How Strong Is Wood Filler? In-depth Answer

Wood filler is a valuable tool for repairing wood surfaces, and with the right tools, techniques, and patience, you can achieve great results. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional woodworker, understanding how to use wood filler and knowing how to choose the right filler for your needs can help you achieve professional-looking results every time. However, how strong is wood filler?

The strength of a wood filler depends on the type of wood filler that you use. If you are looking for a strong wood filler, you should consider using epoxy. Epoxy is much stronger than sawdust and glue. It is designed for larger projects and can even be used to fill holes in concrete.

Wood fillers can be made of different materials such as sawdust and glue. Some are stronger than others so it’s important to know how strong your specific product is before you use it on a large-scale job.

What Is Wood Filler For?

Wood filler is a type of putty or paste that is used to fill cracks, holes, gaps, and joints in wooden structures. It can also be used to improve the appearance of wooden surfaces by filling any cracks, dents, or other imperfections. In addition to its cosmetic benefits, wood filler can also enhance the strength of wooden structures by filling any weak spots. This makes it an ideal material for repairing and restoring wooden furniture, cabinetry, floors, decks, and more.

Types Of Wood Filler

There are several types of wood fillers available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are six of the most common types of wood filler:

Elmer's E855 Carpenter's Wood Filler, 3.25-Ounce Tube, White - 6 Pack
Gorilla All Purpose Wood Filler, 6oz Tube, Natural (Pack of 1)
Minwax 448500000 Color-Matched Filler Wood Putty, Cherry 6 oz
DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Latex Wood Filler, White, 6 Oz (7079800585)
Minwax 42852000 Stainable Wood Filler, 6-Ounce
Minwax 110066666 No 6 Blend-Fil Wood Repair Stain Pencil, Early American
Elmer's E855 Carpenter's Wood Filler, 3.25-Ounce Tube, White - 6 Pack
Gorilla All Purpose Wood Filler, 6oz Tube, Natural (Pack of 1)
Minwax 448500000 Color-Matched Filler Wood Putty, Cherry 6 oz
DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Latex Wood Filler, White, 6 Oz (7079800585)
Minwax 42852000 Stainable Wood Filler, 6-Ounce
Minwax 110066666 No 6 Blend-Fil Wood Repair Stain Pencil, Early American
$24.99
$8.09
$10.35
$7.00
$8.75
$7.09
Elmer's E855 Carpenter's Wood Filler, 3.25-Ounce Tube, White - 6 Pack
Elmer's E855 Carpenter's Wood Filler, 3.25-Ounce Tube, White - 6 Pack
$24.99
Gorilla All Purpose Wood Filler, 6oz Tube, Natural (Pack of 1)
Gorilla All Purpose Wood Filler, 6oz Tube, Natural (Pack of 1)
$8.09
Minwax 448500000 Color-Matched Filler Wood Putty, Cherry 6 oz
Minwax 448500000 Color-Matched Filler Wood Putty, Cherry 6 oz
$10.35
DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Latex Wood Filler, White, 6 Oz (7079800585)
DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Latex Wood Filler, White, 6 Oz (7079800585)
$7.00
Minwax 42852000 Stainable Wood Filler, 6-Ounce
Minwax 42852000 Stainable Wood Filler, 6-Ounce
$8.75
Minwax 110066666 No 6 Blend-Fil Wood Repair Stain Pencil, Early American
Minwax 110066666 No 6 Blend-Fil Wood Repair Stain Pencil, Early American
$7.09

Epoxy: This is a two-part resin that is mixed together to form a strong and durable filler. It dries quickly and is ideal for filling large gaps and cracks, as well as for bonding pieces of wood together.

Polyurethane: This is a one-part filler that is easy to use and dries quickly. It is resistant to water and is ideal for outdoor use, as well as for filling gaps and cracks in wood surfaces.

Acrylic: This is a one-part filler that dries to a hard, plastic-like consistency. It is easy to sand and paint, and is ideal for filling small cracks and imperfections in wooden surfaces.

Wood Putty: This is a traditional type of filler that is made from sawdust and a binder. It is easy to sand and paint, and is ideal for filling small cracks and imperfections in wooden surfaces.

