October 9, 2023

Countertop seam adhesives — cartridge or hand mix?

If you fabricate or install countertops, you’ve probably run into the age-old question: should I mix adhesives or use a cartridge?

Cartridge benefits

Why do people use countertop seam adhesive cartridges rather than hand-mix? There are a few clear benefits to using cartridge products such as those from Integra Adhesives.

Saves time

integra adhesives surface bonder xi

If a fabricator needs to connect a couple of mitered edges, he or she may start by opening a can of adhesives and taking out a large scoop, ensuring there is enough for the entire job. They’ll need to inspect the color of the countertop and slowly add pigments, stir, inspect, and add more pigment as needed. Once the color is perfect, they will add the activator and mix once more. When the glue is ready, they will apply the adhesives and quickly position the slabs. This is certainly true for most hand-mixing.

With cartridge-based countertop adhesives, such as Integra Adhesives, the fabricator can simply pull the color match they need for the task and select the right cartridge. (Integra Adhesives even has a web app to make this easy.) They can apply a mixing tip and begin applying the adhesive right away. With no manual mixing and far less cleanup, the fabricator has saved precious minutes, which can be used to enhance the productivity of your business.

Easier for your team

Cartridges save time, largely because they are just easier to use. Experienced professionals will say that mixing adhesives is easy; that may be true … for them. But for incoming team members or newcomers to the countertop fabrication or installation field, creating the ideal mixture is a delicate process that takes months, potentially years, to master. 

Squeezing a cartridge is something anyone can do, especially one you have a knack for how it works. But that process of understanding how to gun out adhesive for seams will take a few hours to learn, not years.

Consistent results 

Customers want a consistent color across their countertops.

When mixing by hand, you (or your team members) need to match the exact tone for the perfect results. In addition, you must mix by batch. This can create inconsistencies in your final products, not only between one countertop and another but also inconsistencies in a single unit. 

With cartridge-based adhesives, you are virtually guaranteed consistent results. The glue cartridges mix the adhesives with precision, so you don’t have to worry about inconsistent mixing ratios or different hues between one batch and another. 

Hand mixing advantage

Although over at Elevated, we like cartridge adhesives like Integra, there are a few things to consider about hand mixing. Of course, it’s heavily dependent on your staff and their experience.


In some cases, adhesives that need to be manually mixed can be more affordable, at least from a basic per-ounce calculation. That means that your more seasoned fabricators may be able to save you money hand-mixing the countertop seam adhesive. If you don’t have seasoned professionals, hand-mixing your products, then cartridges may be more cost-effective as they’re saving money on labor and wasted products. 

Perfect for hard-to-match countertops

Sometimes there are countertops, typically natural stone, that are difficult to match with an adhesive. That’s when the artistry of hand mixing comes in handy. Expert mixers will be able to get that custom match for those tough countertop jobs.

Disadvantages with both cartridges and hand mixing: waste

Getting the wrong color with a cartridge can eat into your profit. That written, Integra Adhesives has a fantastic app that makes it easy to select the right color. Even if you can’t use the app, or don’t have a cellphone signal, Elevated would be happy to provide matching colors.

Waste can happen with bulk mixing, too. In fact, ensuring the right color sometimes can take a few versions to get it right, even with experienced staff.

Bulk adhesive without the guesswork: SeamKing

seamking pro

If you or your team are fans of hand mixing, there is a product that takes out the guesswork while still enabling you to mix yourself: SeamKing. It comes in a bag, instead of a can, and you can use pumps to activate it and mix colors. In other words, it’s easy. SeamKing saves time and is convenient. Hand mixing is still required, but not much. Your seam adhesive will be ready in less than a minute.

Plus, SeamKing also has an app that enables you to pick colors. Perfect for stone, they even have recommendations about difficult-to-match colors. It’s a great choice for shops that have less experienced people or are looking to get some of the benefits of cartridges in a super affordable bulk product.

It’s all about choice — yours

Like with most things in life, people just like something or they don’t. The same is true with cartridges and hand mixing. We hear all the time people love Integra Adhesive cartridges because they’re easy to use and convenient. We also hear, with the same fervor, people who think hand mixing is the only acceptable way to handle countertop seams. Luckily, even for newer countertop fabricators and installers, they have SeamKing, which is the best of both worlds.

We don’t have a dog to pick in this fight, per se, but we think Integra Adhesives and SeamKing can handle the vast majority of your countertop seam needs. They’re both great products to keep around to handle everything from countertop fabrication to full kitchen remodels and installations.

Christopher Richmann
Author: Christopher Richmann
Kif Richmann is a professional writer and editor who has been creating content since 2011. With degrees in communication and journalism from The University of Iowa, Kif has been a full-time self-employed freelancer since 2014. Throughout his career, he has served numerous industries including manufacturing, real estate, technology, finance, healthcare, transportation, and education.
Related resources
& expert advice
  • 7 common air compressor maintenance mistakes
    December 2, 2019

    7 common air compressor maintenance mistakes

    When it comes to your business, compressed air represents a significant operating cost. Between the compressor, system, installation, and maintena…
  • All about Milwaukee Tool
    December 28, 2020

    All about Milwaukee Tool

    Wisconsin is known for a lot of things – the Packers, “going up North” (for those not in Wisconsin that means vacationing), hockey, fishing, weari…
  • Countertop fabrication, finishing, and installing
    January 5, 2021

    Countertop fabrication, finishing, and installing

    If you’re in the countertop business as a construction contractor, countertop fabricator, or countertop installer, you’re…