Contact Cement Vs Rubber Cement

When it comes to adhesive needs, there are a variety of products available in the market. Two of the most popular adhesive types are contact cement and rubber cement. These adhesives serve different applications and understanding their distinguishing features is crucial to determine the most appropriate option for your particular project.

Contact Cement:

Contact cement is a rubber adhesive that is used extensively in industrial and commercial settings. It is also popular for household use. This type of adhesive is known for its superior bonding properties and its ability to form a strong, permanent bond.

The adhesive consists of a blend of solvents, synthetic rubbers and resins which creates a sticky and tacky formula. These adhesives work by joining two surfaces with their adhesive properties, and once bonded, they form a permanent, strong bond.

One of the unique features of contact cement is that it is a “dry” adhesive. That means that it is not wet when applied, but rather it sets up quickly, and creates an almost instant bond. Contact cement can be applied to both surfaces being bonded, allowed to dry for a few minutes, and then the two surfaces are pressed together. Once the two surfaces are joined, removing them is very difficult.

Contact cement works well for a wide range of applications. It is ideal for bonding large surfaces, such as countertops and tables. It can also be used for bonding smaller surfaces, like wood, leather, rubber, metal, and some plastics. Additionally, contact cement can be sanded, painted or finished after it has dried.

Rubber Cement:

Rubber cement is a type of adhesive that is a pale yellow in color and has a characteristic odor. This adhesive is popular for office and school applications, as it is user-friendly and easy to remove. It is primarily used for attaching paper to paper, photographs, and similar materials.

Rubber cement consists of synthetic polymers that are dissolved in volatile solvents. The adhesive is spread on one of the surfaces to be bonded, and allowed to dry before it is joined to the other surface. Rubber cement allows for a temporary bond, and can be removed without leaving any residue.

Rubber cement is easy to work with, and does not require any special equipment to apply. It is moisture-resistant and can be easily thinned with a solvent. Additionally, rubber cement can be used for temporary mounting applications such as poster hanging, or making light-duty repairs around the home, office, or classroom.


It is essential to understand that contact cement and rubber cement are fundamentally different products, and they serve distinct applications. While both adhesives are in the “cement” category, they operate differently.

Contact cement creates a permanent bond between two surfaces, while rubber cement formulates a temporary bond. Contact cement is ideal for bonding larger surfaces such as wood or metal, while rubber cement is better suited for paper, card, or lightweight items.

When bonding surfaces that require a strong, permanent bond, contact cement is the better option. This adhesive is ideal for industrial or commercial applications, as well as hobby projects that require durable bonding strength.

On the other hand, rubber cement is more suitable for craft or household use. Rubber cement is particularly helpful for projects where temporary bonding is required, or when flexibility is essential.


What is the difference between contact cement and rubber cement?

Contact cement creates a permanent bond, which is ideal for bonding larger surfaces such as wood or metal. Rubber cement formulates a temporary bond, making it better suited to paper, card or lightweight items.

What surfaces can contact cement be used on?

Contact cement can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including wood, leather, rubber, metal and some plastics.

What surfaces can rubber cement be used on?

Rubber cement is primarily used for attaching paper to paper, photos or other lightweight materials.

Is contact cement waterproof?

Contact cement is waterproof and is suitable for use in locations exposed to moisture.

Is rubber cement waterproof?

Rubber cement is not waterproof and should be used in dry locations to prevent the bond from breaking down.


Choosing the right adhesive is crucial to ensure your project’s success. Contact cement and rubber cement are two common adhesive types that serve different applications. Contact cement is ideal for creating a permanent bond on larger surfaces, while rubber cement is better suited for temporary applications or for bonding paper and other lightweight materials.

Ultimately, regardless of which adhesive you choose, always follow all safety instructions and ensure proper ventilation when working with any type of adhesive.