Wood’s natural look and texture add warmth and grace to any setting both indoors and out, but it’s not uncommon for wood to get dinged, chipped, or nailed full of holes. Such an event demands the intrepid DIYer to roll up her sleeves, find the best wood filler, and fix what time, elements, or clumsiness have ravaged. This review and buyer’s guide answers all your questions, including how to use wood filler.
Whatever kind of wood you’re patching and wherever it is, there’s a filler for the job, and you can avoid problems by choosing the right one. Some fillers aren’t for exterior use and won’t last outside, and others lack pliability and workability needed for certain small jobs. At the same time, others are too soft and pliable to provide much more than cosmetic repairs. The consistency and strength of the filler you use are as important as its colour.
No one wood filler is best in all situations, considering the variety of wood species on the market and all the different finishes and techniques used in woodworking projects. Matching the filler material to your particular situation is the key to patching large holes in wood.
A wood filler is a highly helpful paste to fill up the voids in the spaces, cracks, holes or other sorts of vacant damage among wooden walls or actually, any wooden object. Almost all of us would find the need to repair a wooden object’s gap with a wood filler.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the best wood filler available to buy. As there are great different types of wood fillers, various brands that promise and deliver questionable qualities, it is important to be careful. Before picking a wood filler, go through the following three key component checklist;
- Type of the wood filler: Depending on the type of solvent needed and used, the type of wood filler changes. They are either Water-based or other solvent-based. Depending on the purpose of use, your choice changes. Wood fillers made out of cellulose, wood fibre or gypsum will not have an odour, and they are minimal. They are water-sensitive and mostly used for indoor projects. If you need a wood filler for outside, you will go for solvent-based fillers, who are usually based out of epoxy and vinyl composites. Their strong smells distinguish them, but they will stick strong against in the outdoors as well.
- Ease of mixing and using: The next important thing to consider is how easy is the material to mix and use. While some of the wood filler putties are direct use (take out of the box to use), some require mixing. This means that some or other type of solvent are introduced for extra strength and better bonding. Both of these have their own merits. For small fractures or cracks in wood or for indoor projects, you want an instant putty wood filler but for larger cracks, mixing based putty will give you greater bond.
- Colour: The third thing to take care of is the colour. See, most of the wood fillers are wood-based brown or white. There are clear and transparent wood fillers as well. The emphasis on the colour of the wood filler must be given if you are filling up something that is having a greater visual presence. For instance, a crack on a chair of certain colour would want not to be visible, and then you would be using a specific colour as such. Or you can also go with a transparent or a paintable kind which allows the paint to stick on it.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer timber repairs work from simple timber repair to almost new structures, renovations, and extensions.
Latex- and Solvent-Based Fillers
When small gaps or holes appear in interior cabinets or hardwood flooring, a latex- or solvent-based filler is usually enough to patch them. These fillers come pre-coloured, so you can choose a tone that matches the woodwork. They sand easily, so you can apply them with a putty knife and remove the excess easily after they dry, and they accept finishes. Usually available in small cans, pre-mixed wood fillers don’t have much structural strength. They won’t hold a screw or a nail and will crack or sink if you use them to patch a hole larger than 1/2 inch in diameter.
When you need a filler with more structural integrity, perhaps to fill a widening crack in a floorboard or a rotted void in a door jamb, use epoxy-based filler. It comes in a tube or a can and can be clear or coloured. You must apply it with care, keeping the excess to a minimum, because it doesn’t sand off easily. It forms a repair that is usually stronger than the wood itself. You can drive screws into it, but it has a plastic appearance that only fleetingly resembles wood. Use it indoors or out when structural integrity is more important than appearance.
Exterior Wood Filler and Caulk
Exterior cosmetic patching jobs need a filler that resists moisture and expands and contracts with the weather. Exterior wood filler, which comes in cans, has elastomeric properties, so it fulfils these conditions. Apply it with a putty knife and paint over it, if desired. Acrylic latex and butyl caulk are also weather-resistant and paintable, and because they come in tubes that fit into a caulking gun, they are good options for filling long cracks in siding and gaps between boards. Silicone caulk is highly weather-resistant and pliable, but choose one with a matching colour, because it isn’t paintable.
Woodworkers unable to find a filler to match the wood on which they are working sometimes resort to making their own. They mix sawdust or shavings from the wood with a little lacquer, knife it into the hole they are filling and sand it flat. It’s a good cosmetic solution, but this type of filler isn’t very strong and isn’t suitable for large holes. An alternative is to mix sawdust with carpenter’s glue. Glue makes a stronger filler, but it darkens the wood appreciably so that the repair seldom disappears completely. Moreover, glue is harder to sand than lacquer.
Best Wood Fillers Of 2020
Bondo Wood Filler
First on our list is the Bondo 200082 Home Solutions Wood Filler. The Bondo wood filler is touted to be one of the highly rated, greatly reviewed and best selling wood fillers.
This 1 Quart box contains high-quality wood filler that will help in the restoration of the small cracks and other issues you have with doors, windows, furniture or shutters etc.,
It is a beginner-friendly wood filler, and thus its ease of use will make it a great pick for DIY projects, Hobbyists and even children learning basic repair skills as well.
