Wood filler is a crucial part of woodworking that helps you repair wood professionally. You can use it to repair minor defects such as scratches, holes, and cracks etc. The primary purpose of wood filler is to conceal imperfections by giving a camouflage effect.
However, you should conceal holes and cracks without affecting the surface’s appearance. Since it comes in so many textures and consistencies, you may have difficulty choosing the right one to fit your needs. Sometimes, they may also come pigmented with wood stains. But you can easily conceal it by applying a layer of paint.
Choosing a suitable wood filler depends on the type of wood and type of defect you are trying to fix. Some wood fillers are water-based, while others are solvent-based. If the wood in question is porous such as oak, walnut or ash, the type of wood filler you use is different than if the wood in question is non-porous.
If you are looking for the right wood fillers, this review will help you get one based on your needs.
Types of Wood Filler
Polyurethane is the type of wood filler used to repair defects in furniture. It helps in closing up the outer surface to protect it from environmental damages such as moisture and humidity.
Latex-based wood fillers are among the most popular wood fillers used for many products. This is due to the fact that they don’t create as much mess and are water-based.
It is essential to sand down the area in question to get the best results with epoxy. It is considered the best wood filler for large holes. They are often used on unfinished projects. However, if you plan on using this type of wood-filler, don’t forget to use a sealant, or it can get brittle and crumbly.
What Is the Difference Between Wood Filler and Wood Putty?
One of the most significant differences between the two is that wood putty is ideal for finished wood, whereas wood filler is mainly used to fix unfinished wood. Moreover, most wood-fillers are water-based, whereas wood putty is usually oil-based. Additionally, you can use the latter in a variety of environments as opposed to wood filler, which you should ideally be using for indoor woodworking items.
Benefits of Wood Filler
It Helps to Fill Big Holes
Wood fillers are an excellent choice for filling holes, no matter how deep they are. It is hard to find an alternative to wood filler when it comes to repairing holes or cracks in the wood surface. To make sure that your surface remains smooth, allow it to dry after using the filler. However, don’t forget to smoothen the surface with sandpaper before applying wood filler.
Sometimes, it’s crucial to have a solution that gives immediate results. In such cases, wood fillers work best as they dry reasonably quickly if you need to get work done in a hurry.
They often dry within ten to twenty minutes. However, the standard drying time varies depending on the product and the type of wood filler you use.
The Best Choice for Porous Surfaces
If you think a surface doesn’t work well with the wood filler, try to sand it down before applying it. However, fillers work well with porous surfaces. Regardless of the type of surface, never use it to finished projects as the surface could get more bumpy and uneven, making it harder to smoothen.
Types of Holes You Can Get In a Wooden Deck
Popped Up Holes
Holes could also be a result of nails or screws falling out of a surface. Carefully inspect both sides of the wood to check for any signs of rot. If it seems fine, fasten the board by using a new screw. However, be sure to check that it won’t curl in case the temperature changes.
Sometimes, decks made out of cheaper quality wood can
have wood knots that can detach and fall out, producing holes. Even though, most contractors and woodworkers don’t use this type of wood to build decks, it’s better to be wary of them.
You can quickly fix such holes by following a few steps. Start by cleaning the surface of the deck. Then apply the deck filler according to the given instructions. The most effective way to get the filler out of the tub is to use a spatula. Wait for the next 24 hours before you sand the surface to even it out.
If the wood is worn out badly, it won’t be of much help to fill the hole. In fact, it could create further cracks as you won’t be addressing the underlying problem. You can figure out if a knothole is big by checking for any cracks in the hole’s surrounding area.
One way to resolve the problem is by cutting out a piece of wood similar to the hole and the deck. Next, you can screw it into the required position and fill any gaps by using wood filler.
Holes Caused By Fungus and Rot
If the holes in a wooden deck are a result of fungus, remove the entire affected area and check for any additional spread. Once you have taken all the damaged wood out, replace it.
11 Best Wood Fillers
Minwax 42853000 Stainable Wood Filler
Due to its exceptional bonding ability, the Minwax 42853000 is one of the highest-rated wood fillers for decks. If you need to repair something permanently or if you plan on rebuilding hard surfaces, this is the right choice.
One of its outstanding features is that it gives quick results and dries out in 15 minutes. You can easily drill or sand into it without overthinking about cracks. It firmly holds the screws and can resist shrinkage and cracking.
- Dries fast
- Repairs nail holes, cracks, and several other issues with unfinished wood
- Easy to sand
- Can be used with water and oil-based wood stains
- It can be painted and is stainable
- Can be used for indoor and outdoor wood
- Comes alongside a strong bond
- It’s a 2 part epoxy, which is the best wood filler for large holes.
