What Surfaces Does Gorilla Glue Work on? | Complete Guide


Gorilla Glue is one of those things that comes along where we wonder how we lived without it before. However, I have often wondered whether it actually will work on any surface. So, I looked into the matter and decided to share my findings with you.

Gorilla Glue works on virtually any properly prepared surface. However, while the original formula is supposed to work on all surfaces, they have other products with more specialized features and purposes. It is best to purchase the Gorilla Glue product specifically designed for your particular job.

The rest of the article will cover how Gorilla Glue will work on surfaces as well as answer common questions that people ask about the product.

What Gorilla Glue Can Be Used On

The original formula is a polyurethane (PUR) adhesive. The base for it is polyether or polyester, and it falls into the category of expanding glues.

PUR glues have been the industry standard in woodworking and bookbinding since the 80s and are even used in body armor manufacturing today.

Why Is Gorilla Glue Called Expanding Glue?

Gorilla Glue is called expanding blue because it bubbles up and expands as it dries. This feature is actually quite beneficial since it allows the glue to spread into crevices and create a more stable bond.

On the other hand, this also means that it will spill and bubble out, so get ready to do some sanding and touch-ups once you’re done. At the same time, while Gorilla Glue claims that it can bond on all surfaces, a quick check with your fingernail is an excellent way to test this. If you can scratch it off, the glue probably won’t have much of an effect.

Does Gorilla Glue Really Work On Anything?

Gorilla Glue works on anything. The original formula is suitable for all surfaces, and the brand also features specialized types of glue for all kinds of jobs. But keep in mind that the longevity and the effectiveness of each bond will depend on the nature of the surface (smooth vs. porous).

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Plastic?

The original Gorilla Glue formula is not suitable for plastic, but Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy is specifically designed to work on most types of plastic.

Finding a suitable glue for plastic is often straightforward. Look for the triangle marking with the number inside. For numbers 1 and 6, choose epoxy glue. For numbers 2, 3, and 5, you can either choose epoxy or super glue. Plastics marked with 4 are very slippery, and glue is not recommended.

Recycled plastic is a tricky one since it’s rarely appropriately marked, and you can’t know what it’s precisely made from. It’s safe to assume that glue will not be suitable in most of these cases.

To use the glue, wipe the surface clean of dirt and oil, then follow the instruction from the packet of the product you’ve chosen. There will be no need for clamps in most cases, but some pressure (in the form of weights) will be required.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Fabric?

Gorilla Glue can be used on fabric; just make sure you pick the clear glue or the fabric glue. The original formula might make the fabric stick, but it is not going to give you a pretty finish.

The Gorilla Fabric Glue is used the same way as any other fabric glues available on the market. You can use it to apply patches or rhinestones, as well as create seams and hems. The clear glue is only suitable for appliques.

Though both tend to be waterproof and have a decent amount of heat tolerance, it’s better to hand wash treated items or on a cold water cycle in the washing machine. If the design uses a lot of rhinestones and other 3D objects, make sure to use a garment bag and turn the item inside out.

If the glue was used for hemming or embroidered patches and appliques, you can tumble dry the item. But in the case of stones and pearls, dry the item by laying it flat across the drying rack.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Glass?

Gorilla Clear Glue is perfect for glass. It will provide a strong hold while staying invisible. But if you’re planning to glue said glass to wood and possibly expose it to elements, a silicone adhesive may be a better choice.

The main advantage of Gorilla Glue is that it dries clear and is water-activated. It will not leave behind a sticky residue like silicone or epoxy will do. You can also see that it doesn’t stain the glass, which means it’s perfect for surface safety if you plan on using the glass for food or drinks.

When using the clear glue, prep the surface by wiping it clean and then moisten with a bit of water (the glue is water-activated), apply some pressure for at least 1 hour, and leave for a day to cure for best and long-lasting effects.

Gorilla Glue has other applications besides glass-to-glass! It can also attach glass to wood, plastic, and metal. The Glue comes in a tube with a handy applicator tip that’s easy to apply and clean.

Pro Tip: You can use Gorilla Glue on glass, but it’s not the best idea to glue glass to wood for an outdoor project because the wood will eventually deteriorate. If you want to glue glass to wood, invest in an epoxy.

Some tips to get the best results with the Gorilla Glue on glass:

  • Use a damp clean cloth to remove any dirt or dust from the surface before gluing.
  • To minimize air bubbles, do not spread too much glue at one time.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Metal?

Gorilla Glue can be used on metal, but the original formula may not be the best choice in all cases. The superglue and epoxies will work better, but they will not be waterproof. The epoxy glue is a must if you are gluing metal to glass.

If you are attaching metal to metal, you will have to sand the surfaces a bit to create some texture (so there will be something for the glue to cling to).

