Adhesives for structural use

Date Published

11 August 2022

Document Type




Adhesives are widely used in non-structural applications such as furniture manufacture and joinery. They are also used in the manufacture of panel products such as plywood, particleboard, fibreboard and oriented strandboard (OSB), of which some grades are used structurally.

Glulam and structural timber composites such as cross laminated timber (CLT), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), parallel strand lumber (PSL) and laminated strand limber (LSL) rely on adhesive bonding, as do most prefabricated timber I-joists.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) is concerned principally with the use of adhesives in structural joints, although some information is provided on the types of synthetic adhesives used in other wood-based products. It does not cover the use of adhesives for chemically or thermally modified wood.

Key Information

Adhesively bonded connections are generally stiffer, require less timber and have a better appearance than mechanical fasteners.

Adhesives can also be grouped according to their behaviour under elevated temperatures as thermosetting or thermoplastic.

Structural glued joints should not be employed unless every aspect of the manufacturing process can be properly monitored and controlled.

Case studies

Cowan Court was needed to house Churchill College’s growing undergraduate numbers, many of whom had to live offsite. It was also important that the building would centre the students in the campus, would be environmentally sound and fit within its historic surroundings.

The architect HawkinsBrown has used timber to create an elegant cathedral-like structure for a new swimming pool, a structure which is also corrosion-resistant, resilient and carbon-neutral.