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How To Fix Holes In Hardwood Floor – Large And Small!

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If you have holes in your hardwood floor, you may be picturing pulling the boards up and replacing them one by one. Put your hammer down! No matter the size, holes in a hardwood floor can be fixed quickly and easily. We have looked into the best solutions and outlined them below. 

Holes in your hardwood floor are an easy fix. There's no need to call a contractor; you can do this one on your own. First, you'll choose the best method - putty, filler, or tape. Decide whether you prefer to match the color to your wood or paint it yourself. Then, following the directions on the container, you'll have your floor patched in no time. 

There is still more to learn. Keep reading to find out what causes small holes in hardwood floors, the difference between wood putty and wood filler, and much more. 

Putty knife and the wooden floor. How To Fix Holes In Hardwood Floor - Large And Small!

How to Fix Holes in Hardwood Floor

The following are our picks for the top three ways in which to fix holes in your hardwood floor. First, you'll need to decide which method of repair you would like to utilize: 

  1. Wood filler
  2. Wood putty
  3. Wood tape

natural wood background

1. Wood Filler

Before beginning the process, remove the finish from the floor using a sheet of sandpaper. This is an important step that should no be skipped. You don't want your filler to stick to the finish without bonding to the wood itself.

Spatula and a bucket of white putty on wooden boards

Clean all residue both inside and outside the hole. You can use a can of compressed air for this step or a blow dryer. Avoid blowing into the hole with your mouth because you will likely end up with something in your eyes. It's probably best to wear protective goggles or glasses.

Amazon has all the supplies you need, including compressed air. 

You can get an assortment of sandpaper with a holder on Amazon. 

You can choose filler that matches the color of your wood, or you can paint it yourself. Using a putty knife, you'll fill the hole with wood filler, making sure it's completely full. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions because dry times may vary.

It will usually take approximately 30 minutes to an hour for the filler to dry, assuming you are repairing a small hole. Larger holes may take longer. For faster drying times of large projects, fill the hole one section at a time, letting each section dry before adding more filler. 

Once dry, sand the area to make it even with your floor. Now it's time to paint/stain the area. Don't forget to let the stain dry completely, following the manufacturer's instructions, before adding a glossy finish. Also note that you cannot stain/paint on all brands/types of fillers; therefore, you should check the specs first. 

You can find putty knives of varying sizes on Amazon. 

You can also purchase wood filler on Amazon. 

2. Wood Putty

Wood putty is better suited for small holes and cracks rather than larger projects. Unlike wood fillers, putties will not harden. Therefore, you will not need to sand the area upon completion. Because putties do not bond to the surface, there is also no need to sand the floor before applying the product.

close up of filler or filling paste and a scraper on a wooden board

You will simply pack in the proper amount, wiping away any excess with a cloth. Wood putty comes in a variety of colors to match your hardwood floor. Since most do not accept paint or stain, be sure to match the colors precisely. 

You can find wood putty on Amazon.

3. Wood Tape

If you are looking for a quick, temporary fix, give wood tape a shot. It is available in a large array of colors, making it easy to match with your floor. While it will not fill your holes, you can cover them until you have the time and/or money for a more permanent solution. Try using it for small gaps in the wood. It is very simple to use and blends well. 

You can purchase wood tape on Amazon. 

How Do You Fill Small Holes in Hardwood Floors?

Small holes, such as those left by nails or screws, are a quick fix. You can use a wood repair pencil to fill the hole, matching the color to your floor. If the holes are too large for a repair pencil, you can use one of the above methods or an epoxy putty stick.

You can find wood repair pencils on Amazon. 

Unlike regular putties, epoxy putty bonds to the surface, creating a longer-lasting solution. You'll need to sand the area before and after application. Gorilla epoxy putty sticks set within just 10 minutes and are waterproof. It dries grey, so make sure to purchase stain to match your flooring. 

Amazon has Gorilla Epoxy Putty Sticks as well. 

What Causes Small Holes in Hardwood Floors?

powderpost beetles tunnels through hardwood

According to Terminix, powderpost beetles are one of the leading causes of small holes in hardwood floors. These small beetles lay eggs in dead wood. Many times, the lumber is subjected to the insects in the lumber yard before it is used to create hardwood floors. Once the eggs hatch, the growth stage is slow, so homeowners usually do not notice the emergence holes until much later. 

According to Texas A&M, it can take anywhere from two to five years for powderpost beetles to surface from indoor wood. While inside, they go through three cycles - egg, larva, and pupa - then emerge as adults, ready to mate. However, females do not generally lay eggs on finished surfaces. 

How Do You Fill Large Gaps in Hardwood Floors?

Large gaps in hardwood floors should be handled differently from small holes. While you can place wood filler into the gaps, it will not last very long, especially in high-traffic areas. Instead, find or cut a small section of wood, placing it in the gap. It is probably best to apply wood glue to hold it in place.

Next, administer the appropriate amount of filler, allowing it time to dry. Finally, sand the filler piece and add your choice of finish. 

What is the Difference Between Wood Putty and Wood Filler?

There are several key differences between wood putty and wood filler. First, wood putty does not harden or bond to the surface. It cannot be sanded and usually cannot be painted or stained and is not suitable for long-term solutions. You'll need to continue applying putty to the holes as it wears away.

Wood filler, however, contains wood particles and fibers along with an ingredient that bonds to the surface, producing a longer lasting result. It is both sandable and stainable; however, both putty and fillers are available in color-matching products.  

How Big of a Hole Can Wood Filler Fill?

gaping hole on a wooden board

As long as you have enough wood filler, you can fix any size hole. However, it will be more difficult if the hole goes all the way through the wood, since it tends to be somewhat runny. It is that quality, however, that makes it ideal for quickly filling large holes that do not go all the way through.

Despite the challenges, you can still use wood filler to repair holes with no bottom. You will need either some Gorilla Tape or a spare piece of wood. If using wood, cut it to size and adhere to the hole using wood glue. Once the glue has dried, fill the expanse like you would any other and apply stain once it has dried. 

Summary

Discovering a hole in your hardwood floor can be alarming. If you call a contractor, it can quickly become expensive. However, holes in hardwood floors are usually an easy fix. Follow the above guidelines to assist you in fixing holes of any size without breaking the bank. 

We're here to help with all your flooring needs. You may find the following articles to be helpful:

How to Remove Glue from Hardwood Floor Installation 

Should There Be Gaps in a New Hardwood Floor?