Both the original and clear formula will work great when you are using them with rubber and wood, while you will need to figure out what type of plastic you’re working with before choosing your glue.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Wood?

Original Gorilla Glue can be used on wood. However, the company offers specialty wood glue that is best if you specifically buy it to use on wood.

If you want to use the original formula to repairs splinters or wood that’s broken in half, you will need to start by cleaning the area thoroughly with a regular (clean) paintbrush. Remove all dirt before you proceed with glue application.

Once you’ve applied to glue, try to keep the clamps or weight on for longer than the initial 1 hour – wood is very porous, and there may be some hidden moisture inside that will affect drying time. Not to mention, this will ensure a stronger hold in the end. Once the glue is cured, sand down the excess glue with sanding paper and finish with paint or varnish as desired.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Rubber?

The original formula is not recommended for any type of rubber with high oil or plasticizer content. If you need to, you can pick either the Gorilla superglue or a silicone-based formula.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Ceramics?

Gorilla Glue can be used on ceramics. In fact, almost every type of Gorilla Glue from the lineup will be perfect for the job, with the Original Gorilla Glue leading the pack.

Expanding glues are perfect for fixing broken ceramics since they can compensate for those tiny particles that turn into dust after breakage. That means that you can get a perfect joint in anything from roof tiles to pottery.

When gluing ceramics, take out a moderately soft brush and brush away any leftover dust and debris. Don’t worry if it eats a bit at the surface because the glue will fill it all back up. If you’re repairing pottery, work one section at a time so you can apply pressure more effectively.

When the glue is cured correctly, take a razor and shave off all the glue that leaked out. You can also use a melamine sponge instead of sanding paper to smooth the surface.

Can I Use Original Gorilla Glue for Kintsugi?

Original Gorilla Glue should not be used for Kintsugi. Epoxy formulas are better suited for this job. However, you can fake it by painting over the seam and exposed (sanded) glue with some gold paint.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Stone?

Gorilla Glue will work on stone. The original formula is suitable for both minor repairs of stone elements in your interior or garden, as well as gluing stones to other surfaces. Just follow the same tips from the previous sections for the best results.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Leather?

Gorilla glue can be used on leather, but the type of glue you choose will dictate how it will behave after (i.e., will it be pliable or stiff). The Original Gorilla Glue will work, but it will make the leather stiff. Pick superglue or the clear formula for a quick shoe or bag repair, but fabric glue is a better option for leatherwork.

Don’t use the original formula on anything marked as PU, leather, vegan leather, etc.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on a PVC Pipe?

While Gorilla Glue may actually hold PVC pipe together, it is not recommended for any PVC product. However, the company offers a product called Gorilla Glue PVC cement that is better suited for that job.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Styrofoam?

Gorilla Glue works well on styrofoam. Styrofoam and expanding glues are a match made in Heaven since they are both essentially foam. Think of it how both thread and fabric work well together since they are both made from fibers.

You can pretty much use the glue directly without any special prep – just brush off any dirt or debris. But if you plan to use styrofoam sheets for heat or noise isolation, it’s better to go for a construction adhesive.

Can I Use Gorilla Glue on Vinyl?

It is not recommended that Gorilla Glue be used on vinyl. Vinyl is the same stuff as PVC, and Original Gorilla Glue is not suitable for it. A silicone, epoxy, super glue, or even the clear version would be a better choice.

Pro Tips for Preparing Every Surface for Glueing

If you have handled the object you want to glue with your bare hands, you will transfer some of the natural skin oils onto it. Depending on your skin type (or how much hand cream you use), you may transfer a significant amount of oil onto the surface, which may compromise the bond.

One word – acetone. It wipes away oil from surfaces better than most specialty solutions. You can pick up some for cheap at any drugstore, but just remember to skip the fancy stuff with added oils and vitamins.

How Much Weight Can Gorilla Glue Hold?

Gorilla Glue has been shown to hold up to approximately 30lbs. This number will be affected by the type of surface and how it was prepared before gluing.

The tapes clear up to 15lbs of weight when used properly, while you can expect an average performance from their non-heavy duty offerings.

How Long Does It Take Clear Gorilla Glue to Dry?

Gorilla Glue will dry after only 1 hour, but it will take 24 hours for it to cure and create a strong bond.

This essentially means that you can remove clamps or weight from the glued surface or object after 1 hour (which is quite useful if you’re trying to repair something that gets scratched or damaged easily). Still, you will have to leave it for a whole day for the best possible results. However, you should keep some pressure on for the entire 24 hours to ensure a seamless bond.

That being said, some of the other products from the lineup may take only minutes, i.e., the fabric glue or the spray adhesive.

How Can I Get Gorilla Glue to Dry Out Faster?

You can’t do anything to change the amount of time it takes for Gorilla Glue to create a bond. If you’re in a big hurry, you will have to pick another product from their line or go to another brand.

