Lightweight and highly malleable and ductile, aluminum is a pretty big part of our everyday lives, whether or not we always notice it. From cook-ware to appliance components to wiring to a popular material for structuring boats, it’s an essential everyday metal, diverse in use and resistant to corrosion. But imagine finding a hole in your favorite aluminum cooking pot, or a leak around the metal fastening attaching your garden hose to the spigot. A tiny crack, the smallest bit of damage, and the whole thing becomes unusable. But rather than having to resign yourself to throwing out an otherwise well-built piece of homeware, hardware or any of the multitude of aluminum-constructed objects our lives are strewn with, consider the possibility of repair – patching together the hole, filling in a crack, solidifying a loose screw or bolt so you don’t run the risk of it coming off again.
Run-of-the-mill adhesives like superglue aren’t going to cut it – no, when it comes to heavy-duty adhesion, we’re talking about epoxy, probably the godfather of adhesives when it comes to bonding strength, durability and resilience. The right two-component epoxy, or even some epoxy putty, may just be what you need to plug a hole in your aluminum canoe, stick loose pot handles back on such that they’ll hold for life, or reattach decorative metal pieces together without the risk of them coming apart. A great versatile, if not necessary, addition to our toolboxes, here are our picks for the best epoxy for aluminum.
J-B Weld 8272 MarineWeld Marine Epoxy
As the name suggests, this adhesive is specially formulated for contact with water, making it a great choice for the boating and water-sport enthusiasts amongst us. Rather than having to break out the heavy (and expensive) artillery to fix a couple of leaks and holes, this inexpensive two-component epoxy easily fills in gaps, setting in 4-6 hours at ambient temperatures and curing to a becoming dark gray in 15-24 hours.
The adhesive is waterproof, and resistant to chemicals and petroleum, and within a minimum of 15 hours can hit the water again, versatile and convenient enough to use for anything from repairs to your hull or deck, to fixing up components of engines, not just of a boat but for other vehicles as well. In fact, this 1:1 ratio epoxy works just as well for quick-fixes to leaky rain gutters, clothes tubs, or other metal bits and bobs coming into contact with water often. Also brilliant for non-water-contact usage, the adhesive has a tensile strength of 3,960 PSI. Once the adhesive has cured, it can be filed, sanded, painted, drilled or otherwise shaped as you need it.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
J-B Weld 8265S Cold Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy with Hardener
For the ridiculously pocket-friendly price, this two-component epoxy packs a big punch – you’ll get exponentially more payoff thanks to the number of applications for this versatile adhesive. For anything from engine repair to secure a head gasket into place to mending weld breaks on metal frame furniture, this powerful adhesive with a tensile strength of 3,960 PSI is going to hold out for you through thick and thin. Resistant to chemicals, temperatures up to 550°F, water, petroleum and acid when fully cured, the 1:1 ratio adhesive sets in 4-6 hours and cures within 15-24 hours, darkening to a dark gray color.
Because of its extreme durability, resilience, low-porosity, wear-resistance and high adhesive ability, this two-component epoxy is a great alternative for mending broken welding, gluing metal elements together, fixing holes and leaks and reattaching broken or loose metal parts of appliances and hardware, prolonging the use of anything from an aluminum pot with some holes that need filling or cracks in a window pane letting out the cool of your air conditioning. As with our previous instalment of the same brand, the adhesive can be sanded, filed, shaped and painted as you need it once it has cured.
Marine-Tex Epoxy Putty White 2 Ounce Kit
Sometimes, you’ll be fixing more than a few small leaks in an aluminum boat – wide cracks, large holes or bolts holding brackets, mounts and platforms into place coming loose, could all do with some help from this brilliantly adaptable, easy to use epoxy putty. Of a thick, creamy consistency that is easy to mix (using 5 parts resin with 1 part hardener) and apply, curing in 24 hours at a constant temperature of 72°F to a rigid steel-hard solid ideal for permanent adhesion, installation and repairs, this epoxy putty is heavy-duty enough to be a go-to alternative for mechanical applications like welding. With a powerful tensile strength of 4,000 PSI, the putty is available in white and gray, with different compressive and adhesion shear strengths for each color, the white option suitable for being tinted depending on your color needs.
As the ‘Marine’ in the name implies, the putty is waterproof and the perfect choice for filling in and repairing damage to aluminum components in frequent contact with water, as well as reattaching loose or stripped fasteners, reinforcing bolts, permanently attaching dissimilar metal elements without galvanic corrosion occurring, and filling in chips or gouges in not just metal but also wood and fiberglass. Highly resistant to temperature, chemicals, wear and tear, the putty is perfectly suitable for being sanded, tapped, drilled, shaped and so on post-curing.
Note, though, that while the putty is great for bonding together metal components, it does not work as well with polypropylene and polyethylene plastics.
Permatex 84109 PermaPoxy 4 Minute Multi-Metal Epoxy
Another two-component adhesive, this versatile epoxy has an impressive tensile strength of 4,500 PSI, intuitive to use and heavy-duty enough for multi-piece assembly and metal-to-metal adhesion. Perfect for reinforcing and repairing welding, filling up cracks in metal, and attaching metal fastenings, the adhesive sets in 4 minutes and cures to a dark gray color in roughly 24 hours. Once cured, the adhesive can be drilled, sanded, filed, shaped and painted as you need it. This 1:1 mixing ratio epoxy can be used for anything from mounting metal components to putting an aluminum utensil like a colander or baking tray falling apart back together again, for many more years of use. This epoxy is not only great for aluminum, but works just as well with brass, copper, iron, stainless steel and other metals too.