Liquid nails construction adhesive is one of the most popular adhesives used today, either for professional use or DIYs.

Contrary to what you might think, it does not refer literally to real nails in liquid form; it is the name of a brand of adhesives used for construction, like wood glue.

It is preferred by most people today due to how strong it bonds, which might explain why it takes a minute to dry completely.

This article will review how long does liquid nails take to dry, cure and set. If this is your first time working with this adhesive, you want to read this.

How Long Does Liquid Nails Take to Dry

Liquid nails takes between 4 and 24 hours to dry. Although, it typically begins to dry after about 15 minutes of application, just like most adhesives. The total time it takes to dry depends primarily on the type used, the surface it is used on, and the quantity applied.

What is Liquid Nails Used For?

As already stated, liquid nails is used for many home construction projects. From wood to leather to glass to walls, you can use this adhesive on almost all surfaces to fix one thing or another.

It comes in various types, so you want to ensure you get the right type suitable for your needs. A caulk gun is used to apply liquid nails as well, and while it is not a substitute for regular adhesives, it can do the following:

  1. Laying or reattaching tiles that have come off for minor fixes.
  2. Fixing a mirror or a bathroom tub to a wall.
  3. Joining two pieces of wood to help make fasteners used stronger. You can also attach wooden frames to a wall or plastic.
  4. Connecting house framing to the sheetrock to form drywall.
  5. For supporting blocks that are used in buildings as well as attaching bricks to a house.

You must be sure whether your project requires wood glue or liquid nails to get the best result each adhesive.

Factors Affecting Drying Time of Liquid Nails

A few factors influence the time it takes for liquid nails to dry. They come to play no matter the kind of adhesive used. They include:


How thick the amount of liquid nails applied affects how long it will take to dry. This is common with most adhesives where if you use a lot of product, you would be increasing the drying time by hours, if not days.

Hence you want to ensure you are not applying more than the required amount of liquid nails to whatever surface you are working with so you do not delay your work.

You can check the instructions on the tube or can of liquid nails you are to use to know if a thin coat will be enough for the job.


The material you are working with also affects liquid nails’ drying time. For instance, when used on wood and brick, it takes a shorter time to dry up than on glass and plastic.

This is because all materials have different absorption rates, so if you apply this adhesive on non-porous materials, be prepared to wait weeks for it to dry.

Knowing which materials are porous and which are not is essential before you begin your work so you know how long the absorption process will take.

Humidity and moisture

The presence of moisture on the surface to be worked on and in the environment also has a role to play in affecting drying time. This is why it is better to ensure the surface is dry and the surrounding air is less humid to speed up the time.

Usually, latex-based liquid nails take longer to dry in a humidity level of above 60%, while rubber-based type typically dries faster when working with wet surfaces.

You want to ensure you know what is best for the kind of adhesive you are working with so you know the perfect conditions it needs.


The general rule of thumb states that the lower the temperature, the longer the drying time. Generally, it is advised to carry out most construction work when the weather is not cold, that is, at a higher temperature.

Liquid nails drying time temperature usually is around 70 degrees. This means at a lower temperature than this; it will take longer for the adhesive to dry up.


It is essential to let the liquid nails get exposed to enough air as it is also a factor affecting its drying time. Air has a way of speeding up the adhesive’s evaporation process, making it dry faster, so you want to leave those windows open.

Properly ventilated spaces with adequate air flow are better suited for leaving liquid nails to dry than poorly ventilated spaces.


At times, the longer the dry time, the stronger the surfaces adhere. Also, the type of liquid nails you are working with says a lot about how long it takes to dry.

This is why it could take some kinds up to 24 hours to dry while others do within 4-6 hours. Adhesives made of polyurethane tend to dry in just minutes, and while this seems like an excellent option to make your work faster, it has its downside.

The bond created within minutes is not always as strong as it should last, so choose wisely.

Types of Liquid Nails and How Long they Typically Take to Dry

There are two main types of liquid nails that vary in composition and individual dry time. They are described below:


This is also known as the synthetic rubber-based adhesive, which is made of rubber. It has a high resistance to moisture or humidity and is also an excellent option for bonding metals.

However, it is not effective on acrylics and plastics. The neoprene type of liquid nails also has a better edge for being used indoors due to the low level of pungent smell and toxicity it produces. Its drying time is relatively short, which could be as few as 15 minutes.

Water-based acrylic base

From its name, this type, on the other hand, is made of water, making it less resistant to moisture. This is why it is not suitable for use in areas of the home prone to moisture, such as the bathroom or kitchen.

Although it generally has low adhesion, it is an excellent option for binding polymeric materials. The base material’s chemical composition and surface treatment significantly determine the adhesive’s effectiveness in creating a strong bond.

(Check our guide on how to paint plastic with acrylic paint for detailed information).

Liquid Nails Drying Times on Various Surfaces

How long does it take for liquid nails to dry on wood?

It takes at least 24 hours for liquid nails to dry on wood. This could also take as long as a week, especially when connecting pieces of wood because they do not stick well with adhesive compared with other materials such as walls and plastics. 

How long does liquid nails take to dry on plastic?

Liquid nails also take at least a day to dry on plastic. This is because the plastic surface is not porous, making it difficult for air to help reduce the adhesive drying time. Hence it will take more days to bind a plastic to another plastic or do so in a humid environment.

How long does liquid nails take to dry on concrete?

