5 Types Of Wood Filler

Wooden products are prone to damage. However, there are specific materials you can use to cover up the imperfections. Read on since we have researched everything you need to know about the different types of good filler. Let's dive right in!

Wood fillers cover up cracks, holes, and crevices visible in lumber. The various classifications vary in their chemical compositions. Here are the five basic types you can use:

  • Solvent-based
  • Water-based
  • Epoxy
  • Caulk
  • Homemade

In this article, we will discuss the various types of wood fillers, their applications, and their benefits and disadvantages. With that said, let's get into this topic below!

woodwork. Putty knife in man's hand. DIY worker applying filler to the wood. Removing holes from a wood surface. Preparation of wood before impregnation with varnish. Application of putty. - 5 Types Of Wood Filler

What Is Wood Filler? What Does It Do?

A wood filler is a water-based substance that can be applied to unfinished wood and sanded. Additionally, they are not waterproof.

Since the wood filler is designed to bond directly to natural wood, applying stain is unnecessary.

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Wood Filler Being Applied To Holes By A Female Carpenter Ready For Sanding Down.

To guarantee consistent stain and finish absorption, a wood filler is used to smooth the surface of wide-grain wood and to cover up holes, cracks, or scratches on wood.

Types Of Wood Filler

Here are the different types of wood filler you can use:

Latex And Solvent-Based Wood Filler

Solvent-based wood filler has vinyl and epoxy as its main ingredients and a smell.

Because they are more resistant to moisture, humidity, temperature fluctuations, and decay, they are ideal for outdoor wood projects and applications.

It takes an hour to dry, then acetone or turpentine can be used for cleanup.

Additionally, they lack structural strength. Thus it is better to refrain from hammering a nail or screw into a location where this kind of wood filler has been used.

See this FamoWood Latex Wood Filler on Amazon.

Water-Based Wood Filler

The water-based wood filler has cellulose, wood fiber, and gypsum. It has the advantage of having a milder smell.

Other water-based wood fillers are more adaptable since they can be used when a thinner filler is required by simply diluting them with water.

You can clean up with water and soap while the drying process, which only requires 15 minutes or less.

See this Elmer’s Stainable Wood Filler on Amazon.

Epoxy Filler

Instead of coating or wetting out fiberglass, epoxy filler's primary function is to thicken liquid epoxy. One epoxy system with fillers can be used for many things, including adhesive bonding, fairing, gap filling, and filleting.

Check out this WoodEpoxy on Amazon.

Exterior Wood Filler And Caulk

Exterior wood filler is used to patch outdoor wood. It is a type of moisture-resistant wood filler that changes size in response to changes in the weather.

Another option is silicone caulk, which is weatherproof.

Check out this Minwax Wood Filler on Amazon.

Homemade Wood Filler

The homemade wood filler uses the wood itself and combines sawdust from the same wood with a binder, usually wood glue.

DIY wood filler works well for filling small cracks and holes, but it cannot be used to cover bigger cracks and gouges due to its limitations.

DIY wood filler closely resembles the wood used in your project, but it won't look the same because the glue is a different tint.

How To Apply Wood Filler

Young carpenter in work clothes and face mask using wood filler in finishing work for console table .

You will need to use wood filler, rags, sandpaper, tack cloth, and wood stain. You will need a putty knife, oscillating sander, and vacuum for the equipment.

Here are the steps on how to apply wood filler:

1. Mix Wood Filler

Mix the wood filler using a putty knife. The consistency of the filler must be smooth.

2. Apply The Filler

Apply the wood filler. After applying, press the wood filler into the crack, then remove the excess using a putty knife.

Note: Petroleum-based hardens quickly, and water-based remains moist for longer.

3. Smooth Out The Filler

Use your finger to smooth out the wood filler by pressing it.  Using a putty knife, scrape the filler onto scrap wood. 

Remove the stain on your putty knife and finger using a dry cloth. Furthermore, you can also rinse it with water.

