofoam

Gluing Styrofoam - guide and test on the subject of Styrofoam glue

September 27, 2020Category (ies): Adhesives, Guides

 

In order to be able to glue Styrofoam successfully, you not only need a little know-how, but also the right Styrofoam adhesive. If you use the wrong glue, it can happen that the styrofoam simply dissolves. In our adhesive test and guide, we will tell you how you can best glue Styrofoam and which special adhesive is best for Styrofoam.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

What is styrofoam

Styrofoam is the brand name of the plastic polystyrene, which was discovered by Eduard Simon in 1839. It has been produced on a large scale since 1950.

Polystyrene is obtained from styrene by polymerizing it. Today it is one of the five most widespread thermoplastics and is used in a variety of ways. It is used in particular for thermal insulation in houses and buildings. It is also often used for footfall sound insulation in buildings.

The construction industry, container construction and the aviation industry make use of the positive properties of this material:

  • It's very easy
  • It's inexpensive
  • Styrofoam is easy to work with
  • It is permeable to water vapor and oxygen
  • Polystyrene can be colored in any color
  • It is resistant to aqueous alkalis and mineral acids

In addition to the industrial applications mentioned above, the food industry also enjoys the advantages of polystyrene. Styrofoam is often used as packaging material for food because it is physiologically harmless.

Unfortunately, it also has some disadvantages: It is not resistant to petrol and solvents and is so brittle that it quickly breaks down into its individual components. Gluing Styrofoam is not easy either, as it is a low-energy material. Therefore, special glue must be used to glue Styrofoam. These not only have to be flame-retardant, but also solvent-free.

 

 

 

Choosing the right styrofoam adhesive

Choosing the right styrofoam adhesive depends on a number of things. So it depends first of all on the type of substrate to which the styrofoam is to be glued. A distinction is made between the following substrates:

  • Absorbent substrates: natural stone, wood, concrete, plaster or plaster
  • Non-absorbent surfaces: ceramic tiles, metals, multi-purpose panels with plastic coating or glass

 

The type of application is also important for the choice of the styrofoam adhesive. Among other things, the required bond strength depends on this.

Normal adhesives that work in particular on the basis of solvents are also not recommended. The solvent it contains is able to dissolve the styrofoam and thus gradually destroy it. Apart from that, when gluing with classic adhesives, unsightly stains often form. This is particularly annoying in visible places that have to be visually representative.

For this reason, you should pay attention to adhesives for styrofoam that work without solvents. We'll tell you what these are in the following section.

 

 

An overview of the various styrofoam adhesives

As for the special glue for styrofoam, you can choose between the following:

  • Polyurethane foam: Polyurethane foam is a plastic adhesive foam that can be used not only for gluing Styrofoam to Styrofoam, but also for many other materials and material combinations. This special adhesive for Styrofoam has the great advantage of being developed for both absorbent and non-absorbent surfaces. The respective variant can be freely selected. It glues Styrofoam permanently and without damage.
  • Acrylate adhesive: Adhesive applications on non-absorbent surfaces benefit from a good acrylic adhesive. This is resistant to aging and UV. Both one-component and two-component acrylate adhesives are available. The one-component variant is usually sufficient for gluing Styrofoam. A flash-off phase before bonding is mandatory for these adhesives.
  • Epoxy resin adhesive: The same generally applies to epoxy resin adhesives as to acrylate adhesives. They are also available as two or one component. However, there is generally no need to adhere to a flash-off time with this adhesive.
  • Water-based dispersion adhesive: Dispersion adhesives are also best suited for non-absorbent surfaces. A flash-off phase must also be observed when using them, since the hardening takes place through the evaporation of the water contained therein. Dispersion adhesives are also available on the market as spray adhesives. As such, they are ideal for large areas.

In general: If a flash-off time has to be observed, all subsequent work should be able to wait until the adhesive has completely hardened. This applies in particularondere the cladding and plastering of walls.

