Glue, caulk or drill?
September 1, 2010 10:19 AM   Subscribe

What should I use to attach a metal sliding closet door guide to ceramic floor tile?

I have a sliding closet door with no tracks on the bottom. The door is guided by a small metal piece (maybe 1.5-2") on the floor, which used to be attached to the ceramic tile floor in my mud room with what appears to have been caulk. The caulk, or whatever it was, has worn away and the little metal piece now needs to be secured again. I would rather not drill into the tile floor because I am not confident that I won't tear up the floor or crack the tile, even if I do invest in the appropriate bit for my drill (or would my regular drill even work?). What type of adhesive would you use to secure the little metal piece to the tile? I was thinking either silicone caulk of Gorilla Glue. Is there another miracle adhesive I've never heard of? Thanks!
posted by lbo to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Silicone is fabulously waterproof but it is not really strong enough for this kind of use. Gorilla Glue would work. Personally I would use Goop. It is widely available in hardware stores.
posted by grizzled at 10:24 AM on September 1, 2010

I'd use Liquid Nails, which is a brand of construction adhesive you can find either in a glue-like squeeze tube (for small amounts) or a tube you'd use in a caulking gun. Both should be in the caulk/glue aisle of your local Home Depot or other hardware store.

There are different types for different applications, but the standard stuff would probably be fine.

Scrape the old caulk / glue off the metal piece and the floor before you put new stuff on.
posted by bondcliff at 10:25 AM on September 1, 2010

Liquid Nails is probably strong enough - but if you ever do consider drilling, the experts hit a nail gently into the space they want to drill, then go about doing the drilling (with the right bit of course). It's not such a difficult feat to achieve and probably would hold that sucker down longer and steadier then any glue could - especially when you're opening and closing that door.
posted by watercarrier at 11:17 AM on September 1, 2010

I don't think you'd want to hit a nail, even gently, into ceramic tile! It works well for wood to get a hole started for a screw.
posted by mareli at 11:31 AM on September 1, 2010

Gorilla glue is pretty much miraculous. I used it to fix a metal latch on a well abused purse* and i can't believe it hasn't needed tinkering since this most recent repair.

* (LOL: this is funny if you happened to read my other purse entry!)
posted by ChefJoAnna at 11:55 AM on September 1, 2010

Liquid nail, then caulk around it once it's installed. A pro would also drill (in addition to Liquid Nail and caulk), but you should be fine for at least several years without drilling.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:08 PM on September 1, 2010

I've done exactly this with construction adhesive. It lasted the five years I lived in the appartment. The only hesitation I would have is how permanent it is. Contsruction adhesive applied on a clean surface doesn't come off. No chance to change your mind after it sets.

Don't be afraid of drilling the tile though; it's easier than it looks. Here's some youtubery on the subject. I prefer to use a glass bit (they're only a few bucks) and drill in a little puddle of oil. An easy way to do this is to make a ring with clay or putty around the hole-to-be, fill with a a few drops of light, clear lube oil. Sewing machine oil is great, but mineral oil also works, as long as the oil is fairly clear. Here's an old question on exactly that.
posted by bonehead at 12:29 PM on September 1, 2010

Not liquid nails, but a good construction adhesive will definitely do this job. Buy the professional stuff that comes in the long tubes for use in caulk guns. Anything in a bottle will not be adequate.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:49 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do not dismiss silicone out of hand: if it bonds well with your surfaces, RTV silicone is definitely strong enough for the job. Try it out before going for more aggressive solutions.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:05 PM on September 1, 2010

Gorilla glue will arguably work, as will construction adhesive. If you use the door often you'll probably have to reglue it sometime.

However, if I were doing it, I would simply use the appropriate bit in a standard drill, make a hole in the tile, and screw it down because that means I'll never have to worry about it again.

Drilling an accurately positioned in glazed tile can be difficult as the bit will often skate across the surface before grabbing. Just be patient and keep repositioning the drill, pushing lightly only. It will eventually grab and then you can bear down.

If your tile is on a concrete slab, you'll need a hole big enough and deep enough for a plastic anchor to hold the screw in place. Otherwise, just drill through the tile and not into the subfloor, using a bit large enough so the screw will drop through the tile without binding the threads. (You don't want the screw to grab onto the tile or it will just rip the tile off the floor.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:30 AM on September 2, 2010

Another thing I've done with those doors is to screw sideways into the wooden frame of the doorway. You didn't mention if your doorframe was wood or not. You might notice two holes on the part of the floor bracket that will rest against the door frame -- use domed-head head wood screws of size 8 or larger, at least 1" long, and the bracket will be good to go. (Sometimes these screws are provided.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:33 AM on September 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your responses. I didn't muster the courage to drill into the tile, but ended up using some heavy duty Loctite super glue. The piece I was attaching was only about 3 inches long, and the super glue worked great. I thought about caulking after, as suggested, but the bond is so secure that I'm giving it a while to see if it continues to hold as tightly as it is right now. I was going to go with Liquid Nails as so many of you had said, but when I looked at the handy little chart on the back of the liquid nails package, it recommended super glue when affixing metal to ceramic, so I gave that a shot. So far, so good! Thanks again!
posted by lbo at 10:26 AM on September 10, 2010

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