Something I’ve learned during my time on this planet is that people make mistakes. Fortunately, there is usually a way to fix the problem, which is why pencils come with erasers, right? The same is true when it comes to home improvement and woodworking projects.
Doing projects at home requires a lot of patience and some skill, but what happens when you make a mistake? What if you make a hole bigger than it’s supposed to be? Unfortunately, that means you might have to scrap the whole thing, right?
However, there are ways to correct these mistakes that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Wood filler and wood putty are a couple of common items you can use to fix defects or repair mistakes. It’s important to know the differences between the two so you know which one to use. Looking for the best weatherboard repairs company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Let’s take a closer look at wood filler and wood putty, along with how they can be used to address mistakes or imperfections in your project. Before we get too far along though, let’s take a second and consider the differences between the two.
What Types of Wood Repair Filler to Use
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. Others lack pliability and workability needed for certain small jobs, while 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.
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.
Why Use Wood Filler
There are plenty of benefits to using wood filler, so let’s review a few of them here.
While it’s important to create good, quality work no matter what the project, sometimes it’s nice to have something that works quickly. Wood fillers are perfect for a scenario where you need to get something done in a hurry.
Once you apply wood filler, it dries quickly. Of course, drying time will depend on the type of wood filler and the product you select; however, many options on the market can dry in 10 to 20 minutes.
Ideal for Porous Surfaces
Fillers are ideally suited for work on porous surfaces. If you discover that the surface you’re using isn’t working very well, try sanding it down before you apply wood filler.
Also, keep in mind that wood filler is great if you’re working with unfinished lumber. If you apply wood filler to a finished project, you’ll discover that the surface is uneven and bumpy. The challenge here is that you’re going to have a hard time smoothing it down.
On the other hand, if you use an unfinished surface that already has holes, you can use the wood filler and then sand it down later.
Great for Filling Big Holes
The great thing about wood filler is that no matter how big or deep the hole is, it’s there to save your project. It can be difficult to find anything better when it comes to repairing cracks or holes in the surface of the wood.
If you do need to use wood filler to repair a big hole, remember to smooth out the surface beforehand with some sandpaper. After you’ve used the wood filler, allow it to dry, then paint it to get a nice, smooth finish.
When Not to Use Wood Filler
Something to keep in mind before you apply wood filler to your project is that wood tends to shrink or expand depending on weather or other environmental factors.
The problem here is that wood filler doesn’t offer the flexibility needed to adapt to this type of shrinking and expanding. As a result, it tends to easily break, which means it’s best to use wood filler on furniture or wood projects that will remain indoors and away from environmental changes.
Now that we’ve covered what wood filler is and when it’s best to use it let’s switch gears for a bit and talk about wood putty.
Where wood filler is usually used on unfinished wood, wood putty is typically applied already varnished and stained surfaces. You may also hear it called “plastic wood.”
Even though there are a variety of methods used to create wood putty, the vast majority of manufacturers make theirs of oil-based components and calcium carbonate. As a result, when you add water to the mixture, the wood putty behaves like a soft clay.
This clay-like consistency gives the wood putty the ability to stay wet for long periods, so if you’re working on a project that requires a quick turnaround, you may have to search for alternative methods.
When using wood putty, it’s ideal to use it on finished surfaces. This is due to the chemicals it contains, which you shouldn’t use on raw wood. After you’ve applied the wood putty to your project, be sure to wash off any extra residue and be sure to sand it down to get a smooth surface.
Minwax 13610000 Wood Putty
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Why Use Wood Putty?
There are several reasons to use wood putty with your most recent woodworking project. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Easy to Apply
One of the best things about wood putty is that it’s easy to apply to nearly any type of wood surface. You can use a putty knife to cover large areas or your finger to dab a bit on smaller areas. At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer Melbourne weatherboard repairs services.
If you find any extra wood putty on the surface of your project, just grab a damp rag and wipe it off, then let it dry until it sets.
Various Shade Selection
Stained and finished surface take on certain shades and textures, so it only makes sense that wood putty comes in options that match. It’s imperative that you select a wood putty with similar tone and shade, so your repair doesn’t draw attention.
So as you go about working on your wood project, be sure to find a tone that matches the surface of the wood you’re repairing.
No Additional Adhesives Required
Wood putty is a great product for fixing cracks and holes, but many people don’t know that it can also behave as a sealing agent. Why does that matter? Because it means you don’t have to purchase an additional adhesive sealer for the surface of your project.
One last way that wood putty is beneficial is through the savings it provides over the course of time. That’s because wood putty is durable, which means you don’t have to fix the repair over and over.
