Best PVA Glue in 2019 – A Definite Buying Guide for Beginners

The PVA glue (polyvinyl acetate) is one of the most common adhesives in the market, and most people know it as what woodworkers use when joining two pieces of wood to make a joint. This glue is a rubbery synthetic polymer, and in most cases, it comes in white color. There is another common variation that is yellow in appearance, but they share a similar chemical formula.

Although the PVA is in most cases used as wood glue, it still has many other applications. Some of these other uses include bookbinding and as an addition to cement mortar.

Titebond 5004 II Premium Wood Glue, 16-Ounces
Super Glue 15185 Gel, 12-Pack, .07oz tubes
Titebond Liquid Hide Glue, 8-Ounces #5013
Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Wood Replacement Compound, 12 oz Kit, Part A & B
Professional Grade Cyanoacrylate (CA)"Super Glue" by Glue Masters - Extra Large 8 OZ (226-gram) Bottle with Protective Cap - Thin Viscosity Adhesive for Plastic, Wood & DIY Crafts
Titebond 5004 II Premium Wood Glue, 16-Ounces
Super Glue 15185 Gel, 12-Pack, .07oz tubes
Titebond Liquid Hide Glue, 8-Ounces #5013
Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Wood Replacement Compound, 12 oz Kit, Part A & B
Professional Grade Cyanoacrylate (CA)"Super Glue" by Glue Masters - Extra Large 8 OZ (226-gram) Bottle with Protective Cap - Thin Viscosity Adhesive for Plastic, Wood & DIY Crafts
Titebond 5004 II Premium Wood Glue, 16-Ounces
Titebond 5004 II Premium Wood Glue, 16-Ounces
Super Glue 15185 Gel, 12-Pack, .07oz tubes
Super Glue 15185 Gel, 12-Pack, .07oz tubes
Titebond Liquid Hide Glue, 8-Ounces #5013
Titebond Liquid Hide Glue, 8-Ounces #5013
Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Wood Replacement Compound, 12 oz Kit, Part A & B
Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Wood Replacement Compound, 12 oz Kit, Part A & B
Professional Grade Cyanoacrylate (CA)"Super Glue" by Glue Masters - Extra Large 8 OZ (226-gram) Bottle with Protective Cap - Thin Viscosity Adhesive for Plastic, Wood & DIY Crafts
Professional Grade Cyanoacrylate (CA)"Super Glue" by Glue Masters - Extra Large 8 OZ (226-gram) Bottle with Protective Cap - Thin Viscosity Adhesive for Plastic, Wood & DIY Crafts

Last update on 2019-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

PVA Glue Facts

  • The main chemical compound in PVA glue is polyvinyl acetate. This component is what ensures that the adhesive does not produce any harmful fumes and it is safe to handle without wearing a glove.
  • PVA will set well when there is sufficient air circulation, and its chemical composition means that it dries the fastest at room temperature. Although this quick drying adhesive has a high bond strength, you always get the strongest connection by clamping the wood.
  • It has a neutral pH, is flexible and the bond that it creates is permanent, and you cannot reverse its adhesion.
  • Although this glue is in most cases white, it also comes in a version that has a yellow exterior, and it is what most people refer to as the carpenter's glue. Despite the difference in color, these glues have the same formula and properties.
  • The PVA glue is water soluble, and it is okay to mix it with water to make it thinner. However, you should be careful to avoid over-diluting it because this can affect its adhesiveness.

PVA Glue - Advantages and Disadvantages

PVA Glue

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Advantages

  • Safety: Most PVA glue brands have an extremely safe rating. This adhesive will not emit any fumes that can be harmful to people and it is also not hazardous to touch even when not wearing a glove. However, it can be toxic if you ingest it.
  • Waterproof/Resistant: The water resistant properties of PVA are what makes it ideal for use in a cement and mortar mix and as an undercoat for highly absorbent surfaces. The level of water resistance and waterproof will depend on the particular formulation of the glue, but it is not suitable in cases where you have to submerge it for a long time.
  • Easy Clean Up: Cleaning up any excess or spills is very easy when the glue is wet as you only need to wipe it off with a damp cloth. Also, the dried one is also easy to get rid off by chipping it off or sanding the surface if possible.
  • Available and Inexpensive: The PVA glue is very common and widely available because most woodworking stores stock it and you can also get it in most online retails store. This availability is one of the things that make it inexpensive. Also, the fact that many companies produce it helps to make it very affordable.
  • Strong and Flexible: This adhesive is strong once it sets and it can even be stronger than the wood that you use it to join. Also, the nature of this glue ensures that it maintains some degree of flexibility even after drying.

