Fact Checked

How Do I Choose the Best Carpet Glue?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Carpet glue is used to hold rolls or tiles of carpet in place over a subfloor or padded base material. Choosing the right carpet adhesive can have a major impact on the durability and performance of the installation, and may even impact air quality within the home. Before purchasing glue for your carpeting project, consult the manufacturer's specifications to find out what type of adhesive they recommend. Once you understand the manufacturer's recommendations, you may also wish to consider factors such as drying time, toxicity, and the area where the carpet will be installed prior to making your purchase.

The majority of carpet manufacturers provide comprehensive installation instructions to customers. These instructions often include recommendations on the best carpet glue to use based on the type of carpet you are installing. Some manufacturers warn that using the wrong glue can not only void your warranty, but also impact the appearance or durability of your carpet. The manufacturer may suggest using a specific glue, or simply recommend a few types that will work with your product. Always follow these recommendations to maximize your results and help reduce problems.

Frieze carpeting.
Frieze carpeting.

Next, consider the environment where you plan to install your new carpet. If moisture is a problem in this room, stick with marine glues, which are often made for moisture-prone areas. Think about the expected temperature during the period when you plan to install the carpet. Some glues are designed to work in extremely hot or cold temperatures, while others are not recommended for use when temperatures falls below freezing. Of course, outdoor carpet should only be adhered using an indoor/outdoor carpet glue product, while indoor rugs can be affixed with either.

Padding glue is used to prevent movement from underneath carpet once it has been installed.
Padding glue is used to prevent movement from underneath carpet once it has been installed.

If you plan to install the carpet yourself, keep your own installation skills in mind as you select carpet glue. Some varieties are labeled "quick drying" or "fast acting" and are not designed for novice users. Steer clear of these products if you are relatively inexperienced at this type of project.

Finally, choose a glue that meets your requirements in terms of safety and air quality. Many carpet glue products contain formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals, which off-gas over time to harm the air quality in your home. If you are concerned about off-gassing, choose water-based carpet glue and avoid solvent-based products. Check for products that are free of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which should be labeled "Zero VOCS" or "VOC Free."

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Discussion Comments


@titans62 - I have never personally seen special carpet glue for a boat, but that could just be because I've never specifically looked for it. I would just search online for it, and you'll surely find it if they make it. If you do it, I would make sure you have plenty of ventilation. I am sure those types of marine adhesives have plenty of strange chemicals in them.

What I was wondering, though, is whether or not anyone here has any tips for removing carpet glue from concrete. We have a little sunroom/patio connected to our house that has a concrete floor, so obviously the carpet had to be glued down. It started to get a little ragged, so we decided to replace it. It wasn't too much work getting the carpet up, but now there is a lot of glue left over. I am wondering if anyone has ever experienced this.

We tried water and fingernail polish remover, but neither of those really seemed to help. Does anyone have any other idea?


I am wondering if anyone here has ever used marine carpet glue. The carpet in my boat is well past its prime, and I would like to replace it sometime soon. Do they make special glue that is made for boats, or can you use regular carpet glue like for a house?

I also might have some auto carpet glue, but I don't know if that is rated to be used around a lot of moisture. I guess my main thinking is that most carpet glues are meant to adhere to wood or concrete or something. In my case, the glue would be put on metal.

When the time comes, does anyone have any good suggestions for how to use the glue? Like I mentioned, I have put carpet in a truck before, but never in a boat. I'm just wondering if there are any tricks I should know about.


@jmc88 - It sounds like you are going the right route with the tiles. I'm not sure if you've looked into this, but something that might be more appropriate are the no glue carpet tiles. They are basically the same thing, but instead of using glue, you use a thing called carpet tape. It is basically rolls of two-sided mesh tape. You lay it out on the floor in a grid that is the same size as your tiles and then just put the tiles down on it. Whenever you need to replace tiles. it will be much, much easier to just pick up a tile and put another down instead of dealing with scraping up glue.

We built my sons a tree house a few years back, and made the mistake of using glue. Since they played in the tree house a lot, the carpet got worn out pretty quickly. We wanted to replace it last year, and it was a lot of work getting all of the glue scraped away from the wood. We went with the tape the next time.


Wow, I never realized there was so much to consider when you were picking out carpet glue.

We are looking to install some carpet tile in our house. My wife started running a daycare a couple of years ago, and now our carpet shows it. We have read about the tiles and think that would be a good idea. They are relatively inexpensive compared to regular carpet, and we could easily pull them up and replace them if they get a big stain or something.

Has anyone ever installed carpet tiles before? What type of glue did you use, or else what type would you recommend after the fact? We would obviously have to go with the nontoxic kinds, since kids will be playing regularly in these rooms. Once you need to replace a carpet tile, how easy is it to do? Is the glue hard to get off of the floor, or can you scrape it off easily?

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    • Frieze carpeting.
      By: Popova Olga
      Frieze carpeting.
    • Padding glue is used to prevent movement from underneath carpet once it has been installed.
      By: Kadmy
      Padding glue is used to prevent movement from underneath carpet once it has been installed.