When you hear the phrase, “wall adhesive” you may have a certain image come to mind.
For example, perhaps you’re thinking of construction adhesive that comes in a tube or caulking-type container. Maybe your mind goes to 3M strips, or perhaps you’re more inclined to picture double-sided tape.
The truth is, these are all examples of heavy duty wall adhesives and they all serve a purpose within the home. In this article, our goal is to provide a wide range of options that are highly rated for effectiveness and overall customer satisfaction.
What to Look For in Wall Adhesives
Not all wall adhesives are created equal. In order to find the right one for your situation, read the packaging carefully and consider the following characteristics.
The primary consideration is how the wall adhesive is applied to the wall. It can be a liquid, a tape, a glue, or another type of adhesive.
Some are applied with a caulking gun, but the majority are simply pressed into place. Some are squeezed onto the surface like other types of glue.
Also on the packaging, you’ll find the type of applications the wall adhesive is suited for. Pay attention to what type of surfaces the product sticks to. Plastic, plaster, wallpaper, drywall, and wood may all produce different adhesion results.
Also consider the long-term goals for the item you’re wanting to hang. If you think you’ll be moving it at some point, you may want to use a removable wall adhesive, such as 3M strips.
If you need it to remain in place for the foreseeable future, you’ll want to go with a heavy duty adhesive intended for that purpose.
When scouring through the options, many wall adhesive companies will promote the flexibility of the material. While this does mean it can stretch, it also represents a performance feature.
A highly flexible tape maintains its adhesion even when the object moves. Think of the bobblehead or cellphone holder on your dash. With all that vibration, the flexibility of the mounting material is critical.
However, it may not be as critical for your application--say mounting a reading light above your bed.
The opposite of flexibility is hardness. Those adhesives with a high hardness level are rated from 1-100. For some applications you may seek out an adhesive with a high hardness level instead of a low one, if you need to sand the surface, for example.
While most of the time your adhesive won’t show, you’ll need to consider it before your purchase. If it will show along the sides, choose your color carefully based on the item you’ll be hanging.
For example, if you’re mounting a clear plexiglass container, the tape, strip, or mounting square will be visible from the front so you’ll want it to be invisible. In this case you’d choose a clear adhesive rather than a white one.
Heat and Sun Resistance
You’ve likely seen adhesives that have been damaged by exposure to sunlight. This is of particular concern if your application is outdoors, although a location indoors next to a sunny window can also raise red flags.
Ensure the adhesive you choose can stand up to the UV exposure that causes yellowing and drying of the adhesive material.
One of the most easily identifiable categories to help you pick the right wall adhesive for the job is the weight rating. Look at the packaging to identify the intended weight capacity.
For keys, you may only need to support a few pounds. On the other hand, if you’re hanging a mirror you may need to support 15 or 20 pounds.
Unless you’re managing an episode of While You Were Out, you’ve probably got time to allow your adhesives to properly set.
It’s important to understand how adhesive tapes work. Although they do have a sticky surface, the glue beneath the surface is what creates a strong bond. In order for the tape to maximize its strength capacity, glue leaks out and covers the connecting surfaces.
For most products, full adhesion takes a day or more. 72 hours is common. If you need a product with quick adhesion, read packaging carefully. While most only need to be held in place for 30 seconds or so, note that is mounting time, which is different from adhesion/cure time.
Material You’re Hanging
In addition to considering whether the wall adhesive will adhere to the wall material, you need to consider what material you’ll be mounting to the wall.
For example, if you’re mounting a coat rack, it might be plastic, metal, or wood. A power strip will likely be plastic. Utensil hangers and picture frames could be metal, wood, or plastic too.
If you’re looking at a construction project, such as mounting wall panels, you’ll be looking for an adhesive that will secure them into place. Even though that’s a heavier task, the same rules apply. Match the product with your wall and wall panel materials.
Speaking of construction projects, the Gorilla brand is well renowned for its strength in a variety of applications. This heavy duty construction adhesive comes in a one-pack or a six pack and is basically a foam that is rated for indoor or outdoor use.
It can be used on wood, drywall, ceramic, tile, concrete, paneling, trim, and more. Note that it is not effective for plastic.
The substance is highly water resistant and offers a quick bond in less than a minute (work fast!) with a full cure in 24 hours. It’s also paintable.
This product works a little differently. Rather than being a liquid, squeezable glue, the product adheres the glue to the back of the VELCRO so it stays in place. The other side of the VELCRO is attached to the item you wish to hang and the power of the VELCRO holds it together.
This is a great solution for spaces where items are frequently removed, yet benefit from a home station. For example, a spot for a mail or restroom key, name badge, TV remote, or wall decorations.
This product is intended for smooth surfaces and is removable without damage to the wall.
