Are you Wasting Money?



Think Adhesive caps are cheaper, faster to apply or offer a better match than plastic ‘press-in’ caps such as BifixÔ and StemfixÔ? Read on as we bust a few myths!


What Adhesive caps claim

The Facts

Easy to use and a great timesaver

  • Adhesive caps actually take longer to fit than BifixÔ or StemfixÔ, as (according to manufacturers instructions) "in order to fully activate the adhesive, it is always best to apply reasonable pressure. A quick rub with your finger or a tap with a hammer will do"
  • Care must be taken to accurately centre each cap over the fastener to ensure all caps are aligned with each other. This requires more skill and greatly increases the time required.
  • When using woodgrain finishes, the direction of the grain of the cap must match that of the worksurface
  • Click here for details of time trials conducted by a major Australian kitchen manufacturer


Because they only require plain 'chipboard' fasteners, and 'save time', Adhesive caps are cheaper to use

Adhesive Caps cost a LOT more to use. The following table compares the cost of installing 1000 fasteners and covering them with BifixÔ, StemfixÔ or Adhesive caps. The time/cost of installing the actual fasteners has not been taken into account as this can be considered constant for all three types of Cap. Prices used are indicative of average costs to professional tradesmen

BifixÔ Caps
StemfixÔ Caps
Adhesive Caps
Chipboard Screws (8gge x 50mm)
Head-hole Screws (8gge x 50mm)    
Labour to apply caps ($25.00/hr)

* Cost of labour has been calculated using the average times for the three kitchens referred to above, and applied to 1000 caps. In reality however, the time taken for one person to apply 1000 caps would be MUCH greater than this.


Do not rely on a 'mechanical' fit into screwhead for proper installation and do not 'fall out - as do plastic caps'.

This is true, except that:

  • BifixÔ and StemfixÔ are easy and fast to apply and DO NOT fall out
  • Because they fit into the fastener head, BifixÔ and StemfixÔ line up perfectly
  • Adhesive caps must be 'activated' to obtain optimum bond. This is a whole new action in the fitting process
  • Adhesive caps also rely on the fastener being wholly below the worksurface, for the cap to work. BifixÔ and StemfixÔ fully cover fastener head, even if it has been left proud of the worksurface


Lower profile and nearly invisible

  • This is also true, except that Adhesive caps have a sharp transition. BifixÔ and StemfixÔ have a smooth transition, so even though the cap is actually higher, it is less noticeable and less likely to snag a cleaning cloth (which can pull off or damage the cap, or leave part of the cloth behind.
  • The crown of BifixÔ and StemfixÔ caps is just 12mm (enough to cover the fastener and any minor damage around the screw hole). Adhesive caps sold in Australia are 14mm - 16% bigger than necessary and 16% more noticeable
  • Click here to see an un-retouched photograph comparing the height and visibility of an Adhesive cap with a StemfixÔ cap


Match melamine or wood surface

  • Adhesive caps are made from PVC. Colour of the caps aside, PVC is no better a 'match' to Melamine than is polypropylene (the plastic used for BifixÔ and StemfixÔ)
  • Adhesive caps are available in about 7 'solid' colours (incl White). BifixÔ and StemfixÔ are available in 98 colours (all available off the shelf)
  • Adhesive caps DO come in a range of 'woodgrain' finishes, but unless the grain of the cap closely matches the grain on the worksurface, it can end up looking much WORSE than a plastic cap in a colour to match the timber base colour.
  • Adhesive caps CAN NOT match any of the patterned laminate boards - BifixÔ & StemfixÔ have 98 colours to allow you to choose a colour to match the base colour of the pattern


Cover screw holes even when the screw is not there (In the event of a mistake, can be used to cover over the hole)

  • What can we say to this? If this is the main advantage, then surely Adhesive caps are really only suitable for DIY'ers.
  • If you have employees leaving lots of blank holes, maybe you need a new employee!


No additional gluing or caulking required

  • Wow! Neither do BifixÔ or StemfixÔ which offer the best grip in fastener heads of any other 'star' or 'stem' caps.
  • As noted above though, Adhesive caps DO require 'activation' of the adhesive in order to work properly


Temperature resistance of -400°C to 1210°C. Adhesive is totally waterproof and can withstand temperatures from -30ºF to +250ºF.

  • Whoa! Our old Science books show "Absolute Zero" (theoretically the coldest temperature possible) is -273°C, and copper melts at 1083ºC and boils at 1187ºC, so we think these claims are somewhat exaggerated
  • We also know that PVC has a MAXIMUM temperature for continued use of just 70ºC, while the rubber or Acrylic-based adhesives have maximum continuous working temperatures in the range of 50º-75ºC. While Acryics generally have good chemical resistance, both types of adhesive react badly to chlorinated or aromatic hydrocarbons, ethers and ketones (ie most solvents). These will cause the adhesives to run and significantly reduce the cap's holding power
  • Bifix and Stemfix perform in a proven temperature range of -35ºC to 120ºC and are resistant to all acids, alkilis and solvents below 80ºC



Other factors you should know about.

Why do BifixÔ and StemfixÔ have 'domed' heads?

  • Very often, fasteners are not driven in fully below the worksurface, or have been driven in at an angle, leaving one side of the fastener proud of the surface. BifixÔ and StemfixÔ caps are 'dished out' underneath the cap's crown, allowing them to still achieve a perfect fit - even when the fastener has not been fully driven into the workpiece
  • Adhesive caps will only adhere when the fastener is completely below the worksurface. This requires another operation to re-fix the fasteners during the installation, wasting valuable time. Failure to ensure this results in caps that lift on one side, with the semi-cured adhesive attracting dust, bugs and other assorted detrius

Use of Cleaners, Chemicals & Solvents

  • Adhesive caps MUST have a clean, dry surface to work. Even using solvent-based cleaners to wipe out a cupboard before installation can prevent Adhesive caps from bonding properly
  • Likewise, any dust remaining on the worksurface will prevent Adhesive caps from bonding properly.
  • Adhesive caps can take up to 7 days to achieve maximum bonding strength
  • Even after 7 days, use of solvent-based cleansers will attack the adhesive, causing the bond to deteriorate and the adhesive to 'run' (leaving black, sticky marks under the caps)
  • Once they have achieved maximum bonding, Adhesive caps cannot be removed without risk of damaging the melamine underneath
  • If using the veneer-wood Adhesive caps, they will need to be laquered or stained to match the workpiece. Laquers and Stains contain solvents!!!
  • Because BifixÔ or StemfixÔ are plastic, they can be applied when the workpiece is wet, dusty, or either before or after cleaning with virtually any commercial or industrial cleaner

Want to know a better way to make your cupboards look better?

  • From just $11.20 per 1000 ($14 less up to 20% Discount) you can fit your cupboards with Plug CapsÔ. Plug CapsÔ are an aesthetic and hygenic way to cover up unused pre-drilled shelf adjustment holes and at less than 7mm diameter, the cap heads are barely visible
  • Alternatively, why not give your business a really professional image by leaving a packet or two of Plug CapsÔ in our 'Retail' Packs when the job is done. Your clients can then install the caps themselves after a week or two when they are happy with the shelf heights. Retail Packs of 100 Plug Caps cost as little as $2.56 each ($3.20 less up to 20% Discount)

In coming weeks we will be loading a number of photos comparing Adhesive caps with BifixÔ and StemfixÔ caps on woodgrain surfaces. Be sure to check back for some surprising results.