The nice thing about wood putty is that even if you purchase one of the smaller containers it comes in, you should still have plenty to last for a few projects. If you don’t need to use all of it, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place.
Why Not Use Wood Putty
Perhaps the biggest reason not to use wood putty is due to the potential harm it can cause raw wood. Because of the ingredients used to make wood putty, using it on unfinished timber can result in damaging the surface of your project before you’re able to stain it.
How Do They Compare?
So we’ve talked a little bit about wood filler and wood putty, but how do they stack up against one another? Even though they’re similar products, they do have their own distinct areas of use.
Applying to Wood
Both wood filler and wood putty are used on timber; however, when both are applied can make a huge difference. Wood filler is used before staining or finishing, whereas wood putty is ideal for use on a finished surface.
Usually, wood filler all contain some type of solvent or bulking agent that allows it to bind and hold everything together. The type of wood filler you select will vary and contain various types of compounds. This could include clay, wood fibre, epoxy, and latex.
Putty, however, is dependent on the ingredients the manufacturer uses. This will vary by brand, but almost all wood putty has a particular subset of ingredients. While the vast majority use oil-based compounds, some might deviate a little based on colour or tone.
Time to Dry
We already know that wood putty takes quite a while longer to dry than wood filler. For the most part, wood filler takes around 15-20 minutes before it is dry and ready to be sanded. However, if you’re fixing a large hole, you may have to wait a while longer.
By comparison, wood putty takes a considerable amount of time before its completely dry. You’ll need to let it dry for several hours before it’s done. There are some instances when you might need to let it dry for 24 hours.
When They’re Used
Wood fillers are used primarily on furniture that’s going to be used indoors. As a matter of fact, it’s not a good idea to use it on outdoor projects, as wood filler doesn’t have the necessary flexibility to adjust to harsh outdoor climate changes.
Wood putties, on the other hand, are great to use for either outdoor or indoor woodworking projects. The product holds its structure very well, plus it’s resistant to high temperatures and water.
Choosing the right filler
Surface damage and imperfections can happen anywhere and in any substrate. Repairing this damage can seem a simple case of filling the hole and then redecorating. However, with such a variety of fillers available to the professional painter and decorator, choosing the right product can be daunting!
Brewers pride themselves on offering first-rate advice and guidance to help customers achieve the best results and are on hand to guide the trade professional through the array of filler products and uses available.
Surface damage and imperfections can happen anywhere and in any substrate.
Surface damage and imperfections can happen anywhere in any substrate.
Mixed with water, powder fillers are often a cheaper option over other forms of filler, and there are many options for both internal and external jobs.
Ready-mixed lightweight fillers are very convenient and can be used for small to medium-size cracks and holes. Spreads easily, paintable and won’t shrink or crack. Sanding may not be required.
Ready Mixed Fillers:
Very convenient, they are a quick and easy solution and are very easy to apply and spread. Ideal for multi surfaces, for filling in small gaps and cracks.
Specially formulated fillers can have extra benefits such as being waterproof and quick drying.
Choosing the right filler for the job is important to achieve the best finish.
Generally made of flexible acrylic, mastic caulk has a smooth plastic-type texture. Best used for filling gaps between skirting boards, doorframes or the edges of shelves and the wall. Lines of caulk can be prone to cracking if applied in the wrong conditions. Always follow the manufacturer’s advice on application, drying and painting over caulk.
There are two types of wood filler: Ready-mixed and two-part fillers (a mix of filler and chemical hardener). These come in a number of wood colours to make them inconspicuous, but some are also stainable once applied. Two-part fillers should be used in a ventilated area due to their strong odour. Two-part fillers will set very quickly, and the hard finish can be sanded smooth in far less time than their ready mixed counter-part.
High-performance wood fillers can provide a dramatic solution for degraded sections of wooden features such as window frames and sills. Using the right tools, high-performance fillers can rebuild rotten wood and fill deep holes, restoring them back to their former glory. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of weatherboard repairs Melbourne services.
Some Wood fillers are also known as ‘wood putty’, ‘grain filler’ and ‘plastic wood’, and are often composed of wood dust combined with a binder which dries as well as, in some cases, giving colour to imitate specific wood types.
Have you got everything you need for a perfect finish? Sandpaper, filling knife, dust sheets, caulk gun and scraper?
In all of the above-mentioned filler types, you will find products specifically for interior and exterior use. There are also specially formulated fillers for specific substrates and to meet particular demands such as being waterproof, quickly paintable, easily sandable, quick-drying or able to be nailed or screwed following application.