 

Care should be taken when using a hot glue gun. Hot glue is by no means suitable for styrofoam as this material is sensitive to heat. It could be damaged by the hot glue.

But which glue is best for Styrofoam? We have tested several of them and in the following sections we present the three winners in our Styrofoam adhesive test.

 

 

Special styrofoam adhesive for small areas: UHU Por glue

An adhesive that is particularly suitable for small areas is the UHU Por adhesive for styrofoam. It not only scores with its fair price, but also has other positive properties:

 

advantages

 

  • It is a solvent-free and quick-setting contact adhesive; it must therefore be applied on both sides and can thus develop its optimal adhesive strength
  • The resulting adhesive film is not only transparent and therefore very inconspicuous, but also elastic after hardening
  • The UHU Por glue is not only suitable for Styrofoam, but also for many other materials
  • Dosing is precisely and perfectly possible with the help of the tiny cannula

disadvantage

 

  • The adhesive is not suitable for PP and PE; you will need a special adhesive for this
  • The adhesive is also unsuitable for very small parts, as it sometimes takes a long time to set; It is also advisable to fix the glued parts if this is possible

Apart from these two drawbacks, we did not find any negative properties. UHU Por glue is not only the first choice for Styrofoam, but also for many other materials.

UHU POR special adhesive for polystyrene, 4 x 50 ml

19,41 €

incl. 19% statutory VAT.

to buy
  • 4 x 50 ml crystal clear special adhesive for Styrofoam in professional quality
  • Suitable EXP Polystyrene, Styrofoam, Depron, wood, paper, metal, photos, ceramics, plaster, construction foam, textiles
  • Colorless, waterproof, including detailed instructions

 

 

PU foam / assembly adhesive for large areas: Silisto assembly adhesive

The Silisto assembly adhesive is the styrofoam adhesive par excellence when it comes to bonding large areas. The color is inconspicuous and it is so easy to use that even inexperienced do-it-yourselfers can handle it well. But that's not all:

 

  • The acrylic dispersion-based assembly foam is perfect for non-absorbent surfaces
  • The initial adhesive strength is so high that even difficult areas can be optimally bonded with it without the substrates having to be fixed
  • The glue can be painted over
  • It is resistant to both aging and weather
  • Not only Styrofoam can be glued with it, but also various other materials such as wood, mineral fibers or cork

We could only find one drawback with this styrofoam glue and that was the consistency. This is a little too thick, so that sometimes there can be problems applying it. It is also difficult to remove hands or clothing. Wear disposable gloves when using the glue and be careful not to get the glue on your clothing. Apart from that, we have a crystal clear recommendation!

 

SILISTO assembly adhesive MK natural white, 310 ml

3,40 €

incl. 19% statutory VAT.

to buy
  • 1 cartridge assembly adhesive MK, 310ml, color natural
  • Physically drying sealant based on acrylic dispersion
  • Ready to use, paintable, strong adhesive, weatherproof
  • For gluing: wooden strips, profile boards, stucco profiles, baseboards, styrofoam decorations, cork panels

 

 

Spray glue for easy application: Tesa spray adhesive

The Tesa spray adhesive permanent is, so to speak, the all-rounder is our styrofoam adhesive test. In particular, it bonds large surfaces permanently and durably, and is very easy to apply thanks to the practical spray nozzle. It is also suitable for many materials, including wood, various plastics and felt. But there are even more advantages:

 

advantages

 

  • The spray adhesive is available in different can sizes
  • Due to the flat but very thin application, there are no ugly streaks when gluing foils and fabrics
  • The adhesive is extremely resistant to mechanical loads
  • It is heat-resistant in a range from -20 ° to + 60 ° Celsius
  • It is silicone-free

disadvantage

 

  • The odor of the styrofoam glue is very annoying, so we would recommend using it outdoors or in well-ventilated places; sensitive people should wear a breathing mask
  • The price is tough

We would only rate the high financial costs for the adhesive half as a disadvantage, because good quality usually has its price. The Tesa spray adhesive receives an almost unreserved recommendation from us.