Carpenter’s Wood Filler: This is a one-part filler that is designed specifically for use by carpenters and woodworkers. It dries quickly and is ideal for filling gaps and cracks in wooden structures.

Solvent-Based Wood Filler: This is a one-part filler that is dissolved in a solvent to form a putty-like consistency. It dries quickly and is ideal for filling gaps and cracks in wooden structures.

Related Post: Applying Polyurethane Over Old Polyurethane: What You Need to Know

Factors To Consider When Gauging the Strength of a Wood Filler

Wood filler is a handy tool for fixing holes, cracks, and gaps in wood surfaces. However, not all wood fillers are created equal, and the strength of a wood filler depends on several factors. In this section, we will discuss seven important factors to consider when gauging the strength of a wood filler.

Type of Wood

The type of wood that needs to be filled is a crucial factor in determining the strength of the wood filler. Some types of wood, such as hardwoods, are more dense and less porous, making it more difficult for the filler to adhere. Softwoods, on the other hand, are more porous and absorbent, making it easier for the filler to bond. It is important to choose a wood filler that is compatible with the type of wood you are working with.

Porosity of Wood

The porosity of the wood is another important factor to consider. A highly porous wood will require a filler that is able to penetrate and adhere to the wood surface, while a less porous wood may require a stronger filler that can stand up to wear and tear. A wood filler with a high solids content is typically stronger and more durable.

Type of Wood Filler Used

There are several types of wood filler, including epoxy, polyester, cellulose, and latex. Each type of filler has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the type of filler you choose will depend on the specific job and the factors mentioned above. For example, epoxy is a very strong and durable filler, but it may not be suitable for all types of wood.

Application Technique

The application technique also plays a role in the strength of the wood filler. If the filler is not applied evenly and without air bubbles, it will be weaker and more prone to failure. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and to take your time to ensure that the filler is applied evenly and without defects.

Drying Time

The drying time of the filler is another important factor to consider. If the filler is not allowed to dry completely, it will be weaker and more prone to failure. Different fillers have different drying times, so it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper drying time.

Exposure to Moisture

Exposure to moisture can have a significant impact on the strength of the wood filler. If the filler is exposed to moisture before it is completely dry, it will weaken and may even break down completely. It is important to choose a wood filler that is compatible with the level of moisture exposure the wood will experience.

Temperature

Temperature can also have an impact on the strength of the wood filler. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, the filler may not bond properly or may become brittle. It is important to choose a wood filler that is compatible with the temperature range the wood will experience.

