Can Hot Glue be Used on Wood – What Do You Need to Know?

Using hot glue on wood

Yes, hot glue is so versatile that it can be used on wood to make durable joints. Since it hardens quickly, it specifically works well for small crafting projects.

But you can also use it for installing windows, doors, trims, and floorings as well.

That said, it is important to know that hot glue is not suitable for large construction projects because it won’t create a strong bond with certain materials when glued with wood.

In addition, it is necessary to use the right type of hot glue so that it will adhere properly to the wood surface.

In this article, I will discuss everything you need to know about using hot glue on wood, including the different types of hot glue and their applications.

How Strong is Hot Glue?

Hot glue is typically made of a thermoplastic polymer combined with different wax, mobilizers, and tackifiers. These are the ingredients that enhance the hot glue’s adhesiveness.

Due to its excellent properties, it can be effectively used on both porous and non-porous surfaces, including wood. And the bond it creates with wood is pretty strong.

Although not as strong as wood glue that can be used for high-strength applications, hot glue still does the job for small woodworking projects. It is also a lot easier and faster to use.

For larger construction projects where you need more strength and durability, it’s good to use wood glue instead.

Or, if you only have hot glue for your wood-to-wood bonding projects, it might be possible to use it if you can support the joint made with some screws or clamps.

If the joint you make does not face much shear stress and tension, the bond can hold up pretty well on your structure without getting pulled off easily.

How to Use Hot Glue on Wood?

Now that you know hot glue works on wood and how strong the bond can be, let’s learn how you can use it.

Here are some tips:

  • Start by roughening up the wood surface with sandpaper because it will help the glue to adhere better.
  • If you’re working with an old wood surface, make sure to remove any dirt and grime before and after roughening up the surface.
  • Now, apply a thin layer of glue to one side of the wood. You can use a glue gun (like Gorilla or Elmer’s) for this purpose.
  • Place the two pieces of wood together and hold them in place until the glue sets. It can take around 30 to 60 seconds.
  • For a stronger bond, you can apply some pressure to the joint while the glue is still wet.
  • Once the glue sets, you can trim off any excess glue with a sharp knife.

Your wood joint is now ready and should be nice and strong. If you want, you can further reinforce the bond by adding some screws or nails.

Will Hot Glue Work on Painted Wood?

Generally, hot glue works on any type of interior and exterior wood surfaces, including painted and stained wood.

Upon application, hot glue will penetrate the porous surface (through the painted surface) to form a strong bond when sticking two wood surfaces together.

You should be very cautious when using hot glue on painted surfaces. The reason is that hot glue can cause the paint to peel off, especially if you’re using low-quality hot glue.

What can you do?                                                                 

The main thing is to use the right type of glue so that it will adhere to the surface.

For example, if you want to use hot glue on a painted wood surface, make sure to use a low-temperature glue gun. The low temperature will prevent the paint from melting.

If you use a high-temperature glue gun, it can melt the paint and create a mess. In addition, it is also important to roughen up the painted surface before applying the glue.

 It will help the glue to stick better, especially if the surface is polished or varnished.

The water-based or oil-based painted surface

It also helps if the surface is painted with water-based paint or stain rather than oil-based.

Because water-based paints will cover up the porous wood surfaces to a lesser extent (compared to oil-based), there is a higher chance of hot glue sticking better due to the high porosity there.

how to clean hot glue from wood?

Will Hot Glue Work on Damaged, Wet, or Rot Wood?

Well, the answer is as some of you might expect. Not all the time.

Hot glue is designed to work on a variety of surfaces; You can use it to glue wood to wood, wood to metal, wood to drywall, wood to glass, and many more, as long as the two pieces you need to bond are not heavy weight or under stress.

If the metal, glass, or wood pieces are heavy or under forces (such as gravitational pull), it may not be the best idea to use hot glue.

The same goes for wet or rotted wood. If the wood is too damaged, the hot glue might not be able to form a good bond.

The reason is that hot glue needs a porous surface to adhere to. And when the wood is wet or rotting, the porosity is no longer there. Thus, making it difficult for the hot glue to form a strong bond.

That said, you can still use hot glue on wet or damaged wood if you use the right type of hot glue.

For example, there are some waterproof hot glues that can be used on wet surfaces. These are typically used for outdoor applications where the wood is exposed to the elements.

Another excellent option is to use hot glue as a filler (on wood floors, decking, or outdoor tables).

It will work for you if you only have this available at hand. Make sure the wood is dry enough, clean, and free of any debris before you put the hot glue.

A much better hot glue alternative for fixing the damaged wood is epoxy resin. Epoxy resin is a two-part glue that can be used on wet or damaged surfaces.

It will form a stronger bond than hot glue, making it ideal for applications where you need a stronger hold.

A few other substitutes for hot glue also include Krazy Gule, Liquid Nails, Gorilla Glue, Spray adhesive, PVA glue, and cyanoacrylate glue.

You might be able to use them depending on the application and project you’re working on.

And How Can You Remove Hot Glue from Wood – Will it be Easy?

If you have mistakenly applied hot glue on a wood surface or if there’s a need to remove the old layer – removing hot glue from wood is not difficult.

The good news is that hot glue is not permanent (unless it has dried and hardened for at least 12 hours), and in most cases, you can remove it by heating it with a heat gun or hair dryer.

The heat will soften the glue, making it easy to peel off.

Another way to remove hot glue is to use a putty knife or razor blade. Gently scrape off the glue with the putty knife.

If the glue is still difficult to remove, you can use acetone or nail polish remover.

Dip a cotton ball in acetone or nail polish remover and apply it to the glue. Let it sit for a few minutes before trying to scrape it off.


What materials does hot glue not stick to?

Hot glue will generally not stick to extremely smooth surfaces like varnished wood, metal, vinyl, wax, silicone, or greasy and wet surfaces.

To make hot glue stick better to these surfaces, you can roughen them up first with sandpaper or a file.

Another way is to use a primer designed for hot glue. This will help the hot glue form a stronger surface bond.

How long will it take for hot glue to cure fully?

Hot glue dries very fast and starts to create a bond between 5 to 10 minutes. It, however, takes longer for the glue to fully cure, which is about 24 hours.

After this time is passed, its strength will be at its peak, and it’s very hard to remove or detach the bonded surfaces.

That said, if the surfaces are under shear stress, you can unhook them with little force.

What are the different types of hot glue available on the market?

Hot glue is generally available in two forms: sticks and pellets. The sticks are long and narrow, while the pellets are small and round.

The type of hot glue you use will depend on the project you’re working on. For example, if you’re working on a small project (like paper boxes, cartons, crafts, or toy repair), you might want to use the melt adhesive.

The pellets are adhesives with a granular appearance. These are easier to control and less messy than the sticks.

If you’re working on a larger project (such as gluing MDF or plywood boards), you might want to use the hot melt glue sticks.

The sticks are cylindrical in shape with about 7mm or 11mm diameters. They will give you more glue to work with and help you avoid running out of glue.

Final Thoughts

Hot glue can be a great way to fix wood temporarily. It’s easy to use and dries quickly.

Especially for smaller projects such as crafts, toys, and paper boxes where you do not need that much stronger strength, hot glue tends to be the best choice for fixing up things.

That said, hot glue is not the best long-term solution for construction or structural purposes like holding beams, fences, or other heavy lumber together.

For these applications, you’re better off using another adhesive like epoxy resin or construction adhesive.

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