 

TESA spray adhesive permanent, strong adhesive for slightly rough surfaces, 300 ml

8,90 €

incl. 19% statutory VAT.

to buy
  • High-quality, silicone-free spray for bonding slightly rough surfaces
  • Suitable for numerous types of material such as paper, felt, foil, wood, leather, styrofoam and other plastics
  • With a precise spray function - ideal for gluing large areas

 

 

Instructions for gluing styrofoam

Gluing Styrofoam is easy if you use the right glue. Just follow our styrofoam sticking step-by-step instructions. We'll show you exactly how to do it by gluing Styrofoam sheets.

 

Preparatory work and materials

The following materials are required for gluing Styrofoam panels:

  • The styrofoam plates and strips
  • A sharp knife for cutting
  • A toothed spatula
  • A worktop, for example a table; this should either be protected or easy to clean
  • Pu foam

First, put everything you need in order to avoid unnecessary walks.

Now you can draw a plan that you want to proceed with. The next step is to cut the panels and strips to size and place them in the correct order noted on the plan. So you can gradually attach the panels and strips to the wall without having to cut them again and again. Plan cutouts for cables, if necessary.

Once all of the styrofoam panels and strips are in front of the wall, you can work on the subsurface. This must be completely flat; it must not have any uneven areas, otherwise gaps may form after bonding and the styrofoam sheets may even break. Textured wallpaper, for example, must be removed beforehand. You can sand off large bumps; Dents should be plastered up. Then the wall must be completely dry so that the glue can stick to it.

Now the styrofoam sheets can be glued.

 

Glue the styrofoam sheets

To glue a Styrofoam sheet, lay it down in front of you with the back facing up. The adhesive is now applied over the entire surface using the notched trowel. Do not put too much of it on the styrofoam sheet and distribute it evenly. The edge is cut out up to a centimeter to prevent the styrofoam adhesive from leaking out.

Under no circumstances should Styrofoam panels be glued at certain points, as this can also lead to the formation of gaps and damage to the material.

 

 

Now you can pick up the plate and attach it to the wall. Use gentle pressure, but be careful to avoid damaging the styrofoam.

It is important to always start inside and work your way outwards. So you can still cut the terminations to size if necessary. There should be a little space around the edges so that the still damp styrofoam adhesive does not ooze out.

After the first central plate, you can attach the others. This is how you work your way to the edge.

 

Curing phase of the styrofoam adhesive

Styrofoam adhesives are usually quick-setting, so that a long hardening phase is not to be expected. On the contrary: special glue for Styrofoam already achieves solid hand strength after about five minutes.

However, this also means that you have to work quickly when attaching the styrofoam sheets. This is especially true if you notice gaps and have to move one or the other Styrofoam sheet a little.

 

 

Gaps filled with PU foam

When working with Styrofoam sheets, there are often smaller and larger gaps that need to be filled. This can be done with the help of PU foam. It should be solvent-free and slightly poured into the crevices. Outer edges can easily be filled with it and, after a curing phase of 24 hours, covered with styrofoam strips. Previously, protruding hardened PU foam residues should be removed with a cutter knife in order to achieve a completely smooth surface.

 

 

questions and answers

 

Which glue for styrofoam?

The answer to this question depends on the subsurface. If this is absorbent, PU foam can be used; A dispersion, acrylate or epoxy resin adhesive is more suitable for non-absorbent surfaces.

 

How can I glue styrofoam to styrofoam?

You can easily glue Styrofoam to Styrofoam with standard wood glue, but this connection is by no means waterproof. Otherwise, solid special adhesives are suitable for Styrofoam, as recommended in this guide.

Gluing Styrofoam is very easy if you use the right glue. Pay attention to the surface and choose the optimal styrofoam adhesive for your purpose. We hope that we could help you with this.