How To Use A Wood Filler In 6 Steps

Tools Needed

Dura-Gold Pro Series Classic Rectangle Hand Sanding Block Kit with 3 Blocks, 5", 7-3/4" and 10" Set, Hook & Loop Backing and PSA Sandpaper Conversion Adapter Pad - Auto Paint Prep Sand Woodworking
56 Pieces Sandpapers 60 to 2000 Assorted Grit Dry Wet Abrasive Sandpaper 9 x 11 Inches Waterproof Sanding Paper Sheets for Metal Sanding Wood Furniture Finishing Automotive Polishing
BOSHCRFAT 10 Pack Sanding Block, Washable and Reusable Sanding Sponge for Wood Drywall Metal Glasses Coarse/Medium/Fine/Superfine in 60/80/100/120/180/220 Grit Sandpaper Block Sand Paper Brick
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable - Pack of 48, 12 x16-Inch, Blue/White/Yellow
ROAR Clear Safety Glasses 12 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction,gardening, Industrial Safety, Craft
ROAR Clear Premium Safety Glasses 6 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction, Industrial Safety, Craft
Dura-Gold Pro Series Classic Rectangle Hand Sanding Block Kit with 3 Blocks, 5", 7-3/4" and 10" Set, Hook & Loop Backing and PSA Sandpaper Conversion Adapter Pad - Auto Paint Prep Sand Woodworking
56 Pieces Sandpapers 60 to 2000 Assorted Grit Dry Wet Abrasive Sandpaper 9 x 11 Inches Waterproof Sanding Paper Sheets for Metal Sanding Wood Furniture Finishing Automotive Polishing
BOSHCRFAT 10 Pack Sanding Block, Washable and Reusable Sanding Sponge for Wood Drywall Metal Glasses Coarse/Medium/Fine/Superfine in 60/80/100/120/180/220 Grit Sandpaper Block Sand Paper Brick
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable - Pack of 48, 12 x16-Inch, Blue/White/Yellow
ROAR Clear Safety Glasses 12 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction,gardening, Industrial Safety, Craft
ROAR Clear Premium Safety Glasses 6 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction, Industrial Safety, Craft
$29.99
$19.99
$12.99
$25.70
$17.99
$25.99
Dura-Gold Pro Series Classic Rectangle Hand Sanding Block Kit with 3 Blocks, 5", 7-3/4" and 10" Set, Hook & Loop Backing and PSA Sandpaper Conversion Adapter Pad - Auto Paint Prep Sand Woodworking
Dura-Gold Pro Series Classic Rectangle Hand Sanding Block Kit with 3 Blocks, 5", 7-3/4" and 10" Set, Hook & Loop Backing and PSA Sandpaper Conversion Adapter Pad - Auto Paint Prep Sand Woodworking
$29.99
56 Pieces Sandpapers 60 to 2000 Assorted Grit Dry Wet Abrasive Sandpaper 9 x 11 Inches Waterproof Sanding Paper Sheets for Metal Sanding Wood Furniture Finishing Automotive Polishing
56 Pieces Sandpapers 60 to 2000 Assorted Grit Dry Wet Abrasive Sandpaper 9 x 11 Inches Waterproof Sanding Paper Sheets for Metal Sanding Wood Furniture Finishing Automotive Polishing
$19.99
BOSHCRFAT 10 Pack Sanding Block, Washable and Reusable Sanding Sponge for Wood Drywall Metal Glasses Coarse/Medium/Fine/Superfine in 60/80/100/120/180/220 Grit Sandpaper Block Sand Paper Brick
BOSHCRFAT 10 Pack Sanding Block, Washable and Reusable Sanding Sponge for Wood Drywall Metal Glasses Coarse/Medium/Fine/Superfine in 60/80/100/120/180/220 Grit Sandpaper Block Sand Paper Brick
$12.99
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable - Pack of 48, 12 x16-Inch, Blue/White/Yellow
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable - Pack of 48, 12 x16-Inch, Blue/White/Yellow
$25.70
ROAR Clear Safety Glasses 12 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction,gardening, Industrial Safety, Craft
ROAR Clear Safety Glasses 12 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction,gardening, Industrial Safety, Craft
$17.99
ROAR Clear Premium Safety Glasses 6 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction, Industrial Safety, Craft
ROAR Clear Premium Safety Glasses 6 pairs per box Eyewear Protective Glasses Safety Goggle Airsoft Goggle, Strong Impact Resistant Lens for Laboratory, Construction, Industrial Safety, Craft
$25.99
  • Sandpaper
  • Block Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Tack cloth
  • Finish

Clean the Surface

The first step in using wood filler is to clean the surface of the wood. This includes removing any dirt, dust, or debris that may interfere with the bonding process. It is also important to sand the surface of the wood to create a rough surface that will help the filler to bond.

Fill the Hole or Gap

Once the surface of the wood is clean and sanded, it’s time to fill the hole or gap with the wood filler. There are various types of wood fillers available, so choose the right one for your specific repair. If you are filling a large gap, it is best to fill it in several thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. This will help to prevent cracks from forming in the filler as it dries.

Smooth the Surface

After the filler has been applied, it is important to smooth the surface to achieve an even and seamless finish. You can use a putty knife, trowel, or sandpaper to do this. Be sure to apply enough pressure to the tool to ensure that the filler spreads evenly and fills the gap completely.

Let the Filler Dry

Once you have smoothed the surface of the filler, it is time to let it dry. The drying time will vary depending on the type of filler used and the conditions in the environment. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times, as over-drying can cause the filler to crack.

Sand the Surface

Once the filler has dried, it is important to sand the surface to achieve a smooth and even finish. Start with a rough grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit until the surface is smooth and even. Be sure to sand in the direction of the grain of the wood to avoid scratches.