- Can get hard faster
Elmer’s E855 Carpenter’s Wood Filler
One of the unique features that make it stand out from the rest is the fact that it’s portable and easy to carry. It’s a pocket-sized product available in a 7-inch long tube. You can also sand and paint it as it is water-based.
It’s a great choice if you are looking for something to fill minor cracks on your wooden furniture surface. It is also easy to apply as it’s squeezable. Moreover, its shrink and crack-proof properties make it an ideal choice if you’re looking for something that provides a clean seal to your surface.
- Can be cleaned up easily using water
- Sandable and paintable
- Doesn’t crack or shrink
- Available in a variety of colors
- It comes in a portable tube
- Due to the small size of the tube, it can dry inside.
PC-Woody Wood Repair Epoxy Paste
If you are looking for something to repair a challenging surface, this two-part epoxy paste may just be the answer. The best part about using it is that you can use it for both outdoor and indoor surfaces. It is also resistant to harsh temperatures. Moreover, one of its properties is that it can resist salt water, fresh water and sunlight. Impressively enough, it can also put up with damages caused by rodents and insects.
- Can endure temperatures anywhere between 30-115 degrees Fahrenheit
- Can be stained and painted after drying out
- Can be used to replace rotten wood
- Resists UV light and mildew
- Works for a long time
- Product of real wood
- Has high tack
- According to some users, it is very thick.
3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler
This product can be used to fill the gaps on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Moreover, it’s a two-part epoxy that comes with both a cream hardener and filler emulsion. It is pretty malleable and easy to apply, which is ideal for beginners. However, it may not be a great choice for wide gaps since it has a sticky and thick consistency.
- Replaces damaged wood on fences, doors, shutters and furniture
- Once it’s dry, you can shape and sand it too
- Available in cans too
- Can be used to fix a number of problems
- Cures fast
- Can be used for both interiors and exteriors
- Not effective on large cracks
Timbermate Wood Filler
Speaking of the best wood filler for large holes, the Timbermate Wood Filler truly lives up to the title. This easy-to-use product can help in a variety of jobs involving interior repair. Moreover, you can also use it to repair edges.
- Fast drying time
- No wastage as the excess can be scraped
- Can be used for interior repair
- Accepts stains without a problem
- Can be removed with water easily
- Good sanding performance
- Does not smell good
- The grain filling performance can seem inadequate to some
Donald Durhams 4-Pound Rockhard Water Putty
This product’s attractive feature is the fact that it doesn’t shrink. Even though it’s a wood filler, it comes in the form of water putty. This filler will fix any number of holes in the wood, and you will also be amazed at how hard it is after drying. One reason why it is often considered the best wood filler for large holes is its strength and for the fact that it blends well with plaster and stone.
- Strong and gets along with stone and plaster
- The suggested water to powder ratio should be 1:3
- It can be drilled and painted
- Won’t fall out, crack or shrink
- Very hard once dried
- Easy to clean up
- Slightly yellowish
- Can be a bit challenging to mix
FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
This odor-free product is helpful for both the user and the wood. Since it comes in various colors, you can find one that matches the wood color to avoid going through the hassle of painting and sanding. However, watch out for the quantity you purchase as it is solvent-free. Solvents are usually added to the fillers to enhance the life of their storage.
- Comes in many colors
- Solvent-free filler
- No harsh chemicals or bad odor
- Can resist shrinking, cracking and water
- Suitable for both outdoor and indoor
- Doesn’t stain very well
- Storage life is short
DAP INC 18741 Platinum 16OZ Patch Filler
This incredibly easy-to-use wood filler can also be used in composite, fiber cement, metal, etc. Its convenient application and waterproofing abilities are what set it apart from the rest. However, it is best for filling small holes and cracks.
- Effortless application
- You can paint and sand it once it’s dry
- Resistant to UV rays and water
- Best for outdoor use
- Can also be used on PVC, composite, fiber cement, etc.
- Not a great choice to fill out big holes
- Takes a while to dry
Aqua Coat Wood Grain Filler
This product helps fill the grain and seal many pores on your wood before you paint it for a smooth appearance. The types of wood it works well on are ash, oak, mahogany and walnut. Moreover, it also gives excellent adhesion, so it doesn’t pull away from the patio once it’s dry. For a smooth finish, you can use water to clean the wood fillers.
