7 Disadvantages of Adhesives in Building Construction
Adhesives are often used in building construction, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best option.
The are many types of adhesives applications that are used to bond building components. These include prime structural, semi-structural, temporary structural, secondary structural, and non-structural applications. The type of adhesive application used depends on the desired strength of the bond for the structure being constructed.
The use of adhesives during construction does have some advantages, among them the potential to create savings as a result of using a more cost-effective material. They also save time and labour, besides enhancing the overall structure by making it stronger, firmer, and more flexible in terms of design and savings in construction materials and labour.
There are a number of disadvantages, however, that accompany the use of adhesives during construction. Let’s look at a few of these:
1. Adhesive Bonds Take Time to Cure
Until it has fully and effectively cured, the adhesive is of no use. Yet, it takes time and the right conditions for it to cure. Only after it has solidified can it tightly bond two materials together in a way that makes it impossible to separate them.
2. Low Resistance to High Temperatures
Many polymer-based adhesives have a certain level of resistance to high temperatures. This resistance may, however, weaken remarkably when exposed to very high temperatures, unless the adhesives are silicone-based. It is therefore important to ensure that the type of adhesive used can withstand extremely high temperatures.
3. Ageing Adhesives Weaken Bonds
How long an adhesive can effectively bond two construction materials together depends on a number of factors. These include exposure to ultraviolet light and certain changes in the environment.
There are some types of adhesives that are not affected by ultraviolet light. However, others disintegrate after prolonged exposure to such light, as well as moisture. To minimize or eliminate the danger posed by ageing adhesives that end up weakening structures, the right type of adhesive needs to be applied based on prevailing environmental conditions.
4. Poor Preparation of the Application Surface
Before applying an adhesive, the surface must be thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the desired adhesion between the two materials to be effective. If the surface is not properly prepared, the resulting bonded structure will be unstable and prone to disintegration later on.
5. Danger to the Environment and Risk to Individual Safety
Since adhesives contain chemical compounds, their use during construction could expose humans to harm. Inhaling some of these adhesives could be detrimental to one’s health. They should, therefore, be applied with the utmost care while at the same time making sure that those applying it are properly equipped for their own safety.
The waste generated while applying adhesives should be treated and disposed of with care since it can pose a further threat to humans and the environment.
6. Damage Caused to Substrates During Disassembly or Removal
While disassembling materials bonded by adhesives, sometimes damage could be caused to the substrates. Separating two substrates that have been bonded by an adhesive is therefore very tricky, and, depending on the strength of the adhesive used, could result in their damage, and perhaps even weaken the entire structure. This could end up skyrocketing the construction costs.
7. Applying Adhesives Is an Extremely Delicate Process
Using adhesives is a delicate process that requires extreme care. In most cases, once two substrates have been bonded, it’s almost impossible to later disassemble and reassemble them without causing damage. Its application must, therefore, be very precise. The design must be exact to ensure that the two bonded substrates stay bonded at the exact position they are meant to be without leaving any room for error.
Due to these disadvantages of using adhesives, many construction project managers are seeking alternative building materials that are stronger, faster, and greener.