Whether you need to fix a broken ceramic vase or bond two metal surfaces together, super glue is strong enough to work with many common materials. But would it still work perfectly when exposed to moisture and water? In this article, you’ll learn whether it’s waterproof or not.
Super glue isn’t waterproof because it doesn’t dissolve in water like other types of adhesives. Instead, it’s considered water-resistant. That means it can resist water penetration to a certain degree and continue functioning.
Keep on reading to get an in-depth explanation of why super glue isn’t waterproof. Is there a possibility it will become waterproof once dry? If yes, what are the best waterproof super glues on the market?
Is Super Glue Waterproof Once Dry?
There’s still a lot of confusion and misconception about whether or not super glue is waterproof. Probably one of the reasons for this is that people use “water-resistant” and “waterproof” interchangeably.
Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof: What’s the Difference?
So, let’s define these two terms before answering this question: is super glue waterproof when dry?
Between the two, water-resistant offers the least level of water protection. When something’s labeled as water-resistant, it simply means that it can prevent water from seeping through a structure or substance for a certain amount of time.
In the case of structural adhesives, a water-resistant adhesive can withstand occasional exposure to water and humidity. You don’t want to use water-resistant adhesives in critical situations (e.g., patching a water tank), wherein they’ll be in constant contact with water or humidity.
On the other hand, if something’s waterproof, it can completely stop water from getting inside of it, regardless of how much time it’s exposed to water. However, this doesn’t mean it won’t ever face water damage in certain situations.
Waterproof adhesives are usually suitable for constant direct contact with water or other liquids.
You might need this adhesive to seal a water tank, fix a fish tank, etc.
Wait for the Super Glue to Harden and Fully Cure
And with that out of the way, let’s go back to the question: Is super glue waterproof? The answer is yes and no. It could maintain its adhesive strength if you wait to harden and fully cure before submerging it in water.
However, its adhesive strength will not last long if it’s constantly in contact with water. It’ll eventually break down, which in turn causes the pieces it joined together to break apart.
Is Bostik Super Glue Waterproof?
According to the website of Bostik Super Glue, it’s neither waterproof nor water-resistant. If it’s submerged in water, the cured bond will slowly soften and dissolve over time.
Is Loctite Super Glue Waterproof?
How about other brands of super glue? Is Loctite super glue waterproof? Loctite Super Glue is water-resistant once fully cured (around 30 minutes after application).
To a certain extent, it can withstand humid environments and might even retain most of its initial strength when submerged in a liquid for extended periods (around 100 hours or longer).
Is Gorilla Super Glue Waterproof?
Is Gorilla super glue waterproof? You can use it to bond various materials, including the following:
- Rubber, and
- Most types of plastics.
However, like Loctite Super Glue, it’s a water-resistant, super glue. The Gorilla Glue Company website doesn’t recommend consumers use their products for projects with aquatic life.
What Super Glue Will Hold Up Well Underwater?
Super Glue Gel Can Hold Up Well While Immersed in Water
Fortunately, there are specialty super glues that you can safely use for projects that might be submerged in water. They’re not waterproof, but they can cure and stay strong while immersed in water for a certain period.
The super glue you want to use for this purpose is called super glue gel, also known as cyanoacrylate (CA) gel.
Standard Super Glue Vs. Super Glue Gel
A standard super glue behaves like a liquid, while the super glue gel behaves more like solids. Both forms of super glue dry fast to create a strong adhesive bond.
Super glue gels don’t drip or run because of their thick formula. Therefore, they’re the best choice for porous and vertical surfaces. Liquid super glues are more suitable for penetrating and filling cracks or fractures.
Aquarium or fish enthusiasts often use the gel form to repair or glue down anything in their aquarium—artificial rocks, aquatic plants, and other decorations.
Best Aquarium-safe Super Glue Gels
Below are some of the best aquarium-safe super glue gels that you can try:
1. Gorilla Super Glue Gel
Can Quickly Bond to Different Materials
The solid adhesive formula of the Gorilla Super Glue Gel allows it to quickly bond to different materials, such as:
- Majority of plastics.
Can Hold Up in the Rain
Also, it can hold up in the rain but might crack and weaken when constantly exposed to sunlight.
Convenient and Clean to Use
It’s also convenient and clean to use. It comes with an anti-clog cap to make it easier for you to open it after every use.
Warning: Be extra careful where you point the nozzle to prevent your fingers from getting glued to the objects you’re trying to bond. The Gorilla Super Glue Gel dries as fast as 10 to 45 seconds.
2. Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel Control
Features a Patented Side-squeeze Bottle Design
The Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel Control features a patented side-squeeze bottle design. This design gives you more control over how much glue comes out of the bottle for a mess-free and precise application.
Works Well on Non-porous and Porous Surfaces
The no-drip formula of the Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel Control works well on both non-porous and porous surfaces, such as:
- Chipboard cork
- Hard plastics (e.g., polycarbonate, polystyrene, and PVC)
Not Suitable for the Following Materials
But if you’re working on the following materials, it’s not the best option for you:
- Bone china
- Foam rubber
- Glossy surfaces
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (used as a non-stick coating for cookware)
- Polyethylene (used for grocery bags, squeeze bottles, and toys)
- Polypropylene (used for plastic packaging, fibers, and textiles)
- Silicone rubber
- Projects that require high flexibility
Again, is super glue waterproof? Super glue is not waterproof, but it is water-resistant. This means it is still functional even after water exposure.