You can mix it easily with any water-soluble pigments or dyes to get a perfect color match, and it’ll dry within 45 to 60 minutes of applying it and scraping away the excess. You can then lightly sand it before you apply your primer or paint.
- Smooth finish
- Works well with oil and water-based lacquers
- Works for a limited number of seasons
- Can result in an uneven appearance
- Consistency is thin
Goodfilla Water-Based Wood and Grain Filler
This product by Goodfilla will save your money and time by not shrinking or cracking. Besides, it also gives your patio or deck excellent adhesion. It is easy to match it to your stain color as it comes in twelve different colors and five different sizes. It is more suitable for professional woodworkers.
- Ease of use and no mess when you finish
- Can be mixed with dye, tint, stain or pigment
- Unlimited shelf life
- Has a non-toxic formula
- A little watery texture
- Possibility of a yellow tint
System Three 1-Quart SculpWood Moldable Epoxy Putty
Last on our list of the best wood fillers is none other than Sculpwood. This one has to be kneaded like clay, unlike other wood fillers. You can also mold and shape it as per your own wants. It works well with most wood surfaces and can be painted on once it is set.
- Ideal for use both outdoor and indoor
- Easy to apply
- Resistant to moisture
- Can be used to repair damaged and dried out wood
- 4 hours curing time
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Wood Filler for Large Holes
For a large project, buying a bigger can is reasonable. If you are not okay with how hard the filler can get, then search for a product you can add water to.
The Time It Takes to Dry
While a professional may be okay with any wood filler, newbies can get overwhelmed with a product that dries rapidly. Therefore, look for a product with a moderate drying time so you can carry out your plans with ease.
Shrinking And Cracking Properties
When it comes to wood fillers, it’s important that you keep an eye on the shrinking and cracking properties of the product you are buying as they can become a problem to deal with.
Read multiple user reviews to find out if the filler you are opting for takes stain. Moreover, find out additional details such as whether it releases any odor if it can fill grains well.
Additional Factors in Choosing the Right Wood Filler
Wood fillers usually have two types of textures, thick or thin. Thin ones are used for filling pores in open-grain woods, while thick ones are used to fill denser gaps. Choosing the correct consistency for your project is as important as choosing the right filler.
This is because thicker fillers consist of particles that don’t fit into open grain woods, and thinner fillers do not have the body to fill voids. In rare cases, however, water can be added to thicker fillers so they can fill pores.
Packaging is an essential factor when deciding to purchase a wood filler. They often come in sticks, tubs and squeeze tubes. The ones in the tube simply need to be squeezed out on to the hole to fill pores and gaps.
However, those in tubs are either two-part fillers or no-mix. You will need to mix two-part fillers before application. With stick fillers, all you need to do is remove a small chunk and use your hand to apply it. Tubs are usually the most economical and have the most quantity; therefore, they are best for bigger projects.
Most fillers are either inspired by shades of wood or white. If you don’t wish to paint after filling your surface, look for a filler that closely matches the color of your wooden surface.
How to Fill Wood?
Applying wood fillers does not demand a lot of effort. It is a simple process that requires little to no skill. Here are all the necessary steps you need to follow.
- Wood Glue
- Wood Filler
- Wood Putty Spatula
- Some rag pieces
- Sanding sponge
Steps To Fill Wood
Step 1: Make your surface ready
You can polish the area by using sandpaper and then a wet rag to clean it so the wood filler can set properly without any cracks. It will also merge well with the environment surrounding it.
Step 2: Select the wood filler
Now, it’s time to select what type of wood filler goes with your surface and its requirements. Choosing a suitable wood filler also depends on whether you are going to use it indoors or outdoors. The key is to get your hands on the right wood filler instead of a random one.
Step 3: Apply it
Using a putty knife, apply your chosen wood filler smoothly without putting too much pressure. As you apply it, let it do its work through the crack.
Step 4: Give it time to dry
Every wood filler has a different drying time. However, standard procedures suggest that you let it dry for 24 hours at least.
Step 5: Sand and clean again
After it has dried completely, use hand sandpaper or an orbital sander to make it smooth. When it starts to blend smoothly with the other material surrounding it, stop and use a wet rag to clean it once again.
Step 6: Final step
You can use paint or veneer so that the wood-filled part is not apparent.
In conclusion, each of the products reviewed here has pros and cons. However, when it comes to choosing the right product, it is important that you weigh them and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Remember, for minor damages such as scratches, small cracks and gouges, any filler would do the job. However, when it comes to choosing the best wood filler for large holes, you will need to do your research and keep all the factors mentioned in this review at the tip of your fingers.