Contact Cement VS Rubber Cement: Which Is Right For You?

Are you unsure whether to use contact cement or rubber cement for your forthcoming project? With so many alternatives available, determining which adhesive would work best for your needs may be difficult. So do not worry; we have you covered.

We did a full comparison of these two popular adhesives, examining their contents, pros and cons, and recommended uses. Continue reading to find out which one will win.

Contact CementRubber Cement
Creates a strong bond.Versatile use. Good for working on multiple materials.
Could take days to dry and cure completely.Highly flexible.
Water-resistant and will not weaken on getting wet.Weather-resistant and water-resistant.
Easily available and easy to use.Heat resistant.
Can be utilized on multiple materials.It is also less likely to cause burns or irritation.
It is comparatively cheap.Comparatively less harmful and emits less odor.
Emits strong-odored fumes.
Can even cause burns on the skin.
Dries fast.
Can create an uneven bond.This cement is flammable.
Not repositionable.It is quite deadly if ingested.
So, let’s dive deeper into Contact cement vs rubber cement – understand the difference and pick out which one is the best for your needs. 

What is contact cement?

It is a solvent adhesive formulated using acetone, toluene, and hexane. Contact cement works by curing while exposed to air and not by evaporation like most adhesives. 

Working with contact cement like weldwood contact cement requires a well-ventilated area as the fumes emitted are highly toxic. The full curing time of this glue can go up to 24 hours, considering how thick the glue is applied. 

Contact cement can be utilized on a combination of materials. It can permanently attach two surfaces by forming a water-resistant bond. 

It comes in two types of glue: liquid and paste. 

Liquid Contact Cement

It works best for porous surfaces like wood. It absorbs into the texture and forms a powerful veneer sealant. 

Paste Contact Cement 

Paste contact cement is used for for non-porous surfaces like plastic or metal. It dries more rigidly compared to fluid contact cement and does not soak through the surface. 

What is Rubber Cement?

It is a gel water-based adhesive formulated using naturally extracted or synthetic latex solvents. It dries quickly and can become unusable if not stored properly. 

Rubber cement is mostly used in DIY arts and crafts projects because of its flexibility and easy clean-up properties. It works by evaporating and forming a dried residue on the surface, that holds two materials together. 

It is good for bonding flexible materials like rubber, vinyl, cardboard, and paper. Just like contact cement, rubber cement also emits toxic fumes which are harmful to humans. So, take serious caution when working with rubber cement.

What Is The Difference Between Rubber Cement And Contact Cement?

Wondering if both are used for bonding materials and both are one of the best adhesives in the market, then how are they different? Well, the answer lies in their formula. Contact adhesive is a solvent-based adhesive, whereas, rubber adhesive is a water-based adhesive. 

Contact cement is more enduring and makes more long-lasting bonds than rubber cement. However, contact cement is much harder and toxic to work with, and can even cause burns while working. 

Rubber cement, on the other hand, is less durable; but is comparatively much easier and less harmful while working. 


Contact cement is more powerful and more durable compared to rubber cement. Contact cement can even burn certain materials because of its chemical nature. 

Water Resistant 

Rubber cement is more water-resistant. You can also mix rubber cement with paint to create paintable sealant. It can even be applied on dried contact cement for a rigid waterproof coating. 

Temperature Resistance 

Contact cement is more resistant to extreme temperatures than rubber cement. 


Contact cement is typically used for industrial use to hold two surfaces together, while rubber cement is preferred for household use, DIY projects, or arts and crafts. 

Contact Cement Uses

Contact cement glue is a versatile adhesive that can be used in multiple projects. Here are the most typical uses for contact cement:

1. Bonding wood together is presumably the most typical contact cement use. It can create a strong, long-lasting, and reliant bond. 

2. Contact cement can form an immensely strong sealant when bonding metal. It is a perfect glue for projects like car repairs, and metal roofing. 

3. Contact cement is a versatile adhesive and can create watertight seals around windows sills, doors, and most spaces. It can also be often used as a sealant for leaks around your house. 

4. Tiles tend to stick out and get loose over time. Contact cement is most commonly used to fix any loose tile in place. Let it dry and your tiles will never fall again. 

5. Contact cement is best agent for strengthening a piece of wood. It can also expand the surface and provide a water-resistant layer on the wood. 

Rubber Cement Uses 

Rubber cement is a versatile adhesive and is used for many different projects including DIY crafts and professional assignments. Mentioned below are some uses for rubber cement: 

1. Rubber cement is perfect for creating strong and durable crafts projects, like school projects, scrapbooks, wall hangings, celebratory cards, photo frames, and much more. 

2. Rubber cement can be a reliable option to use as a glue for wood, metal, plastic, and other materials. 

3. Rubber cement is also used for sealing envelopes, packages, and gift boxes. 

4. Have broken Tupperware at home? No need to throw them away. You can use rubber cement to glue together broken food containers, plastic containers, and other kitchen equipment. 

5. Rubber cement is ideal to be used as a temporary clamping adhesive between two materials while they are joined together like with dowels or pocket holes. No need for those expensive clamping tools. 

