Having gaps on wooden surfaces is inevitable, especially when it's brought to the test of time. There could also be instances where you accidentally knock over a wooden fixture at home, leaving large gaps and cracks on the exterior.
No need to worry because wood fillers exist; we have some great products!
There are two types of wood fillers: water-based and petroleum-based. Both types can work perfectly well on almost any wooden surface, the only difference being their textures and post-application performance.
Water-based wood fillers have a drier and crumblier texture, while petroleum-based fillers are smoother and have a thicker formula.
Unlike water-based fillers, you cannot tidy up petroleum-based fillers if you make a mistake. Here are some of our favorites.
- Minwax Stainable Wood Filler
- Tan KwikWood Wood Repair Epoxy Putty
- Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler
- STARBOND Premium Grade Super Glue
- Timbermate Brush Box Hardwood Wood Filler
- Elmer's Wood Filler
Wood fillers, like any product on the market, are also made uniquely, with different products for different purposes.
However, we know there are a ton of wood fillers that you can use to get rid of unsightly gaps in wooden products, and going through a wide selection can be daunting. With that said, let's dive in!
What Are The Best Wood Fillers For Large Gaps?
In this section, we break down everything you need to know about why we picked the six products above as some of the best fillers you can find on the market today.
1. Minwax Stainable Wood Filler
The Minwax Stainable Wood Filler offers a unique formulation that will work excellently well when you plan on giving your hardwood surface a color refresh.
It's easy to use, and even beginners won't have trouble using its latex-based formula, which can securely hold screws, nails, and other fixations.
Whether your stain is oil or water-based, there's no need to fret as this wood filler is compatible with both types, allowing both stain types to penetrate it perfectly.
You can use either paint or wood stain on this versatile option.
2. Tan KwikWood Wood Repair Epoxy Putty
If you're aiming for precision, then maybe the Tan KwikWood Wood Repair Epoxy Putty is perfect.
It delivers the same performance as any great wood filler, except it comes in pocket-friendly packaging that lets you target unfilled spots.
Its formula can be mixed by hand, so you don't need to go all out in buying a new set of tools to use it.
Plus, it cures in about an hour, so you can go ahead and paint over it in no time, giving you more time to finish up and take care of other handiwork.
It also dries in a chic light tan color, so your wooden surface can still look great even when you don't stain or paint it.
3. Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler
Get high-quality adhesion and a flawless finish with the Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler, designed with professional woodworkers in mind, making it a well-loved choice anywhere in the world.
It can be stained, sanded, primed, re-filled, painted on, and even mixed with other pigments, making it the perfect choice for individuals looking to treat and pamper their woodwork.
Environmentally-conscious users will also love this option, as it's a green and zero-waste product with a non-toxic formulation. You can also save up for more of your wood projects, as a little goes a long way with this product.
4. STARBOND Premium Grade Super Glue
If you're planning on repairing a dark-colored wood, trust the STARBOND Premium Grade Super Glue to keep it in tip-top shape while remaining imperceptible.
Aside from its capability to keep its hold for years, it comes with a medium-thick formula that's easy to work with to hide cracks, gaps, and holes.
You can also easily target hard-to-reach areas, thanks to its packaging with two applicator caps in different sizes and a clog-free stopper to prevent the formula from spilling.
Brown colors are also available if you need to fill natural brown wood.
5. Timbermate Brush Box Hardwood Wood Filler
For those specifically looking for water-based wood fillers, then the Timbermate Brush Box Hardwood Wood Filler is just what you need.
It offers the strength you can count on for many years and a shelf life that can stand the test of time, from being frozen to being thawed.
This wood filler dries fast and won't shrink or damage the wood once it's cured.
Furthermore, it can easily take on any paint or stain job, so you can now tick that off your list if you have plans to revive the colors of your wooden fences, deck, floor, or even concrete.
6. Elmer's Wood Filler
For an economical option, consider adding the water-based Elmer's Wood Filler to your choices.
It offers the same quality as the pricier options despite having a few caveats, such as being only meant for interior use. Its tube-type packaging makes it easy to squeeze out the product so you can maximize every single bit of it.
This option is perfect for those who plan on doing a trial and error method in filling in wood gaps. Its formula also lets you paint and sand it once it has cured.
How To Use A Wood Filler
Applying your wood filler is very easy and only takes a few steps—Prep your sandpaper, wood filler, putty knife, and paint or stain, if applicable.
- Clean and sand the wooden surface before any application to ensure a smooth, clean surface. Wait for it to dry if you use wet cleaning materials.
- Scoop out an appropriate amount of filler using your putty knife and slightly press the product into the gap. Smooth over the area once done to create an even surface.
- Wait for it to cure, depending on what the packaging indicates.
- Once cured, paint or stain it over when necessary.
How Big Of A Gap Can Wood Filler Fix?
You can safely go up to about 3/8th of an inch in filling the gap between your wood. Be sure not to go beyond that limit, as it could only cause you a lot of trouble in having to repair the surface for damage.
Opt for epoxy putty if you need precise applications for smaller holes.
What's The Difference Between Wood Filler And Putty?
Both wood filler and wood putty are used for the same purpose: to seal the gaps between your hardwood floorboards. However, wood filler would take hours to cure, whereas putty doesn't.
Wood fillers can also be used on interior and exterior surfaces, while you can only apply putty on interiors.
Furthermore, you're only supposed to apply your wood filler before your stain or seal the wooden surface, whereas you can only use wood putty after everything else.
Do You Use Wood Filler Before Or After Sanding?
You should only apply the wood filler after sanding. This is because the product needs to be used on a smooth surface to dry smoothly.
It's also essential to watch out for the amount of product you are applying to ensure there are no bumps and uneven layers on the wooden surface.
Can Wood Filler Crack?
Upon application, your wood filler can crack immediately if it hasn't dried appropriately.
However, even if the application has dried enough, there's still a tendency for the filler to crack over time due to different factors, such as some of the examples below.
- You did not sand the surface enough, which left an uneven finish on your wooden floor.
- You used inappropriate tools for the application.
- The filler didn't cure properly, which can be caused by different aspects such as not hardening on time due to the weather, or you didn't properly mix the filler you used before application.
Our Final Verdict
The wide selection of products available on the internet might be confusing for first-timers, and let's be honest, not many people have the time to go through all of them.
The most common wood filler types are water and petroleum-based: and there could be more out there, but there's no need to go with so many of the technicalities.
This post will simplify your choices and help you decide which one to buy. Whether a typical DIY-er or a professional handyman, there's a sure choice for you here.
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