Best Glue for MDF – How to Find the Best MDF Adhesive

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Before we can start with the best glue for MDF recommendations, we need to explain what medium density fiberboard is and why one would choose it over other available materials. As we know, there are many options of wood and adhesives out there. It is vital to understand each element you are working with in order to achieve the most professional-looking results. In this article, we will investigate this material as well as the best MDF adhesives on the market right now. 




What Is MDF?

Medium-density fiberboard is often used for home DIY projects like shelving, cabinets, and other smaller woodwork projects. The reason for this is because of its affordability and durability. MDF is made by using hot hydraulic presses to combine wood pieces and wood chips together to form your board. Being a lighter weight wood option, it is easier to work with. MDF is a highly versatile material that is readily available at most hardware and woodwork stores.

Because of its composition, MDF is more porous than other woods. Meaning, it may stick well when using the right glue and application combination, however adding too much adhesive or the wrong kind, can damage your wood and ruin the project entirely. Although this wood does not come primed and often does not require a primer before using it, you can seal the surface if you wish for certain projects. An easy way to do this would be using a thin layer of resin or epoxy and letting that cure completely before continuing. Now that we know what MDF is and how to use it, let us discuss some good glue characteristics to look out for when working with MDF and other wood materials.

gluing mdf



Types of MDF Glue

Did you know there are three main types of Wood and MDF specific glue? While doing your project checklist it may seem like there are many more options, but the truth is they are all just variations of the three main groups below.


PVA or Polyvinyl Acetate

The typical types of wood glue are the well known white and yellow varieties, these are PVA or polyvinyl acetate. Both adhesives are great for many indoor and outdoor woodworking and DIY jobs. They are generally affordable, easy to find and use, non-toxic and they have quick drying times. These glues are made using a blend of polyvinyl acetate particles mixed with water glues. The tiny particles of PVA will then merge to form an opaque rubbery liquid. These usually take around 24 hours to set properly.

While the white PVA glue is the original, the yellow-based option is often stronger and quicker to dry than its white runny counterpart. It is also fairly easy to sand over yellow glue when repainting or fixing a project. Neither of these will do well in wet or humid conditions. So it is best to use this one for indoor projects – unless otherwise specified on your product.

glue for mdf


Plastic Resin Glue

The second kind of wood glue would be best used on bigger scale projects like furniture making or outdoor carpentry. This type of adhesive is very strong and toxic, containing urea-formaldehyde. It is always important to wear protective gear when handling these toxic substances such as gloves and a mask if the fumes are strong. These glues come as a powder you will need to mix with a reactive agent such as water or resin which will form your stiff, almost plastic polymer bond.

The powder that comes with your plastic resin glues is usually available in different wood shades, so you can properly match your glue to the color of your woodwork. This glue is much harder if not impossible to remove, being highly resistant to both paints and thinners. Although the drying time may be longer, this glue will hold very well once set and is waterproof making it durable in outdoor weather conditions.



Epoxies and resins work well for MDF work. These boards also make great surfaces for resin artwork because they come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. When gluing MDF, epoxies are a great option as a two-part glue, because they come in both slow or quick-set options based on your drying time needs. Slow-set epoxies take up to 24 hours to properly harden and will need at least a week to cure.

The fast-drying or quick set ones can take 1-10 minutes and will cure in a few hours. The downside to using these materials is the cost though, as they are often priced higher than the wood glues. Understanding these varieties assists us in narrowing down the best MDF adhesive for different project specifications. Now we can take a look at some product recommendations on the best MDF glues.

mdf adhesive



The Best Glue for MDF: TITEBOND Ultimate Wood Glue

This popular wood glue is the first one-part, water cleanup glue that is proven to be not only water-resistant but also waterproof. Because of this, the glues formula is unaffected by finishes, or weather elements and is easy to wipe up with water making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Titebond glue is also non-toxic and free of organic solvents and compounds, which allows them to make the bold claim that it is even approved for indirect food contact!

This would apply to fixing things like your kitchen chopping boards or even a pair of chopsticks. Add this factor to their superior strength and it is no wonder Titebond Wood Glue is the industry standard for wood related projects. Their cure time is also impressive being only six hours. Although they do warn, not to put any strain or pressure on the new joint for at least 24 hours, to ensure a firm hold and lasting results.

The reason Titebond glue works so well, is because it provides a strong initial tack and sets well if clamped effectively, they advise 45 minutes. It also allows for a longer assembly time of around 20 minutes, so can take your time with more detailed projects. With their large selection of wood glues available in different sizes and formulas, Titebond Original can help any woodworker achieve seamless results at an affordable price.