3. Gorilla Glue Super Glue Precise Gel
Convenient and Hygienic
The Gorilla Glue Super Glue Precise Gel is convenient and hygienic because it’s in a tube. And because it’s in a tube, you can squeeze out every last drop of adhesive gel. But if you haven’t used up all of it, seal it with the anti-clog cap to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
Can Glue Together Different Materials
This is specially formulated to glue together different materials, including:
Takes 10 to 45 Seconds to Dry
It takes 10 to 45 seconds to dry and form a strong bond without clamping. Since the cured color is clear, it offers a clean finish if you apply it correctly.
When using the Gorilla Glue Super Glue Precise Gel, ensure the temperature is room temperature. It requires service temperatures ranging from -65°F to 220°F (-54°C to 104°C) to maintain optimal adhesion.
4. Loctite Super Glue Gel Tube
Has a Twist-on Cap That Pierces the Tube
The Loctite Super Glue Gel Tube has a twist-on cap that pierces the tube. This makes it easier to use without the pain of dealing with the other mess while opening or applying it.
Contains Enough for a Single Project
It contains just enough adhesive content for a single bonding project. This prevents you from feeling like you’ve just wasted your money on a 3/4 dried-up tube of super glue gel.
Available in Different Sizes
It’s available in these sizes:
- Two tubes, 2 grams each
- Two tubes, 3 grams each
- Three tubes, 1 gram each
- 18 grams
Forms a Powerful Bond to Different Materials
It’s a good product that’s reasonably priced. It forms a powerful bond to a variety of materials, including the following:
- Costume jewelry
- Hard plastics (e.g., PVC)
- Rubber seals
Can Resist Freezing Temperatures, Moisture, and More
In addition, it’s able to resist freezing temperatures, moisture, and most chemicals.
Takes Around 15 to 30 Seconds to Set and Dry
This is a quick-dry superglue gel. It only takes around 15 to 30 seconds to set and dry clear. According to most consumers, it doesn’t dry so fast that you end up gluing your fingers to an object. But despite this, you should still be careful and allow it to dry overnight.
5. The Original Super Glue Cyanoacrylate Gel
Safe for Fish and Aquatic Plants
Many people use the Original Super Glue Cyanoacrylate Gel as an adhesive for their aquarium plants and decorations. It’s entirely safe for fish and aquatic plants.
Tips Before Using The Original Super Glue
If you’re going to use it for your aquarium, keep the following things in mind:
- Ensure that your plant’s decoration or roots are dry before applying them.
- Wait for 1 to 2 minutes after application before submerging it in water.
- Use only a tiny amount, so it doesn’t stop the roots of your aquatic plants from absorbing water and nutrients.
Setting and Curing Time
According to the manufacturer, it has a setting time of 10 to 30 seconds and a curing time of 24 hours. Note if its operating temperature ranges from -65°F to 180°F (-54°C to 82°C).
Based on some customer reviews, it’s not as dense as advertised. However, it’s still easy to control the content.
Works Great on Other Materials
The Original Super Glue Cyanoacrylate Gel isn’t just for aquarium decorations and plants. It also works great on:
- Wood (hard or soft)
- And most plastics
Super Glue – History and Purpose
Dr. Harry Coover Accidentally Invented Eastman 910
The mind behind super glue is Dr. Harry Coover. He accidentally invented “Eastman 910,” which we all know today as Super Glue, during World War II (1942). Dr. Coover and his team during that time were trying to find a way to make a clear plastic for gun sights for soldiers.
They were working on a chemical known as cyanoacrylate, which they soon found challenging to work with because it’s incredibly sticky. So, they decided not to use it and moved on with their research.
Found Many Applications Due to Cyanoacrylate’s Fast-acting Adhesive Properties
In 1951, Dr. Coover was transferred to the Kodak chemical plant in Kingsport, Tennessee. He rediscovered cyanoacrylate and found many applications for it because of its fast-acting adhesive properties.
Eastman 910 Became Commonly Known as Super Glue
His company started marketing it as “Eastman 910” in 1958. Later on, it was more commonly known as “Super Glue.”
Works on Different Materials
Super glue is also known by its industrial name, cyanoacrylate glue. It’s a quick-bonding adhesive that works on a variety of materials, including:
Doesn’t Adhere Well to Plastic, Wet Surfaces, and More
However, it doesn’t adhere well to plastic (polypropylene and polyethylene), rubbers with oily surfaces or containing plasticizers, and surfaces that are porous, smooth, or wet.
Soluble in Acetone
While traditional adhesives are water-based, superglue mainly consists of an acrylic monomer called cyanoacrylate. When cured, an acrylic monomer quickly turns into plastic and will easily dissolve when you apply a strong solvent, such as acetone.
Bond Well to Surfaces That Aren’t Extremely Dry and Acidic
Cyanoacrylate glues, such as super glue, will only bond well to surfaces that aren’t extremely dry and acidic. The molecules in these glues trigger a chemical reaction when they come in contact with moisture.
As a result, it forms tight chains between the surfaces of the objects you’re going to join and eventually hardens to create a solid and durable bond.
Takes About 8 to 24 Hours to Cure Fully
Usually, you shouldn’t disturb the joint for around 10 minutes, depending on the material you’re working with. Cyanoacrylate glues will usually take about 8 to 24 hours to cure fully.
Conclusion – Is Super Glue Waterproof?
Are super glues waterproof? Not really. They can withstand occasional exposure to moisture and water up to certain levels. However, they’re going to lose their adhesive strength eventually.
Is super glue heat resistant? It can cure and form strong bonds within a specific temperature range but is not entirely resistant to heat. Most super glues aren’t designed for outdoor use because of harsh weather elements, like ultraviolet rays, which can compromise their effectiveness.
If you need a super glue for your aquarium or other underwater projects, there are specialty super glues, precisely the gel type, that you can use for that purpose.
Their adhesive strength isn’t permanent, but it does take a lot of time before it completely wears down. Plus, they’re usually non-toxic to aquatic animals and plants.