It takes one to seven days for liquid nails to dry completely and harden on concrete. Concrete is a heavy-duty material that could last for years without needing maintenance if done appropriately.

Liquid Nails Dry Time Vs Cure Time Vs Set Time

You already know how long liquid nails take to become dry to touch. However, the dry time for liquid nails differs from the cure time and set time, so we will now talk about them.

Liquid nails cure time – curing time for liquid nails

Cure time for liquid nails refers to the total time it takes for the adhesive to become completely dry. This is longer than the usual dry time, which is why it takes, on average, up to seven days to cure completely, although some take weeks to cure.

It is always advised to wait this long before the glued materials are used because, by the end of this curing process, the liquid nails would have become very hard and strong enough to resist pressure.

How long does it take liquid nails to set?

Liquid nails setting time is about a week also on average. You can say the applied liquid nails have set when it is no longer in liquid form but has solidified and reached maximum strength.

At this stage, you can say you have successfully bonded the materials together.

Examples of liquid nails products

Remember, liquid nails is a brand on its own, so it has different products that vary in formulation and use. If you are looking to buy one, here are some popular liquid nails products you would find on Amazon:

How to Make Liquid Dry Faster

Now you are probably wondering if using liquid nails is a good idea, especially when you want your work completed within a short period.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to make this adhesive dry faster on the bonding surfaces. They include:

Use a fan to reduce humidity

When airflow is increased, the evaporation rate of the solvent present in the adhesive is faster. This can be done by putting on a fan where the liquid nails are applied to reduce the air’s moisture, making it dry enough to dry the liquid nails faster.

Use only the amount of liquid nails you need

It is essential not to use more than the amount of liquid nails you need depending on your job type. This is because the more the amount, the longer it will take to dry. So if you do not want to wait unnecessarily, use the right amount of adhesive. Also, remember to even out the surface you are working with instead of leaving a chunk on the spot. If you want to get rid of excess quantity used, you can use petroleum jelly or mineral oil to remove liquid nails.

Create an ideal environment

An ideal environment for liquid nails embodies a couple of things. From ensuring the surfaces, you want to apply the adhesive on are not only clean but dry to providing the temperature is between 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels in check is also an added advantage.

Do not disturb the liquid nails after application

This might not be easy as you might be tempted to want to touch or correct the liquid nails after it has been applied. Well, if you want the adhesive dried and set within a short time, it is best not to disturb it for at least 15 minutes.

Ensure at least one of the materials used is porous

The drying time of the adhesive on non-porous surfaces is significantly longer. This is why it is best to ensure at least one of them is porous, so you do not have to deal with bonding two non-porous.


Will liquid nails dry in the rain?

Yes, liquid nails will dry in the rain as their base is mainly made of water-resistance products. Some types even need extra moisture to dry faster, which is why a little rain would not hurt or ruin the drying process.

Will liquid nails dry in cold weather?

Although it is advised to use liquid nails when the temperature of the environment is high, it is still flexible and will dry in cold weather. Some products, such as the Liquid Nails Extreme Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive, can even dry under as low as 22 degrees F.

Why does liquid nails take so long to dry?

Liquid nails dries out by getting all moisture content to evaporate and harden over time. This takes time since the adhesive is latex-based, which does not allow it to dry entirely within a short period.

Is there a fast-drying liquid nail?

Yes, there is a fast-drying liquid nails product. The Liquid Nails Ultra Quick Grip Adhesive dries up within a few minutes. This works well on porous materials and provides an instant, firm hold. It is suitable for use on small projects.

How long does liquid nails last?

Liquid nails last about two years from the manufacturing date on the tube or can. However, it is advised to use it within a year after it has been bought or opened. This is because the adhesive could dry up in the container.

How long does it take for heavy-duty liquid nails to dry?

It takes 24 hours for heavy-duty liquid nails adhesives to dry. Although as with other kinds of this adhesive, it starts drying after 15 minutes of application and takes about a week to cure fully.

How long does construction adhesive take to dry

Construction adhesive can take as little as 24 hours and several weeks to dry. When used on surfaces that are either non porous, it could take longer than necessary.

Does liquid nails dry clear?

Generally, liquid nails dry, leaving a shade of white-like finish. However, there is a type of liquid nails sealant that dries clear. This is not as strong as other products used, which is why it is unsuitable for heavy-duty materials. However, it is perfect for interiors and painted surfaces where the product’s color might affect the result.

Does liquid nails dry hard?

Yes, liquid nails dry hard. On average, it takes about seven days to dry completely, leaving it very hard and strong. This is why you want to be sure of the material you are applying to so it does not damage it. Also, if the surface is not clean, it could affect the drying process.

Does liquid nails work on glass?

Yes, it works on glass. There is a kind of liquid nails product that is formulated to work on every type of material, including glass. You want to double-check that the adhesive you use can adhere to the glass before purchasing.

Does liquid nails expire?

The bottle of liquid nails typically has the manufacturing date imprinted on it. However, it is always advised to use within twelve months from that date as there is a higher tendency for the content to become hard or even separate, which renders it unsuitable for use.

See also: How to remove nails from wood.


Liquid nails is a versatile construction adhesive you want to have around at all times, whether for minor repairs or construction indoors and outdoors.

So ensure you apply it the right way, and do not forget what you can do to speed up the drying process. It might take a while to dry up, but it is worth the wait as it leaves a bond that gets stronger as it dries and sets completely.

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