4. Allow It To Cure

Allow at least 30 minutes for the filler to set, preferably an hour. It's best to use an oscillating sander, working your way up to fine 180- or 220-grit paper from medium-grit paper first.

5. Sand Down

Finish it by using 220-grit sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain to the filled area. This will leave minute scratches in the filler that mimic the pattern of the adjacent wood, making it easier to stain the filler precisely.

Sanding dust on the surface can cause issues when staining or finishing. Use a tack cloth to wipe out the dust without making a bigger mess by wetting the material.

6. Apply A Finish

After cleaning the area, the filled crack or patch is ready for staining and applying a protective finish.  The color is rarely a perfect match since wood filler absorbs stains differently than untreated wood.

Pros And Cons Of Wood Filler

Putty knife in man's hand. DIY worker applying filler to the wood. Removing holes from a wood surface. Preparation of wood before impregnation with varnish. woodwork. Application of putty.

What can be the advantages and disadvantages of a wood filler? Here are the things to consider when using a wood filler.


  • It dries very fast.
  • It makes wood water-resistant.
  • It fills up huge gaps.
  • It allows you to change its consistency.
  • You can sand it down.


  • Wood fillers can’t stand weather-related changes because they can contract or expand.
  • The wood filler is not appropriate for outdoor use.

What Is The Best Wood Filler To Use?

woodwork. Close-up putty cans in man's hand. DIY worker applying filler to the wood. Removing holes from a wood surface. Preparation of wood before impregnation with varnish. Application of putty.

Here are the best wood fillers you can consider using:

DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Wood Filler

This filler is made of actual wood fibers that are water-based. You can sand, drill, and paint without being concerned about breaking or shrinking. It can be used even with strong anchors for nails and screws.

The drying period is two hours and can be used for the interior and exterior.

Minwax Color-Matched Wood Filler

This wood filler dries to a natural appearance and is very simple to apply. It can be treated the same way as regular wood, including painting, drilling, varnishing, and sanding.

The drying period takes two to six hours and can be used for interior and exterior.

See this Minwax Color-Matched Wood Filler on Amazon.

3M Bondo Wood Filler

The good thing about this filler is that once it dries and is fully attached to the wood, it won’t shrink and is resistant to moisture. However, the downside is that it can irritate your skin, so always use gloves when using this wood filler.

The drying period takes only 30 minutes and can be used for interior and exterior.

See this 3M Bondo Wood Filler on Amazon.

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler Interior

This is a very easy-to-use, low-odor wood filler that dries smoothly. It is thick enough to fill large gouges and holes conveniently.

The drying period takes up to 12 hours and can be used only for the interior.

View Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler Interior on Amazon.

Rust-Oleum Varathane Fill Stick For Wood Repair

This is a wood filler that is very simple to use and comes in a variety of colors that look like wood grains. The drying period takes only 10 minutes and can be used for the interior only.

See it on Amazon here.

What's The Difference Between Wood Filler And Wood Putty

The difference between wood filler and wood putty is that wood putty is denser. The good thing about wood putty is that it won’t shrink or crack and is waterproof. However, you cannot sand it.

Furthermore, it has a composition of calcium carbonate, universal colorant, boiled linseed oil, and solvents with oil- and plastic-based bases. However, we don't recommend using it on exposed raw wood because of the component mixture.

Just use wood putty on finished items that have been stained or sealed. The drying process typically takes three days, depending on the size and humidity.

To Finish Up

woodwork. Putty knife in man's hand. DIY worker applying filler to the wood. Removing holes from a wood surface. Preparation of wood before impregnation with varnish. Application of putty

When choosing a wood filler, use one that works best with the furniture, flooring, or structure you work on. We hope the article helped you understand the different products you can use to even out wooden surfaces.

You might also find these topics helpful:

How To Soften Dry Wood Filler

6 Best Wood Fillers For Large Gaps

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