Generic super glue may help in an emergency and hold the fort just long enough until you can find the time to repair the item correctly.

Does Heat Affect Gorilla Glue?

Gorilla Glue can handle heat up to 200F, but prolonged exposure will weaken the bond.

Is Clear Gorilla Glue Heat Resistant?

Gorilla Glue is somewhat heat resistant, but it has a lower heat resistance than many other types of glue at 180F.

How to Remove Original Gorilla Glue From a Surface

If you’ve made a mistake and Gorilla Glue is still runny, you can try wiping it with a dry cloth or use a paint thinner when it’s still tacky. If the glue is dry, you will have to use sanding paper to remove Gorilla Glue altogether.

If you are trying to remove the glue from a more delicate surface, you can switch to a melamine sponge for the last portion of the job.

Will I Be Ok if I Get Gorilla Glue All Over Myself?

While just having Gorilla Glue on your skin will likely not cause any permanent harm, you should not let it set anywhere on your skin. Use gloves when handling, and in case that it ends up on your skin anyway, remove with a damp cloth while it’s still runny or tacky.

Always use glue in a well-ventilated area, and some eye protection will not hurt. In case that your eyes or mouth come in contact with the glue, call 1-800-420-7186 to reach the company’s product safety team or call your healthcare provider.

Is Gorilla Super Glue Waterproof?

Gorilla Glue is waterproof, but in the same way that your watch is waterproof. As in, you can expose it to water, but you can’t go diving with it.

Several Gorilla Glue items are marked as 100% waterproof, but that only means that the bond will survive in the rain or case of a spill. Bonds should be able to endure regular outdoors elements as other moderately humid conditions (i.e., bathroom counters).

Is Gorilla Super Glue Safe for Aquariums?

Gorilla Glue should do fine for quick and temporary repairs on aquariums or items that are not going to be put under a lot of stress (i.e., DIY decorations). But, prolonged exposure to water will eventually break down the bond.

Original Gorilla Glue performs better than most of its competitors, but if you need to repair something like the broken glass, you will need to take it to the shop.

What Is the Best Waterproof Glue?

The best waterproof glues are Loctite Marine Epoxy and MarineWeld glue. These brands are well known and usually the ones pros go for.

In the Gorilla collection, it’s the original formula. But if you’re trying to glue something underwater, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Can You Use Gorilla Glue Outside?

Original Gorilla Glue is outdoor-friendly, whereas Gorilla Superglue is not.

What’s the Difference Between the Super and Original Gorilla Glue Formulas?

The original Gorilla Glue formula is a good all-rounder, and, unlike the Gorilla Superglue, it can handle any environment. But, the super formula creates a stronger bond that is more impact-resistant.

If you are trying to make a quick decision, the superglue is better for fixing tools or shoes, while the original formula is better for furniture and other house repair jobs.

Are Gorilla Hot Glue Sticks and Gorilla School Glue Better Than Their Generic Counterparts?

Gorilla Glue Hot Sticks and Gorilla School Glue are not better than the generic versions. In this case, it seems like you are only paying for the branding. The school glue may be roughly the same price as Elmer’s, but none of them perform that much better than each other.

They are made from the same thing no matter who you buy them from, so it’s better to buy them in bulk and without a brand name attached.

Their hot glue gun is quite reliable and safe, though.

Is Original Gorilla Glue a Good Substitute For All Other Specialized Types of Glue?

Original Gorilla Glue is a good substitute for all other specialized types of glue but only up to a certain point. You may not need to stock a separate product for leather or wood, but you’ll need something more substantial for construction purposes.

Also, this stuff is not something you would want to give to your kids when they are playing with glitter or making Christmas cards. And since it’s an expanding glue, it’s not suitable for attaching embellishments to clothes.

How to Properly Store Gorilla Glue

To properly store Gorilla Glue, keep it away from heat and open flame, ideally in a cool, dry, and dark area.

Wipe the opening and the lid to prevent them from sticking to each other. If you’re dealing with a 4-ounce or bigger bottle, try to expel as much excess air as possible. Always check if the lid is firmly closed to prevent the glue from drying out.

How Long Will Gorilla Glue Keep Before Drying Out or Losing Effectiveness?

For best results, use Gorilla Glue within 12 months after breaking the seal. As long as the glue doesn’t dry out, it’s still good to go. If stored properly, it can stay good for several years.

Bottom Line

As you can see, Gorilla Glue truly does work on just about anything. While there are a few specialty and plumbing projects you should save for a more specialized type of glue, the Gorilla is best for virtually any of your normal everyday projects.

I hope this article has been helpful. For more, don’t miss The Best Substitute for Plumbers Tape | With 3 Alternatives.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)- Main photo courtesy of Mike Mozart

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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