3M 4200 vs. 5200 – Marine Adhesive Battle

I hear a lot of people saying that using either the 3M 4200 or 5200 sealant doesn’t make a difference.

Well, hell with you if you said the same to others because it isn’t true. As soon as I compared the 3M 4200 vs 5200, it became clear that both of them have more differences than similarities.

The 3M 4200 is a flexible, fast cure and semi-permanent marine adhesive. On the other hand, the 3M 5200 is strong and permanent but takes a lot of time to cure and skin.

Both of these adhesives are water-resistant and reliable for sealing various removable parts. However, you can remove the 4200 even after several years, something you cannot do with 5200.

Now imagine how things can easily go wrong if anyone uses these glues thinking they are the same. Anyway, if you are here to find a more detailed explanation, I urge you to keep on reading until the end.

Learn More: 3M 4000 Vs. 4200

3M 4200 vs 5200

Before we dive in further, let’s take a look at the key differences and some similarities between 3M 4200 and 5200.

3M 42003M 5200
Adhesive TypeSemi-PermanentPermanent
Color OptionsTwoMultiple
Strength300 psi700 psi
FlexibilityMore FlexibleNot very flexible
Cure Time24 Hours24 hours
Tack Free Time60-90 Minutes1-48 Hours
DurabilityMore DurableLess Durable
CostLess Than 5200More Than 4200
3M 4200 Adhesive

3M 4200 vs 5200: Detailed Discussion

The table above made it clear that the 3M 4200 and 5200 differ in many aspects. Let me break down the significant features in the following part to make it more clear.

Adhesive Type

The 4200 is a semi-permanent adhesive, meaning you can disassemble or remove it when necessary. On the contrary, the 5200 is a permanent adhesive.

Once you have used it for sealing a part, you can never take it off. Even if you try any removal method, you will end up damaging the part.


Both 4200 and 5200 are suitable for sealing parts above and below the waterline. However, there is a slight difference. While they both work fine, the 5200 offers a more effective bonding for parts underwater.

For example, the 4200 is more suitable for bedding, general interior sealings, deck-to-hull bonding, etc. On the other hand, 5200 works better on keel bonding, wood-to-deck areas, interior wood decks, anti-slip plates in the engine room, etc.

Saltwater Resistance

The 5200 can easily withstand salt water even if the part stays submerged longer. It can also withstand shock, vibration, and more.

The 4200 also does an excellent job of withstanding saltwater. But it is not as good as the 5200.

Learn More: JB Weld Marine vs. Original

Color Option

I found out that the 3M 4200 comes only in two color options: black and white. It’s pretty good for adhesives as you don’t need many colors.

However, the 5200 is the winner here, as it comes in multiple color options. You will find black, white, mahogany, etc., options available.

Strength and Flexibility

Strength-wise, the 5200 is stronger with a 700 psi tensile strength. It will ensure the adhesive creates a stronger bond. However, the drawback is that it makes the glue more rigid and less flexible.

So, if you want a more flexible glue, 4200 is a better choice. However, it comes with a 300 psi tensile strength, meaning it is not as strong as 5200.

Sanding and Painting

One of the questions I noticed users ask is if it is safe to sand or paint over the sealants. Yes, they are completely safe.

I suggest waiting a good amount of time before sanding for the adhesive to cure properly. You can also paint over the sealants without any problem.

Cure and Tack-Free Time

You can expect the 4200 to cure within 24 hours. But I won’t suggest expecting the same from the 5200, as it can take 7-10 days to cure completely.

The 4200 sealant begins to skin in 60 to 90 minutes. But in some cases, the 5200 has been found to take up to 48 hours.


Since the 3M 5200 is a permanent adhesive, it is more durable. And the 4200 lasts until you remove it. That’s why it is more suitable for use on replaceable hardware. 

Damage Risk

You can be confident about using and removing the 4200 adhesive. But because the 3M 5200 is a permanent adhesive, you cannot remove it.

So, do not take anyone’s advice, believing that you can remove 5200 sealants using hacks. Even that can cause permanent damage. So it is better to be safe than sorry.


There isn’t much difference between the price of 3M 4200 and 5200. Both sealants are quite affordable. However, the 4200 costs slightly less than the 5200.

3M 5200 Adhesive

Learn More: 3M 5200 Fast Cure Vs Regular

Pros and Cons of 3M 4200


  • Fast cure adhesive
  • Very flexible
  • Easy to remove
  • Takes less time to skin compared to 5200
  • Suitable for parts that are both above and below water


  • Not as strong as 5200
  • Not permanent

Pros and Cons of 3M 5200


  • Creates a stronger bond
  • Cures faster
  • Stronger than 4200 adhesive
  • More suitable for underwater parts
  • Can withstand salt water, vibration, shrinking, and swelling.


  • Takes too long to skin
  • Comparatively more expensive
  • Cannot be removed, or removal can cause damage

Editor’s Opinion

One of the common mistakes people make is not reading the labels before buying or using adhesives. But you don’t have to do that now.

Because after comparing 3M 4200 vs 5200, it has become clear that they are not suitable for similar purposes.

The 3M 4200 is more suitable for short-term fixes but more versatile. And the 5200 is your long-term solution. Its biggest flex is that it is resistant to salt water.

Benjamin Harris

Benjamin Harris

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