It can further be shaped or sanded or drilled too (depending on the level of hardness or the time of dryness it has been after applied. Post it is fully dried, the wood filler is no more different than hardwood and seems like it replaces the wood completely.
The filler begins to dry up immediately 15 minutes after application; thus, you need to act fast once it is out of the box and is ready to be applied else it would be waster.
Minwax Wood Filler
Next up on the list is the Minwax 21600000, a high-performance wood filler of epoxy make and composition. The strength of Minwax is known to even hold a large screw or a nail in its place once the filler dries up too.
The maximized strength of the filler makes it ideal for being used not just for indoor jobs, but also for outdoor jobs as well because of not just its strength but also for its highly water-resistant nature as well.
Minwax wood fillers are available in a wide range of colour schemes and shades to choose from. This essentially eliminates the need to paint over the wood filler when you are using it over something that requires painting.
Very quick in its drying time, the wood filler works just like epoxy glue. It comes in the two-part mixture. The wood filler comes with a hardener in the package that allows for a perfect mixture but due to the high thickness, maybe a bit hard to mix.
After mixing, you can apply it not just for wood, but a wide range of metal, plastic, ceramics, fibreglass, wood-based or other materials with great ease. After application, it can set in to dry in just about 15 minutes and about 30 minutes, and the material is good enough for sanding as well.
Elmer’s Wood Filler
Elmer’s E913 Carpenter’s Wood Filler adheres to its name to be a colour changing wood filler. This natural wood filler is a highly rated product that arrives in a package of 8 ounces or 16 ounces tub.
It can easily be used to lock up voids and cover up holes all over the indoors. These include furniture dents, chair repairs or wallboard. The patented formula used in this paste will change its colour to indicate its state of affairs.
For instance, the paste of the wood filler is purple when it is freshly applied. As soon as it begins to dry, the colour of the filler will turn into white.
Quick in drying, the wood filler takes about 15 minutes tops to dry up completely for minor tasks. If you are using the filler for deep voids or large dents, then you will have to wait for about 2 or 6 to 8 hours before the area is completely dry and ready to use.
This Wood filler Putty can be sanded, painted and can also be stained once the mixture is completely dry. Used mostly for light purposes, as mentioned, this putty is good enough only for internal usage.
Check out our range of timber repairs Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions.
Aqua Coat Wood Grain Filler
Aqua Coat is a low odour water-based wood grain filler. This clear gel is not only easy to use but also environmentally friendly and also highly reviewed and rated.
Beginner friendly, the Aqua Coat grain filler can be used by just about anyone from DIY enthusiasts to professional contractors too. It can be used to fill in the grain, seal up wood pores, strain raw wood, get a better finish on porous woods and much more.
It can even be used to smoothen the finish off tabletops, cabinets, millwork, pianos, millwork, guitar or other furniture as well. Not just for wood, but it can be used for plastic or other similar viscous products as well.
As the grain filler is waterborne and eco-friendly, it has a low VOC, almost negligible odour and it dries fast. It is non-flammable, non-combustible and gives you a beautiful finish once done.
The filler can be mixed with other water-soluble dyes or pigments which makes it comfortable for you to use the dye for painting up things which have been filled thus they do not look odd and out of place.
It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to dry up, and it can be sanded lightly (with a 320 grip sandpaper or higher or even a Scotchbrite sanding pad too). This has to be done immediately after application.
For better results, you can go for 2 or 3 coats on the finish. One quart can be useful to repair a whole kitchen of 30 or 40 drawers at a time.
Timbermate Wood Filler
Timbermate is a simple beginner-friendly wood grain filler. This one is made to be used mostly for the White Hardwood and is not easily printable.
Easy to apply and remove, the tub needs no extra mixing and is ready to use. For removing it, all you need to do is apply some water, and you are good to go. It gets rubbed off.
Timbermate’s grain filler putty is water-based and is non-toxic. It is latex-free and solvent-free; causes no yellowing and consists of no acrylics too. This makes it an environmentally safe wood filler.
As it is easy to use, dries up easily as well, and the fact that it is water-based, you must have guessed it that the filler is only good enough for interior uses. This can be used to fill up dents, cracks on a bench, pipe, scratches, holes in furniture and such. This cannot be used for outdoor usages as it may end up getting washed up due to bad weather.
But for all the interior tasks, it helps to maintain the integrity of the wood naturally. Please refrain from using the product on stainless steel or plastic products as it may end up reducing the steel material’s quality.
Famowood Wood Filler
FamoWood’s 40022126 latex wood filler is one of the best rated multi-purpose wood grain filler. This can be used on a single type of wood for both indoors and outdoors easily without any washing up fears.
Versatile in its application, the wood filler can fill in voids of large or small sizes easily. The final construct made from the wood putty never caves in or cracks out. This wood grain filler can handle open green wood or any other forms of cracks easily.
As it is solvent-free, it can easily be cleaned up with water too. The best part about the wood grain is that it does not have any odour to it and will not cause you to cover your noses when using it.