Advantages And Disadvantages: Contact Cement vs Rubber Cement

Advantages of Contact Cement 

1. Creates a strong bond in no time and is ideal for long-term projects.

2. Dries quickly, so, no need to wait for days to finish curing. 

3. It is water-resistant and will not weaken on getting in contact with water. 

4. Easily available in the market, and pretty easy to use. 

5. Can be operated on multiple materials including wood, metal, glass, and plastic. 

6. It is moderately cheap. 

Disadvantages of Contact Cement 

1. You need to be super careful while working. 

2. Emits strong-odored fumes, which can be overwhelming during work. It is vital to work in a well-ventilated area. 

3. These fumes can be harmful, so, precaution is a must when using contact cement. Always wear a mask, and wear safety glasses. 

4. If you don’t apply it correctly, it can create an uneven bond. 

5. Not repositionable. Make sure you don’t move the piecing around after applying. 

Advantages of Rubber Cement

1. Versatile use. Is good for working on multiple materials like wood, metal, glass, and plastic. 

2. Highly flexible, so can be used for projects that don’t require much care. 

3. Weather-resistant as well as water-resistant. Is an excellent choice for outdoor projects. 

4. Heat resistant, so, it is good for working on projects that will be exposed to heat. 

5. It is also less likely to cause burns or irritation on your skin. 

6. Comparatively less toxic and emits less odor. 

7. Dries fast and doesn’t require days to cure completely. 

Disadvantages of Rubber Cement 

1. You need to apply rubber cement carefully, or things can get really messy. 

2. Can be difficult to work with because of its stickiness. 

3. Emits an unpleasant strong odor. 

4. Rubber cement is flammable, avoid using it near heat or flames. 

5. It is quite harmful if ingested. Keep it out Of reach of children or pets. 

Contact Cement Ingredients 

Chemical% Conc.
Methyl ethyl ketone21.18
Solvent Naphtha, Petroleum, Light Aliphatic19.52
Ethyl acetate17.75
Xylene (mixed isomers)3.82

Rubber Cement Ingredients

Ethyl Acetate53.58545-65
Ribetak 7522 ( t-butyl phenolic resin )14.288-23
Maglite D (MgO)10-2
Kadox 911C (ZnO)0.5380-2
Lowinox 22M460.50-3
Neoprene AF13.6979-18
Are Contact Cement And Rubber Cement the Same?

Rubber cement and contact cement are two entirely different adhesives. They both have different physical properties and uses. The main difference between the two is that contact cement is formulated using a solvent-based adhesive and rubber cement is formulated using a water-based adhesive. 

Which Is Stronger: Contact Cement Or Rubber Cement?

Undoubtedly, contact cement is much more powerful than rubber cement. Nevertheless, that does not mean that it is a suitable option for your projects. Consider the pros and cons of both of these products, and make your decision wisely. 

FAQs – Difference Between Contact Cement And Rubber Cement

What is rubber cement best used for?

Rubber cement creates strong, flexible, and repositionable bonds. It is best for DIY projects involving pictures or paper. Because rubber cement is acid-free, your paper project will not shrink, curl, or wrinkle. 

Does rubber cement bond instantly?

The rubber cement bonds instantly but never cure completely. When the solvent evaporates, it leaves behind a tacky, rubbery glue residue that bonds one surface to the other. 

How long does contact cement take to fully cure?

Contact cement can take up to a week to cure completely. It can only bond permanently when adequate force is applied to hold the objects. Trimming or finishing can be done right after bonding. But for a permanent bond, cure the glue for up to 72 hours before exposing the pieces to direct sunlight or a temperature of over 66°C (150°F). 

Can contact cement be removed?

The best and quickest way to remove contact cement residue from a surface is to use a contact cement solvent. However, the ingredients in the solvent should match the ingredients of the contact cement. If that is a task for you, a universal solvent will work just as fine. 

Will rubber cement stop a tire leak?

Most tire patch kits come with a small bottle of rubber cement. However, rubber cement alone cannot stop a tire leak. Make sure to follow the instructions to fix a tire leak. 

Do you let rubber cement dry before applying the patch?

Let the rubber cement dry for a minute before applying the tire patch. During this time, the cement will turn from a transparent liquid into a more stick cloudy form. 

How long should rubber cement cure?

Rubber cement can take up to 15 minutes to dry. It can bond two pieces of material together instantly without having to cure completely. 

Can I use contact cement on shoes?

Contact cement works on multiple materials including leather, wood, rubber, and plastic. This makes it suitable as a shoe glue because it remains flexible even after curing entirely. 

What’s it Going To Be: Contact Cement Or Rubber Cement?

Hopefully, by now we have put a stop to the arguments about contact cement vs rubber cement. Both of these products are quite different in properties and have entirely different uses. 

Nonetheless, it is important to be careful while working with either. Make sure your space is well-ventilated and always wear safety gear. 

Finally, consider your needs, time, and resources while making a decision. Thank you for reading, we hope this was helpful.