Apply Finish

It’s time to apply the finish to the repaired area. This can be done with paint, stain, or varnish. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. A clear finish will help to protect the repaired area from further damage.

Related Post: Is It Better to Stain or Paint a Deck?: Answer By A Pro

How Do I Remove Wood Filler?

Removing wood filler can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. There are several methods for removing wood filler, and the right method depends on the type of filler used. Here are six steps to help you remove wood filler.

Determine the Type of Filler

Before you start removing the wood filler, it is important to determine the type of filler used. This will help you determine the best method for removing it. Different types of fillers may require different methods for removal, so it is important to know what you are working with.

Soften the Filler

Once you have determined the type of filler, the next step is to soften it. Depending on the type of filler, you can use a solvent or heat to soften it. For example, if the filler is an oil-based filler, you can use mineral spirits or paint thinner to soften it. If the filler is a water-based filler, you can use warm water to soften it.

Scrape the Filler

Once the filler has been softened, you can use a scraper to remove it. Make sure to use a scraper that is appropriate for the type of wood you are working with. Be careful not to damage the surface of the wood as you scrape the filler.

Sand the Surface

After removing the filler, you may need to sand the surface of the wood to smooth out any rough spots. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and sand until the surface is smooth.

Clean the Surface

Before applying a finish, it is important to clean the surface of the wood. This will help to remove any debris or residue that may have been left behind after removing the filler. You can use a clean cloth and a solvent to clean the surface.

Apply Finish

Once the surface is clean, you can apply a finish to the wood. This may include a clear coat, a stain, or a paint. The type of finish you choose will depend on the type of wood and the intended use of the piece.

Tips for Working with Wood Filler

Working with wood filler can be a bit tricky, but with a few tips, you can achieve great results. Here are seven tips to help you work with wood filler.

Choose the Right Type of Filler

There are several types of wood filler available, so it is important to choose the right type for your project. Consider factors such as the type of wood, the type of finish you will use, and the intended use of the piece when choosing a filler.

Use the Right Tools

Using the right tools is essential for achieving great results when working with wood filler. Make sure you have the proper tools for cleaning, sanding, and smoothing the surface of the wood.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using wood filler. This will ensure that you use the filler correctly and achieve the best results.

Be Patient

Allow the filler to dry completely before sanding or applying a finish. If you rush the drying process, you may end up with a rough or uneven surface.

Test the Filler on a Scrap Piece of Wood

Before using the filler on a larger project, it is a good idea to test it on a scrap piece of wood. This will help you to get a feel for the filler and make any necessary adjustments before working on a larger piece.

Store the Filler Properly

Store the filler in a cool, dry place to ensure that it does not dry out or harden prematurely. This will help to extend the life of the filler and ensure that it is ready to use when you need it.

Dispose of Leftover Filler Properly

After using the filler, be sure to properly dispose of any leftover material. Some fillers may contain harmful chemicals, so it is important to dispose of them in accordance with local regulations and guidelines.

Comparison of Different Types of Wood Fillers

When it comes to repairing holes, cracks, and gaps in wooden surfaces, there are several types of wood fillers available. It is important to understand the differences between each type so you can choose the right one for your project.

Epoxy Filler: This type of filler is known for its strength and durability. It is ideal for use on outdoor woods and in high-traffic areas because it is resistant to water and wear and tear.

Polyurethane Filler: Polyurethane filler is similar to epoxy filler in terms of strength and durability. It is also resistant to water, but it dries faster and is more flexible than epoxy.

Latex Filler: Latex filler is a water-based product that is easy to clean up and is suitable for use on interior woods. It is not as durable as epoxy or polyurethane filler, but it is a good choice for small repairs and touch-ups.

Oil-Based Filler: This type of filler is easy to work with and dries slowly, giving you plenty of time to sand and shape it. It is not as strong as epoxy or polyurethane filler, but it is suitable for use on interior woods.

Putty Filler: Putty filler is a soft, pliable material that is easy to shape and sand. It is not as strong as other types of filler, but it is a good choice for small repairs and touch-ups.