This product works in the same way as VELCRO with a heavy duty adhesive on the back of both sides. It’s strong yet easily removable. With a width of two inches, it’s intended to hold larger items like pictures without damaging the wall with screws or nails.
The tape roll is six feet long and will adhere to metal, glass, or plastic. Use it to attach the squeegee or towel hooks in the bathroom, cables, and routers in the office, and cleaning supplies in the laundry room. The brand is True Decor and it’s earned an average five-star rating on Amazon from dozens of users.
This is a double-sided tape that provides quick mounting capabilities for a wide variety of surfaces. It sticks to glass, metal, plastic, tile, wood, marble, ceramic, fiberglass, and other smooth surfaces.
It is not recommended for wet surfaces, wallpaper, painted surfaces, or rough surfaces. However, when well adhered, it’s rated to hold 18 pounds. This is another option for avoiding screws and nails while mounting items to your walls.
Mount vases, lighting, electronics, bathroom organizational tools, and more. The tape roll is a little over one inch wide and comes in two lengths. Since it’s a roll, you can cut pieces to the size you need rather than relying on predetermined strips.
Rather than a thin tape, this product is slightly thicker and is designed to adhere to rough surfaces like brick, cement, and stucco.
It’s waterproof and moisture proof so it won’t loosen when wet. That also means it can be used in the bathroom, laundry room, and other wet areas, as well as outdoor spaces and industrial settings.
‘Sticking’ with tape selections, we’re back to Gorilla products with its version of double sided tape, specifically formulated for wall surfaces.
This is a broad spectrum solution for an array of mounting needs. Gorilla heavy duty double sided mounting tape can be used on smooth or rough surfaces indoors or outdoors. With a rating of one pound per two inches, a strip can hold up to sixty pounds of weight.
That leaves a lot of flexibility for hanging mirrors, artwork, coat hangers, tool boards, and many other items.
Note that items should measure less than three-quarters of an inch in depth (amount that sticks out from the wall).
Also be aware this is a permanent product, meaning it will likely cause damage to the wall if removed. It’s not the ideal solution for rentals or temporary placement, but rather a great option for other permanent applications.
It’s a recognizable name for a reason. 3M produces a ton of products, but when it comes to wall adhesives, the name is consistent with solutions for hooks and mounting
The 3M foam tape is no exception. Thinner than many others on the market, it measures only .4 inches in width and .88mm in thickness.
This makes it the perfect solution for mounting strands of LED lights, posters, signage, or small artwork. After 72 hours to fully cure, the manufacturer claims viscosity that can support heavy objects at three pounds per inch.
The 3M foam tape is intended for clean and smooth surfaces, but can be used on ceramic, glass, tile, marble, wood, plastic, metal, and more.
It’s not suggested for wallpaper, fabrics, textured walls, brick, and other rough and non-stick surfaces.
This less recognizable brand has earned 4.5 stars in customer reviews. This variety pack includes 60 pre-cut squares, 60 rounds, and 20 strips, creating a tool box of adhesive options.
Each pad holds over three pounds and the tape works on smooth and semi-smooth surfaces. Once adhered, the pads are waterproof, temperature resistant, and easy to remove with no remaining residue.
Everyone remembers Krazy Glue, right? Who hasn’t glued their fingers together at least once? The same brand offers an adhesive for walls that is a double-sided mounting tape.
The standout feature of the krAzy mounting tape is the tab overlap that makes the peel-back layer easy to remove. If you struggle to get a thumbnail beneath the edge of standard double-stick tapes, this is a solution you can apply with ease.
Like other tapes, it’s installed without any tools and eliminates the need for any hardware such as screws and nails. Once in place, the krAzy tape can support up to 48 pounds of weight at a rate of two pounds per pre-cut piece.
The pieces are sizes to one-inch by two-inches so you can use as many as needed for your specific task. The pieces are waterproof so they are suitable for indoor or outdoor applications.
This is an Amazon best seller that has earned a 4.5-star average rating from nearly 86,000 customers. That’s a lot of wall adhesion.
This tape is intended for use on any smooth surface indoors or outdoors, such as glass, plastic, metal, marble, ceramic, and more. It is not the best choice for peeling or wet surfaces, or painted wall material.
It’s rated to hold up to 18 pounds at a rate of one pound per four inches.
This is a removable product, although the manufacturer warns it may remove painted finishes on walls. Upon removal it’s also reusable. It leaves no sticky residue behind so it’s safe for a wide variety of applications.
You can use this tape to adhere posters, picture frames, flower pots, plastic containers, magnetic strips, hooks, electrical components, and more.
With the massive amount of options available, finding the right wall adhesive means evaluating your specific project needs and knowing what to look for in the products. Learn more about adhesives in our articles Applying Adhesive Caulk and 5 Tips for Removing Spray Adhesives.