Troubleshooting Adhesive Bonding Issues

Modern adhesives are very dependable. Whether you’re doing a bit of DIY or taking part in a major building project, you need to be able to rely on your adhesives – and usually you can.

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However, there will be certain circumstances in which an adhesive will let you down. It may be straight after application, a few days later or even months afterwards. Bonding failures are not very common but they do happen, and discovering why the adhesive has failed may not be that easy, especially if it happens long after the job was done.

According to, there are two reasons adhesives fail – either the adhesive separates from the substrate (the surface it is applied to), or the adhesive itself breaks apart.

Here, for your information, are a few of the most common reasons why they happen, and some ways to avoid them.


Probably the most common reason for adhesive failure is contamination of the adhesive or the surfaces it is being applied to. There’s a very good reason why most instructions tell you to ensure all surfaces are clean and free from dust and grease.

Any foreign object, however small, on the surfaces can lead to adhesive failure. Dirt, grease, oils – even from your fingers – can affect how well the adhesive works.

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The answer, of course, is to ensure all surfaces are properly prepared before application. Some adhesives simply require you to clean the surface, while others will need you to prepare the surface using abrasion or other chemical methods – always make sure you follow the instructions.

The environment can also play a part. Changes in temperature and humidity can also cause bonds to fail.

Incorrect Application

Applying your adhesive the right way is vital if you want it to bond well. If you apply a thick layer when a thin one is needed, for instance, you risk the bond not working. If you’re using automatic dispensers for your adhesives, ensure all equipment is free-flowing and working correctly at all times.

When using a metal bonding adhesive, for example – such as those found at – it is important to follow all the instructions correctly.

In the Mix

Another common cause of failure is incorrect mixing of the adhesive itself. Again, you need to follow the instructions to the letter – mistakes can be costly.

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