Disadvantages

  • You Cannot Vanish Over It: When using PVA to join wood, you should always make sure that you scrape off any dried excess. One of the primary purposes for this is the fact that you cannot apply vanish over this glue. But, it is possible to paint over it.
  • Short Open Time: You will not have a long open time when using this glue, and so complicated gluing projects might be hard to do on your own. If you are doing any gluing that takes long, it is a good idea to do it in steps.
  • Not Gap Filling: The joints on your pieces of wood have to be very precise and form perfect fits because PVA does not have gap filling abilities. Also, you need to do some clamping for maximum effectiveness which means it might not work well for you if you do not have clamps.

PVA Glue Applications

#1. Bookbinding

PVA has been in use as a bookbinding adhesive for many years and although there are now many other glue types available for the same purpose most people still prefer to use it. What makes it the best for bookbinding is the fact that it is flexible and has some strong bonds that make it possible for the book to bind securely without compromising the pH of the pages.

#2. Woodworking

After using blades to create grooves, woodworkers still need something to join the two pieces of wood even when the joint is a perfect fit. And for this, the PVA glue is always the best choice for them because it absorbs into the wood and once it dries it is almost impossible to separate the two pieces without damaging them. This glue will hold better when you clamp the two pieces of wood as it continues to dry.

#3. Cement and Mortar

It is common to add the PVA glue to cement and mortar mix. One of the main reasons for this is that the glue resists moisture and mildew and so adding it to the mix helps to improve its waterproof properties. Also, it enhances the adhesion of a surface, and so it is also common to paint a coat of PVA on a surface before applying the cement mortar.

#4. Coating Absorbent Surfaces

PVA glue comes in handy when dealing with surfaces that are extremely absorbent. Before applying the finish, PVA is applied to the permeable surface to ensure that the finish does not dry out quickly as it would without it.

A good example is when plastering over an Artex ceiling, without applying a coat of PVA the plaster would dry out very fast and make it almost impossible to achieve a smooth finish. PVA will slow down the absorption of moisture and give you more time to work on the plaster.

How to Use PVA to Glue Wood

PVA is a low cost and very useful adhesive to have at home. However, it is important to know how to use it to ensure that you get maximum benefits from it. Although the method of use will depend on the application, here are some simple steps that you should follow when using it on wood.

Step 1: Squeeze it Onto the Wood

The first step when using PVA glue with wood and also most other materials is to press it onto the surface. You should squeeze the glue onto the two pieces of woods at the point that you want to join them and then rub off any excess or spills with a damp cloth immediately.

Step 2: Spread the Glue

After squeezing and removing any spills from the surface of your two pieces of woods the next step is to spread out the glue. You can use a woodworker’s glue spreader or a brush but make sure that you spread a thin coat through the surfaces that you want to join.

Step 3: Push Pieces Together

Once you are content that you have a thin and uniform layer of adhesive on the two surfaces, the next step is to push them together. When doing this, you should rub them from one side to the other to ensure even distribution of the adhesive and to remove any trapped air.

Step 4: Clamp Them Securely

Clamping is an important step when using PVA on wood, and you should not skip as it improves the connection. And so, after pushing the two pieces together, you should use a G-clamp or a few of them (according to the size of your pieces) to clamp the wood. You should then leave the clamped pieces of wood for about 24 hours before you take off the clamps.

Read More: 8 Popular Types of Clamps for Woodworking

Step 5: Sand off the Excess

The last step is sanding off any excess glue that might dry out on the surface of the wood. No matter how keen you are with the quantity of PVA and how you apply it, the likelihood is that you will still have some excess when you clamp them, but this should not be an issue because sanding will help to maintain the aesthetics.

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