Home Crochet baby clothesSticking Styrofoam Sheets: DIY Guide | Glue for Styrofoam

Sticking Styrofoam Sheets: DIY Guide | Glue for Styrofoam

  • Stick polystyrene plates
    • Suitable adhesives
  • adhesive foam
    • Adhesive foam | manual
  • Spray adhesive
    • Spray adhesive | manual
  • Acrylate dispersion adhesives
    • Acrylic dispersion adhesives | manual
  • Adhesives and sealants
  • Reactive hot melt adhesives

Many do-it-yourselfers associate polystyrene boards with a kind of love-hate relationship. The material is valued for its technical properties, but at the same time it is desperate for its processing. How bonding succeeds and which adhesive is suitable for polystyrene is explained in detail here.

Polystyrene is one of the most commonly produced plastics ever. Foamed, most people know him but rather under his sales name Styrofoam . While some appreciate the good insulation properties, the low weight and other positive aspects for a wide variety of uses, others reject the use of styrofoam.

Stick polystyrene plates

One reason is again the difficult processing and especially the K (r) ampf with the adhesive. We explain with which technique you can stick polystyrene plates without despair. We also explain which adhesive is suitable for Styrofoam and what you should rather keep your hands off.


In order to understand the peculiarities of the processing of Styrofoam, one must first know the material itself. Because of its composition already explains much that can become a problem in the course of the work in ignorance.

Actually, the term Styrofoam does not describe a material. Rather, it is a brand name or trade name, which has meanwhile found expression in German, just as "Tempo" today is representative of all paper handkerchiefs. Styrofoam is made from polystyrene, the fourth most common plastic ever. This makes it one of the standard plastics that can be found in a wide variety of household, commercial and technical forms.

Styrofoam structure


To make polystyrene styrofoam, the plastic is foamed with the aid of heat, expanded in technical language. One therefore speaks in technical terms of EPS (expanded polystyrene). In the case of typical polystyrene, the plastic granules used as starting material are still recognizable as small globules which are joined together in a tight bond.

The essential properties of the polystyrene foam produced in this way are:

  • high elastic deformability
  • high absorption capacity for vibrations and shocks
  • closed-cell, fine-pored structure
  • low moisture absorption
  • low solvent resistance against, for example, ketones and aldehydes
  • low temperature resistance
  • high UV sensitivity

The most common form in which the foamed plastic is sold for a wide variety of applications around the house and hobby cellar, are plates of different thickness and dimensions. But also moldings can be found again and again, especially in the field of building services, but also in model making.

Process polystyrene plates

Suitable adhesives

If one now knows the essential properties of polystyrene, it is quite easy to deduce from this knowledge which properties a polystyrene adhesive must have.

  • high elasticity, to make possible deformations of the polystyrene with
  • Adhesion and setting capacity on non-absorbent ground
  • Composition without relevant solvents
  • no thermally activated adhesives above the melting point of polystyrene (for example, "hot melt adhesive")
  • no UV activation of the adhesive required

Practical examples of suitable adhesives

Now, from the variety of products available on the market, it is easy to assemble a range of suitable products from the requirements of suitable adhesives for sticking polystyrene sheets . It is striking that the individual adhesives vary greatly in their consistency, composition and processing.

This depends above all on the intended use, ie on the substrate on which you want to stick the polystyrene plates. An adhesive for styrofoam on masonry as insulation looks completely different because of the mineral, mostly very uneven and also absorbent to sanding underground, as an adhesive for the bonding of styrofoam components with each other. For this reason, typical products will be presented below as well as the bonding of polystyrene sheets with them will be explained.

Styrofoam plates

adhesive foam


  • Polyurethane foam (PU), typical construction and assembly adhesive
Mounting adhesive (pictured) instead of polyurethane foam (PU)

application form

  • usually as a cartridge with propellant, adhesive expands upon exiting the cartridge


  • Fastening of insulating boards on mineral substrates such as stone and concrete, as well as on wood - due to low cartridge especially suitable for small areas and work
Concrete structure


  • by room-filling effect of the adhesive well suited for bridging defects in the ground

Adhesive foam | manual

If Styrofoam boards are to be glued with adhesive foam, it is best to proceed as follows.

  • Remove the surface from dust, dirt and loose components
  • Adhesive cartridge according to instructions provided with spout
Mounting adhesive cartridge (pictured) instead of polyurethane foam (PU)
  • Apply adhesive foam in even snakes on the polystyrene board
Mounting adhesive (pictured) instead of polyurethane foam (PU)
  • Align the plate to the substrate immediately and press firmly until the adhesive effect occurs
  • If required, readjust plates as adhesive foam can easily re-expand even in "non-pressing" form and move plates
  • Also provide adhesive plates on the front side of the follower plates and firmly press plates against each other
Mounting adhesive (pictured) instead of polyurethane foam (PU)
  • fill any gaps between boards with adhesive foam, cut off foam immediately after hardening (for example with a cutter knife)
Cut polystyrene

NOTE: Since PU adhesive foam occupies a certain amount of space itself, care must be taken to ensure even application. If the adhesive tapes are applied too far away or if too much foam is applied at certain points, voids may form between the styrofoam plate and the substrate, which reduce the adhesion and, above all, reduce the usually desired insulating effect.