When filling up the voids and cracks, the unique wood colourization of the latex makes it convenient for any use and gives the end a pure wooden finish.
GoodfIlla Wood & Grain Filler
Last on our list, and we have yet another water-based grain and wood filler. The Goodfilla wood filler putty is of walnut colouring and comes with a great set of reviews and ratings and a warranty period/ money-back window as well.
While most of the fillers mentioned in the list are beginner-friendly, this one is built for pros and large grade repairs and patchwork. The wood filler can easily dry out and can be removed easily as well. All you need to do is splash some water and scrub it out.
Even after the filler is applied and cured, it can absorb a good amount of water, and this might cause some issues in humidity. Thus it is not so suggested for outdoor usage. But at the same time, it can resist good temperature changes, and this makes it an all season long indoor project worthy.
So strong is the bond that the filler can hold up a large screw onto it without movie as well. Such is the confidence for the company that they give you a 1-year money-back guarantee from the date of purchase as well.
How To Use Wood Filler
The process of applying wood fillers is simple, although it involves several steps and, because of the nature of filler, time is of the essence. Make sure you’ve prepared everything, including the filler, solvents, a putty spatula, and a putty knife, before starting.
- Sand down the surface thoroughly to ensure a tight bond.
- Before you apply the wood filler, you’ll need to prepare it first. This involves mixing your filler of choice with the right solvent. You can use a putty spatula to make sure the filler and solvent are well-mixed. Aim for a malleable and consistent substance that suits the task. If it’s too thin, it won’t cure well, and if it’s too thick, it won’t fit and might crack.
- Keep in mind that most fillers harden quickly, so you only have a small window of time between preparing the filler and applying it.
- Use the putty knife to apply the filler on the surface in the right amount. Don’t use pressure on the filler. Let it seep into the holes or cracks naturally.
- Let the filled wood dry.
- Give the surface a good sanding to smooth the rough edges and remove any excess filler.
- Apply paint or stain as needed.
As a pro tip, it’s always better to give the filler enough time to dry regardless of the time advertised on the package. A good bet is 24 hours from the time you’re done applying the filler. This gives the cured filler enough time to bond with the wood and prevents cracking.
Factors To Consider While Buying a Wood Filler
The following are some of the key factors that you need to consider while buying a wood filler.
Type of the wood filler
By now, you must have understood that wood fillers are available in two bases. Water-soluble and solvent-based. Depending on your use case, your choice will change and differ. For instance, if you need to fix something in your interiors, then you would be choosing to go for a water-soluble wood filler as it will give you greater hold at dries up very quickly. But if you need to fix something outdoors, you should probably go for a solvent-based wood filler as they will have stronger bonds and can be resistant to any hot, humid, rainy or cold climatic conditions.
Ease of mixing and using
Water-soluble wood fillers are very easy to mix and use. Most of the times, they come in packages that are readymade putties that require you to add and use irrespective of needing any other mixture.
Solvent-based wood fillers might need some mixing as it will be subjected to many factors ranging from adhesive power to colour to climatic resistance as well. Small fractures in chairs, cupboards or other such interior projects may need readymade wood filler putties but large barn based projects, do not go for easily mixed putties. Go for solvent-based models.
The colour of the wood filler is also very important to consider. This is because sometimes, the wood filler is applied in places where it will be on the showcase for eyes.
While most of the wood fillers have a wood-derived colour scheme, there are many variants with the transparent scheme as well. Here again, your choice will be on what kind of projects are you using it for. For internal projects (places where you are sure that no-one would be looking at the project), go with any colour. But for other areas, try choosing a colour that compliments the project.
Alternatively, you can also go for non-coloured putty that is paintable. These will have a consistency that lets paint stick onto them, thus making it great enough for any project. Just add and dab paint, and they are good to go.
Speed of healing
While some wood fillers heal very fast (within a few minutes of application), a few might even take an hour as well. But the time of healing is inversely related to the quality. The more time it takes to heal, the stronger the bond of sticking would be. So do not underestimate slowly healing wood fillers.
Consistency of the Filler
Thin or thick, the consistency of the filler will also play its part in helping you pick the right product. So here, you need to consider the project’s void size. Is it big and large? Wood fillers with thick consistency are the perfect choice as they will fill in pores and most of the time, an open grain woods. But for smaller cracks, less thick or thin consistency are chosen. They are easy to mix, use and also fill in faster through the cracks.
We have a wide range of Melbourne timber repairs for your home renovations. Check out Hitch Property Constructions.
Out of all the mentioned in the list, the Bondo Wood filler is the best pick of the lot. This 1 Quart bucket of wood filler putty has some of the highest reviews and ratings. It can be used not only for restoring small wood or furniture cracks but also can be sanded, painted or drilled later. This makes it a great addition to your DIY kit. The putty dries in just about 15 minutes of application, and it makes it the best wood filler to buy.
While those were our choices, we would like to hear it from you. Did you like our list or did you feel like we could have added or removed anything from it? If so, feel free to write to us in the comments section below, and our team will write back to you as soon as possible.