What Is Contact Cement and How to Thin Contact Cement?

If you want to stick two non-porous materials together, what will be the best adhesive solution? You may first think of using glue.

But how will you know which is the best-suited glue for your job?

Because when you go to a hardware store, you will see different adhesives lining on the shelves, which is enough to confuse you. But the good news is- there is one particular adhesive, especially for non-porous material, that can remove all your confusion in an instant.

Yes, it's contact cement, which is also known as a contact adhesive. This is a special kind of adhesive that is a non-sticky solid substance and can do a far better job than any other glue in the market.

If you have just heard about contact cement and don't know much about it, then you are in the right place to find your answers. Because in today's article, we are going to discuss what is contact cement and how to thin it.

Knowing about contact cement is great; supposedly, it also important to know its thinning process. Without having the ideal consistency, it will fail to have an impact by any means.

So let's jump in!

How to Use Contact Cement?

Contact cement is a kind of adhesive that creates a permanent, flexible, and instant bond between two non-porous materials. You can use it to glue almost all kinds of materials, but it works best on non-porous material.

It's a neoprene rubber adhesive that needs to dry before you stick the two surfaces together. When you apply a coat of contact adhesive on both of the surfaces, it dries through the evaporation of a flammable solvent.

The bond will take place even in a momentary contact only when the two coated parts are dry. And the adhesive will take almost 15 -20 minutes to get completely dry, and only after that the parts will be ready to assemble.

Contact Cement is widely used on plastics, rubbers, veneers, glass, metal, and even leather. If you are thinking of gluing your countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, contact cement is the lifelong solution for that.

You can glue decorative laminates and thin plastic to countertops using contact cement. If you use anything else instead of contact cement or tile adhesive on any non-porous materials, the elements will not stick together as you expect and will take a longer dry-time.

Because all other glues require to be dried after the assembling. And as you know, there is no room in non-porous material for the moisture or solvent to escape from between the two parts. 

So the adhesive will take longer to dry even after using clamps. But as we said, when you use contact cement for sticking your non-porous surface, it sticks for good.

Even, if you ever want to disassemble the parts attached with contact cement, you will end up damaging the materials.

Thinning Contact Cement

It is obvious that you need to ensure your adhesive has the perfect density for a perfect bonding. But surely, it is not always possible to maintain the exact thickness for all the materials.

Sometimes you need to thin the adhesive a bit more, and sometimes a bit less. When should you make it thicker and when thinner?

This totally depends on your material type and situation. And this is why it is necessary for you to know the ways to thin the contact cement.

Ways to Thin Contact Cement

There are so many solvent-based materials, such as acetone, rubbing alcohol, and old fashioned lighter fluid, that can be used in contact cement to make the adhesive thinner. But that can possibly affect the dry time and application of the adhesive with a spray or brush roller.

Using commercial thinner is the safest option to avoid any negative reactions or risks involved in thinning contact cement. It is recommended by the top adhesive brands.

You can easily find a commercial thinner manufactured by various brands in the market. There are also such brands that offer both contact cement and thinner.

So if you find a commercial thinner from the same brand you have bought the Cement, you must give that a priority.

Some contact cement brands only recommend their own thinner if you ever need to thin the adhesive. And in that case, you must listen to them.

Before using the thinner, read the instructions carefully came from the manufacturer. You will know the required amount of thinner that needs to be added to the adhesive. The instruction will also say how to mix the thinner into the adhesive.

Sometimes the amount of thinner varies among brands.

Bonus Tip to Thin Contact Cement

1. Do not use water for thinning the contact cement. This inexpensive way of thinning can turn your super powerful contact adhesive into a waste. But if you use a water-based content cement, you can use water.

2. Lacquer thinner is only recommended to clean contact adhesive. But using lacquer for thinning is inappropriate and will generate harmful fumes.

3. While thinning the contact adhesive, keep the tool you are going to use for the application of the adhesive in mind. Because the thickness level for a smooth application of contact adhesive is not the same for both brush and roller.

Final Words

I hope after going through this article, you have got the answers about- what is contact cement and how to thin contact cement. You will find two types of contact cement in the market. 

One is a traditional solvent-based adhesive, and another one is a water-based adhesive. Whichever you use, make sure you read the precautions mentioned in the packaging for safe use.

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