TITEBOND Ultimate Wood Glue
  • A waterproof, interior/exterior wood glue
  • Excellent heat resistance and easy to sand
  • Non-toxic formulation, completely safe to use
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  • Non-toxic formula
  • Easy to clean up
  • Great value for money
  • Provides a waterproof finish
  • Creates a superior strength bond
  • Offers long lasting durability
  • Available in various sizes



  • You will probably need a clamp holder to set this glue
  • It may take some time for it to bond properly



Most Recommended MDF Adhesive: GORILLA Wood Glue

Gorilla wood glue is the most trusted adhesive recommended by carpenters and hobbyists in the USA for their woodworking projects. This wood glue is PVA based making it ideal for use on hardwoods, softwoods, and all other wood types. Gorilla glue is ideal for indoor and outdoor use as it will not get damaged in wet weather once dry. The best thing about using this glue for MDF is that you will be able to complete your projects faster with only 20 to 30 minutes of clamp time, your project will be fully cured in 24 hours.

When using any glue for woodwork it is important that your surface area is smooth and free from holes, dents or other rough surface debris. Once this is done, and you are ready to apply your Gorilla glue, make sure to apply a generous amount of glue on one or both of the surfaces in question, in order to get the strongest hold. This glue is also fairly easy to clean up with a damp cloth or sand down if need be. When dry, Gorilla glue leaves an invisible base line on your projects, so they are seamless and professional. Gorilla glues come in a wide range of sizes and glue products. Making it an easy choice when gluing your MDF projects.

GORILLA Wood Glue (Pack of 2)
  • An easy to use, water-based adhesive
  • Suitable for various projects with any type of wood
  • Strong bonding for indoor and outdoor use
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  • Provides an incredibly strong hold
  • Offers long-lasting durability
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • A water-resistant glue
  • Easy to clean up
  • The pack includes two tubes of glue
  • Relativley short clamping time required



  • Thinner consistency than most other glues
  • The full curing time is 24 hours
  • Short assembly time before hardening



Most Affordable Glue for MDF: ELMER’S Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max

Elmers Carpenters wood glue is currently the only waterproof and stainable wood glue combo on the market. Their glue has been made to resist mold, heat, and mildew, making it ideal for basement or bathroom work as well. This professional carpenter’s wood glue combines real wood fibers in its formula which is why it is able to deliver superior contact strength and the stainability bonus, making it great for indoor and outdoor projects.

Another benefit of Elmer’s is that their glues are non-toxic, have no strong smell, and are also easy to wipe or sand down. These MDF glues are also of a thicker consistency making them versatile for other projects around the house. They can also be thinned down to a better-desired consistency using a little water if needed. Elmer’s glues are fast drying and have a 10 minute assembly time window once applied. Just as with the other similar projects a curing time of 24 hours is recommended for best results.

ELMER'S Carpenter's Wood Glue
  • Bonds stronger than wood
  • Non-toxic, no harmful fumes, and easy to clean
  • Resists heat, mold, and mildew
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  • Excellent value for money
  • Water-resistant formula
  • Easy to clean up
  • Available in various sizes
  • A non-toxic formulation
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Doesnt have a smell



  • A very thick glue which can be tricky to use
  • The full cure time is 24 hours
  • Short assembly time before hardening


There you have it, those are the best three MDF glue recommendations. Whether you are doing indoor or outdoor work, bathroom maintenance, or gluing MDF shelves, these wood glues will be the best adhesive for the job. Hopefully, you now have a clear idea on the project material and adhesive that will work best when assembling your MDF and other woodwork projects.

mdf glue



Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Best Glue for MDF Joints?

Water-based and PVA glues are the best options when working with MDF wood specifically. This is because the water base allows the wood to swell a bit and better absorb the adhesive as well as making your project water-resistant. PVA glues also work well because they are affordable, easy to use and most are non-toxic.


Why Won’t My MDF Glue Stick to the Wood?

If your surface has not been sanded or wiped down prior to adding your glue, then this could be the reason. When there is dirt, dust, or other fine materials preventing your glue from properly attaching to the wood, then you will need to sand or wipe the area before continuing.


Why Is Cleaning Up the Glue Important?

Most MDF glues are not stainable, which means any glue residue left behind will leave unsightly marks and rough texture on your finished project. Therefore, it is always important to get wood glue that can be wiped down or sanded once dry. Your best option would be to use one that is not stainable and will offer a more natural, seamless finish.


Can MDF Glue Be Used to Attach Your Board to a Wall?

To avoid drilling holes into your wall when putting up shelving, the simplest answer would be to use a PVA or water-based glue for the strongest hold. Simply, apply your chosen adhesive onto the back of your MDF board, or other wood option and set it aside. Then add some of the glue to the area of the wall you would like to stick it to. Now, secure and hold your shelf to the wall for around a minute or two to let it set (this will depend on your chosen glue). And voila! You have an easy shelf created in under five minutes.


You will need the best glue for MDF when working with this type of material, as all types of projects with it will require an adhesive. Follow our guide and product recommendations above, and you will certainly end up with the best product for your needs!