The same applies to defects in panel joints. Gaps in the adhesive create thermal bridges, which in total can significantly reduce the insulation effect.

Spray adhesive


  • Synthetic elastomer-based aerosol adhesives

Application Form:

  • Ready-to-use, pressure-containing spray can


  • Bonding of insulating boards on very level substrates, with small package sizes, especially for small areas, well suited for the bonding of polystyrene boards with each other


  • low application thickness, therefore no filling effect on defects
  • very short bleeding and setting time, therefore bonding without sagging of the plates or penetration of the adhesive
  • Readjustments but hardly possible

Spray adhesive | manual

The processing of Styrofoam by means of spray adhesive succeeds as follows:

  • Clean the surface, remove any imperfections or irregularities by filling or sanding
  • Prepare boards accurately and ideally check briefly before mounting to a planned position
  • Apply adhesive to adhesive surfaces of the insulation board (back and front sides) areally
Apply spray adhesive
  • After the specified drying time, position the plate and press firmly

ATTENTION: Unlike PU foams, any gaps between the polystyrene sheets can not simply be filled with spray adhesive afterwards. Should any gaps be filled, other fillers, such as adhesive foam, must be used for reworking.

Acrylate dispersion adhesives


  • pasty adhesive based on acrylate

application form

  • mostly bucket, rarely cartridges


  • Bonding of Styrofoam on absorbent surfaces such as masonry, concrete and wood


  • high filling effect, therefore also suitable for uneven surfaces or for bridging defects

Acrylic dispersion adhesives | manual

The most common variant in house construction, renovation and modernization, sticking polystyrene panels is the use of dispersion adhesives in the following manner.

Renovation in the house area
  • Remove the surface from loose components
  • Apply neutralizing primer to strong absorbent substrates
  • Align extremely uneven surfaces in advance with spatula
  • Apply dispersion adhesive with tooth trowel flat to substrate and wait for specified flash off time
  • Push Styrofoam sheets tightly pushed into adhesive bed and align
  • when glued to the wall: due to the high setting time, the bottom row of panels mechanically supports against sagging, for example by placing it under wood or using dowels in addition to the adhesive
Plastic plate dowel

ATTENTION: strongly pasty dispersion adhesives are only partially suitable for bonding the front sides of the plates. Here, attention should be paid to an appropriate indication of the manufacturer. Alternatively, the plates can be bonded together with other adhesives, such as adhesive foam or spray glue.

Plastic plate anchors

Adhesives and sealants

For special applications today there are numerous specially developed adhesives with special properties. The most well-known of these are the adhesives and sealants based on polyurethane . They create elastic, highly effective connections between the polystyrene panels and substrates from wood to metal to fiberglass and glass. Due to the high elasticity, they are very well suited for use in the area of ​​expansion joints.

Fiberglass structure

Due to the high degree of specialization of the individual products, however, no generally valid instructions can be written. The manufacturer's instructions should be carefully studied before use.

Reactive hot melt adhesives

One of the most modern types of adhesive for Styrofoam are the so-called hot melt adhesives. They liquefy the surface of the styrofoam by heat development and thus create an extremely strong and non-positive bond, in particular of polystyrene panels with each other. Since these adhesives are not practical in the home improvement sector and are mainly reserved for the technical field, there is no further explanation of the processing at this point.


In addition to the actual bonding, the do-it-yourself processing of polystyrene panels raises the question of what happens to the remainders of the adhesives used at the latest after the end of the actual work. Since the adhesives, like the actual foam boards also, are ultimately chemical products, should be dispensed with any disposal.

proper disposal of chemical products

Since the adhesives are uncritical when set, small amounts of residue can be spread on a remnant piece of styrofoam, ventilated and cured. Afterwards, they can be disposed of professionally together with the styrofoam residues at the landfill or at the recycling center . Larger quantities of glue should be disposed of via a pollutant site because of the high reactivity and the substances contained.

Additional fixations

Finally, one should always be aware of sticking polystyrene boards that - no matter which adhesive one applies - polystyrene can generally produce only relatively weak adhesive forces on its surface. This is mainly due to the surface texture and the closed-pore structure.

Styrofoam plate structure

Especially when building measures using styrofoam therefore you quickly reach an area where additional mechanical fixations of the insulation boards may be necessary. Mostly then so-called plate dowels are used, which fasten the plates through large plates through the insulating material into the massive underground. In the subsequent construction of Styrofoam on plastered walls and similar components their use is even largely required.

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