What's The Difference Between Wood Putty And Wood Filler

What’s The Difference Between Wood Putty And Wood Filler

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    It is likely that you will run into situations in which you need to fill in holes when you are repairing furniture or building wood products from scratch. It's possible that these are holes made by nails or nicks and cracks caused by normal wear and tear. In either scenario, you will need to choose between wood putty and wood filler in order to conceal these flaws in the wood.

    Both seasoned professionals and those who are just starting out frequently confuse one of these terms with the other. Despite the fact that they are comparable things, making the mistake of using one when you should be using the other can be disastrous for the project you are working on. Looking for the most reliable company that repairs weatherboards? No need to look any further! You have nothing to worry about when you hire Hitch Property Constructions.

    In spite of this, the differences between these two products can be tricky to grasp in their entirety. We hope that this comprehensive guide on the differences between wood putty and wood filler will be of assistance to you. Below, you will find an explanation of each, along with a comparison of the differences between the two.

    Difference Between Wood Putty and Wood Filler?

    There is not much of a distinction to be made between wood putty and wood filler from the perspective of manufacturers. There is a product that is labelled "wood filler," and there is another product that is labelled "wood putty," both of which have practically the same active ingredients.

    In spite of this, a woodworker will tell you that there is a significant distinction between wood filler and wood putty. If you had to boil the difference down to a single characteristic, it would be that wood filler can be sanded and is designed for unfinished wood, whereas wood putty cannot be sanded and is intended for use on finished wood. This is the most important distinction between the two.

    Wood Putty Is Oil Based and Remains Flexible

    Most wood putties resemble plumber's putty or window glazing. Oil-based, they can withstand moisture and solidify. They're always flexible. Because it won't wash out or crack with expanding and contracting wood, putty is best for outdoor applications.

    Putty comes in small containers because a little goes a long way when covering holes in finished wood. Putty is colorless. You can find a good match in a range of wood tones.

    Oil-based putty shouldn't be painted over with water-based paint. Using a small amount of putty and letting it dry for several days should work.

    Wood Filler May Be Water-Based, and You Can Sand It

    DAP's Plastic Wood is a popular wood filler. This filler is solvent-based, but many are water-based. Wood filler contains cellulose, limestone, and attapulgite, which are also in joint compound. Plastic Wood Latex Wood Filler, a water-based DAP product, contains limestone but no cellulose.

    Two-part epoxy wood fillers blend wood putty and wood filler. Pure plastic epoxy wood filler can be used on finished or unfinished wood. It doesn't contain cellulose, but because it's sandable, it's closer to a filler than a putty.

    Wood-grain filler is used by finishers, not these products. You spread it on a tabletop or countertop and sand it flat before applying the first surface coat. It creates a smooth, level surface for the finish.

    Should I Use Wood Filler or Wood Putty?

    Wood putty is used to fix small surface imperfections. Lacquer-based furniture patching pencils are putty sticks. Putty is used for exterior repairs because it resists the elements better than wood filler.

    Wood filler is the only option for patching interior wood because it's sandable. If you plan to stain the wood, use cellulose wood filler instead of limestone. Most woodworkers use prestained filler for furniture, flooring, and other woodwork because epoxy filler won't stain the same color as the surrounding wood.

    Wood filler contains no adhesives, so it won't bond to wood unless painted or sealed. Putty can be used to repair finished surfaces indoors. You don't need to leave putty unfinished. If the repair is small, coat it with lacquer, varnish, or water-based polyurethane.

    Advantages And Disadvantages

    Wood Putty

    Wood putty is also called "plastic wood" by woodworkers. In many workshops, it's a popular wood filler.

    Most types of wood putty contain chemicals and other active ingredients that can harm raw wood. Wood putty ingredients vary by manufacturer, but they're all oil-based. Most as contains boiled linseed oil, calcium carbonate, and a colorant.

    When wet, it resembles plastic resin and feels like clay. Wood putty's doughy texture requires a putty knife. Wood putty hardens slowly compared to wood filler. Some types harden on their own, while others need a hardening chemical.

    Long drying time is the best flaw of wood putty because lighter colors can collect dust and darken once dry. This affects the workpiece's appearance. Wood putty is versatile because it comes in different colors. Many color options make it easy to match wood stain.

    Wood putty is the best filler for outdoor furniture because it resists shrinking and sun and rain. Hitch Property Constructions repairs Melbourne weatherboards.

    It's cheaper than wood filler because it lasts longer; if it dries in the container, acetone can revive it.

    Wood putty's adhesive properties make it a great masking glue for oil-based finishes.


    More economical. The fact that a small jar of wood putty can be used for such a substantial amount of time makes it a more cost-effective filling agent. Even if it dries out while it is still in the bottle, all that is required to revive it is a few drops of acetone.

    Homes that stick together. Because wood putty possesses adhesive properties, you won't always need to use a sealant after applying it. Nevertheless, this will only be effective for oil-based coatings and finishes.

    This material is ideal for outdoor furniture. Putty, in contrast to wood filler, is resistant to shrinking, and it is more resistant to the impact of the sun and rain, making it the best option for your outdoor furniture.


    Wetter. Wood putty dries slower than wood fillers. Light-colored wood putty can darken from dust.

    Wood putty and filler differ in application time. Wood filler must be applied before staining or finishing the wood.

    Wood filler is a putty-like mixture of epoxy, lacquer, clay, and polyurethane.

    Many wood fillers are neutral, but they can be tinted or dyed to match the wood's color and grain. For a natural look, mix it with sawdust.

