Just because your favorite figurine, smartphone screen, or windshield is damaged doesn’t mean you have to replace it. Instead, you can glue it using specially manufactured glues that effectively repair chipped or broken glass. Here’s how to glue glass back together quickly.
First, pick the right glue for the task. Clean both pieces with soap and water, then dry them with a clean cloth. Apply glue along one of the broken edges, press the pieces together and allow the glue to set. Shave away any excess glue with a razor blade and clean the glass piece.
Depending on the type and function of the glass, different adhesives are available that can repair glass and save you a couple of bucks on replacement costs. So let’s jump into the details and find out how to pick the suitable glue for the job and how to repair your broken glass piece.
How to Choose Your Glue
Picking the right glass glue is the best way to avoid headaches while fixing your broken glass valuables. Here are a few things that can help you determine the most suitable glass repair glue:
Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
Whether the broken glass is outdoors or indoors significantly impacts the type of glue that best fits the repair.
For an outdoor repair, confirm that the adhesive can handle harsh conditions such as extreme temperatures, exposure to water, and direct sunlight.
An epoxy or silicone adhesive is more likely to hold up against water and ultra-high temperatures like the kind windshields experience.
When the glue achieves a maximum bond with the material, it’s cured. Some adhesives harden and cure almost instantly, while others can take several days to bond fully.
If you’ve ever super glued your fingers together, you can attest that cyanoacrylates cure nearly instantly.
Epoxies can take up to an entire week to cure, so they may not be ideal for a quick glass repair job. Silicone, though, can cure as fast as 24 hours or a few days, depending on the thickness of the material you’re repairing.
Bond strength usually determines an adhesive’s ability to withstand stress. Glass requires different types of bond strengths in different applications.
For instance, if you’ve repaired windshield glass, the adhesive will be exposed to more stress than that on glass in a picture frame because the windshield experiences higher levels of wind pressure.
Some glues are waterproof, while others are water-resistant. Superglues are typically water-resistant since the glue bonds to hydroxyl ions in water. However, continued exposure to moisture eventually deteriorates the superglue bond.
On the flip side, epoxies can be waterproof or water-resistant, depending on the type of epoxy. If the glass material you’re repairing will be exposed to water a lot, it will be best to use marine epoxy as it can stand up to water immersion.
Silicone is another excellent material to repair cracks in windows around moisture-filled areas such as bathrooms or kitchens. Its long-lasting waterproofing capabilities also allow you to use them on windshields and other types of glass that are often exposed to water.
High temperatures can lower an adhesive’s ability to maintain its integrity. That’s why some people use blow dryers to weaken glue on stickers to remove them.
Glass Transition Temperature is the temperature at which the adhesive starts being soft and takes on a rubbery characteristic.
For example, an adhesive for a windshield repair requires a much higher temperature resistance than that for repairing a vase in a temperature-controlled home. This is because the windshield glass retains heat if your vehicle sits in the sun.
You must also consider the application when picking glue to fix your broken glass. Super glues are easy to apply and dry and cure quickly.
Contrastingly, silicone-based adhesives are a bit complicated to apply and often require caulk guns to squeeze the adhesive from the tube to the broken surface.
Several types of high-quality glass repair glues are available on the market. Considering all the above factors, the following are some of the top picks for the job:
- Gorilla Clear Glue, 1.75-ounce Bottle (on Amazon)
- Gorilla Super Glue with Brush & Nozzle Applicator (on Amazon)
- Bearly Art Precision Craft Glue – The Original (on Amazon)
- CAT PALM B-7000 Adhesive, Multi-Function Glues Paste (on Amazon)
- Rhino Glue Ultra Kit, Heavy Duty (on Amazon)
Clean and Prep the Broken Item
Before applying glue to the broken glass, you’ll have to clean both pieces thoroughly with soap and water. Next, scrub off any difficult stains using steel wool.
After cleaning, wipe each piece with a dry clean cloth. The pieces will stick best when clean, dry, and oil-free.
How to Apply Your Glue
Put on latex gloves while gluing the surfaces to prevent oil from your hands from rubbing off on the glass you’ve already cleaned. The gloves will also protect you from messy and toxic adhesives.
Secure large flat glass pieces with a glass clamp or a clamp specialized in holding fragile objects. Don’t over-tighten, though, or the glass will crack.
Apply a small amount of glue along one of the broken edges but be sure to cover the entire broken edge. Align both pieces, then press and hold them in place for a short while.
Letting it Set and Applying the Finishing Touches
Give the glue enough time to set. Depending on the type and brand of glue, it may take between a few minutes and 24 hours. Avoid applying force to the glass piece, even if it seems firm.
If you’ve used UV curing adhesives for the repair, ensure to expose it to ultraviolet light. A few minutes under a UV lamp or in direct sunlight should harden the glue. Remember to let your glass piece sit under the sun for a little longer if it’s opaque.
As for silicone-based glues, you don’t need to leave them in the sun as they will set in most weather conditions after several hours.
Once the glue has set and the glass piece is firm, all that’s left is to apply the final touches. Shave away any excess adhesive with a razor blade and clean the surrounding area. There you have it. Your glass piece is as good as new!