Pick The Right Glue For The Job: How to Select Adhesives For Bonding Foam

Whether you’re rebuilding the engine on a car or helping your child with his or her science project, things always go smoother when you use the right tools for the job. This is equally true in the world of foam, whether you’re a homeowner working on a DIY project or a business making custom seat cushions or foam mattresses.

The Foam Factory offers a broad selection of foam products, and along with them, spray adhesives formulated to work with every foam type they offer. This particular post will help you better understand why a process that seems so simple is actually surprisingly complex, and assist you in selecting the right adhesive for your project, with our detailed adhesive breakdown.

First, a little background information on why gluing foam is so unique:

(L to R) 3M Super 77, Claire Mist, and Camie 373 Spray Adhesives

(L to R) 3M Super 77, Claire Mist, and Camie 373 Spray Adhesives

Different types of adhesive being required for foam is a result of the diversity present in foam materials. In terms of feel, looks, and performance, open-cell foam and closed-cell foam are obviously different products. However, those dissimilarities aren’t just surface-level differences, as the foam types are individually unique due to their chemical and molecular structures. So while open and closed-cell foams still belong to the same family, the compounds they are made of create a range of variables when it comes time to put the materials to use. In this instance, they affect how a particular foam reacts to adhesive. Depending on the foam type, some adhesives may not form a bond strong enough to last, while others can cause a reaction that physically damages or even destroys the foam.

Fortunately, this isn’t something that has just recently been discovered, and special adhesive formulations exist for properly bonding all different types of the material. Of course, multiple, similar options can always create confusion without knowing which works best for your application. To make things easier, we’ve created an itemized breakdown of our three spray adhesive varieties.

Under each type of adhesive we carry, we’ve listed and linked to the foam types it works best with, as well as what it should not be used with. Whether bonding two pieces of the same material, or gluing to most substrates, just find the foam you’ll be working with, and you’ll find the correct type of spray adhesive for your project!

Spray Adhesive: Claire Mist
Do NOT Use With: Closed-Cell Foam
Use With: Open-Cell Foam
This includes all densities, colors, and firmness values of:

5LB ViscoMAX

Spray Adhesive: 3M Super 77
Do NOT Use With: Expanded Polystyrene Closed-Cell Foam (EPS)*
Use With: Most Closed-Cell Foams AND All Open-Cell Foams**
This includes all densities, colors, and firmness values of:

*3M Super 77’s formulation can physically melt EPS foam varieties, damaging and/or destroying the material.

**3M Super 77 bonds more strongly with open-cell foam than Claire Mist but is costlier. Claire Mist is the cost-effective  choice for all but the most demanding open-cell foam projects.

Spray Adhesive: Camie 373
Do NOT Use With: Open-Cell Foam OR Most Closed-Cell Foams***
Use With: Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS)

***Camie 373 is specially designed for use with Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) to prevent damage that other adhesives may cause.

If you have more questions on how to bond foam once you’ve identified the right adhesive, see our PDF “How To Use Spray Adhesive With General Foam Products” or Contact Us for more information!

IMPORTANT: Spray adhesive is ineffective at bonding acoustic foam to painted or bare concrete or cinderblock walls. Download the PDF linked above for more information.

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