    Wood filler is often the best choice for filling large holes and cracks. It has many types for different uses.

    Latex filler is water-based for easy cleanup. Latex fillers mix well with dyes and seal large cracks and holes in unfinished wood.

    Epoxy and polyurethane fillers are also handy in the workshop. However, epoxy fillers require a lot of sanding, which can ruin the finish.

    Wood Filler

    Additionally, it is essential to keep in mind that wood filler is not expandable, and as a result, it will crack whenever the wood stretches or contracts. As a result, it will not be terribly suitable for use on projects that take place outside. In a similar fashion, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will cause it to deteriorate because it will dry it out.

    It will be necessary to use some sort of seal on top of the wood filler because wood filler does not have any adhesive properties. In contrast, it is more adaptable than wood putty, as it can be used on a variety of different surfaces.

    Wood filler dries much more quickly than wood putty does, and the majority of types can begin drying in as little as ten minutes after being applied. Additionally, it will be completely dry in about twenty-four hours, making it an excellent choice even when working with a tight deadline.


    A fairly rapid rate of drying. Wood filler will begin the drying process approximately ten minutes after it has been applied, and in the majority of instances, it must take a maximum of twenty-four hours to simply dry completely.

    Quickly accessible in a wide variety of forms. There is a greater variety of wood fillers available than there is wood putty. You can be certain of finding a type of wood filler that satisfies your particular requirements, whether you are looking for stainable wood filler, latex wood filler, epoxy wood filler, or polyurethane wood filler.

    More versatile. The availability of wood filler in a wide variety of types gives it greater adaptability than wood putty. In addition, there is a wide variety of applications for it when it comes to the production of indoor furniture. Due to the fact that putty is superior for a variety of finishes, many woodworkers have a tendency to use it more frequently than they use fillers.


    No adhesive residential or commercial properties. Fillers, in contrast to wood putty, do not have adhesive properties; as a result, you will still need to apply sealant on top of your filler before you can consider the workpiece finished.

    Not expandable. The expansion and contraction of the wood will have the opposite effect on wood fillers, causing them to crack instead of widen. Because of this, it will not be an excellent choice for use in the construction of outdoor furniture or other items that will be subjected to the elements.

    How to Fix Dings in Wood Baseboards

    Bondo is a polyester-resin putty that comes in two parts and was developed specifically for use in auto body repair. Those who think outside the norm, on the other hand, have actually found other applications for it. Because of its high density, it is an excellent choice for wood filler, and its high adhesiveness makes it an advantageous choice for covering concrete.

    In addition to this, it is also useful as a long-lasting patching material for drywall. To be fair, there are only a few circumstances in which it is preferable to drywall joint substance or patching compound. Because of its strength, it is an excellent filler for holes with a diameter of approximately one to four inches, such as the one that is made by a doorknob. Additionally, because of its consistency, it is ideal for repairing corner beading.

    Filling Holes

    Using an energy knife, remove any broken or chipped drywall around the hole and smooth its edges.

    Wrap the filler with newspaper. Use enough paper to wedge in the wall so you can use filler.

    Putty knife Bondo filler onto old drywall or plywood to fill the hole. Do not overdo it because you must discard unused filler. Mix it with the filler-containing hardener as directed.

    Keep the filler off the drywall's surface, but adhere it to the hole's sides. Don't overfill the hole. Concave surface is required. Remove any drywall filler immediately. Once set, you can't sand it. Hitch Property Constructions provides Melbourne weatherboard repairs.

    After 20 minutes, fill the hole with drywall joint compound and smooth it with a drywall knife. Recoat dried joint compound. Prime and paint if needed.

    Patching Corner Beading

    Make necessary repairs to a section of metal or plastic corner beading by using a paint scraper to remove dried joint substance from the affected area. The use of Bondo to repair bullnose beading after it has been dented by an effect is one of its most effective applications.

    Prepare an adequate amount of Bondo for the repair, then apply it with a trowel to the damaged area and smooth it out with a paint scraper. After it has become more solid, you can then shape it so that it blends in with the bedding that is already there.

    After the Bondo has dried, smooth the surface of the repair work using sandpaper with a grit of 150. The walls on both sides of the repair work should be covered in joint compound, and then it should be scraped. Wait for the joint substance to dry before applying a second coat. If necessary, repeat the process. After the previous coat has had time to dry, prime and paint the repair.

    FAQs About Wood Fiilers

    Let's clear up the confusion right now: Wood fillers can be sanded and stained and are best used on unfinished woodwork. Wood putty is best for repairing cracks and small holes on finished woodwork.

    If you use wood filler, it will break when the wood expands or contract. Wood putty, on the other hand, will remain in place even if the wood gets twisted. Most woodworkers also use wood putty for minor repairs and cover minor imperfections. This includes nail holes, small blemishes, and minor joint mismatches.

    No, the wood filler does not harden without adding a hardener. The hardening process happens due to a chemical reaction between the wood filler and the hardener which is also known as the catalyst. The hardener/catalyst mediates the chemical reaction to harden the wood filler quickly.

    Once you're sure that the wood filler is completely dry, you will want to sand over any repaired areas again. Sanding is necessary to create an even surface for painting. Sand the area until you can run your hand over it and feel very little difference between the two surfaces.

    One of the first distinctions to keep in mind is that wood filler is prone to shrinking and cracking when it's exposed to fluctuating temperatures, so it shouldn't be used outdoors.

    Scroll to Top