Solvent-Based Filler: This type of filler dries quickly and is ideal for use on outdoor woods. It is not as durable as epoxy or polyurethane filler, but it is resistant to water and weather.

Pros and Cons of Using Wood Fillers

Using wood fillers can be a great way to repair wooden surfaces, but there are also some downsides to consider. Here are six pros and cons of using wood fillers:

Pros:

Easy to Use: Wood fillers are easy to apply and can be used to repair a variety of problems, including holes, cracks, and gaps.

Cost-Effective: Wood fillers are an affordable way to repair wooden surfaces and are a much cheaper alternative to replacing the entire piece.

Versatile: There are many types of wood fillers available, so you can choose the right one for your project based on the type of wood, the intended use of the piece, and the type of finish you will use.

Durable: Some types of wood fillers, such as epoxy and polyurethane, are very durable and can withstand wear and tear and exposure to water.

Cons:

Not Ideal for Large Repairs: Wood fillers may not be the best choice for large repairs, as they may not be strong enough to withstand the stress of heavy use.

Not Suitable for Outdoor Use: Some types of fillers, such as latex and putty, are not suitable for use on outdoor woods. If you need to repair an outdoor piece, you will need to choose a filler that is resistant to water and weather.

Importance of Properly Preparing the Surface Before Filling

Improves Adhesion: Preparing the surface properly before filling helps to create a rough surface that allows the filler to better bond to the wood. This helps to ensure a strong and lasting repair.

Increases Durability: When the surface is not properly prepared, the filler may not adhere properly, which can lead to cracking or chipping over time. Proper surface preparation helps to increase the durability of the repair and prevent further damage to the wood.

Enhances the Appearance: Proper surface preparation can also improve the appearance of the repair. A smooth, even surface will give a more professional and polished look to the finished project.

Saves Time and Money: Proper preparation can save time and money in the long run. A poorly prepared surface may require multiple coats of filler and repeated sanding, which can be time-consuming and costly. By preparing the surface correctly, you can ensure that the repair will be completed correctly and efficiently the first time.

Alternative Methods for Repairing Wood Surfaces

Wood Putty: Wood putty is a soft, pliable material that is used to fill small cracks and holes in wood surfaces. Unlike wood filler, it does not harden and can be sanded and painted to match the surrounding surface.

Wood Glue: Wood glue can be used to fill small gaps and cracks in wood surfaces. Unlike wood filler, it dries clear and is suitable for use on visible surfaces.

Veneers: Veneers are thin slices of wood that can be applied to cover damaged or unattractive surfaces. Veneers are a good option for larger areas of damage and are available in a variety of wood types and finishes.

Sanding: Sanding can be used to smooth rough or damaged surfaces. Sanding can be a time-consuming process, but it can also be an effective way to repair small damages to the surface of the wood.

Importance of Regular Maintenance and Repair of Wooden Structures

Extends the Life of the Structure: Regular maintenance and repairs help to extend the life of the structure and prevent further damage from occurring. This can save money and resources in the long run by avoiding the need for major repairs down the road.

Improves Appearance: Regular maintenance and repairs can also improve the appearance of the structure. A well-maintained structure will look cleaner and more attractive, enhancing the overall look of the property.

Increases Safety: Proper maintenance and repairs can help to ensure the safety of the structure. For example, repairing loose railings or fixing unstable floorboards can prevent accidents and injuries.

Increases Value: A well-maintained structure is more valuable than one that is in disrepair. Regular maintenance and repairs can help to increase the value of the property and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Avoids Costly Repairs: By addressing small problems before they become major issues, regular maintenance and repairs can help to avoid costly repairs in the future.

Protects the Environment: Regular maintenance and repairs can also help to protect the environment. For example, fixing leaks and fixing structural issues can help to conserve energy and reduce waste.

FAQs 

What is the Strongest Wood Filler?

The strength of a wood filler depends on several factors, including the type of wood, the type of filler used, and the application technique. Some of the strongest wood fillers include epoxy, two-part fillers, and resin-based fillers.

How Long Does Wood Filler Take to Dry?

The drying time of wood filler varies depending on the type of filler used, the thickness of the application, and the ambient temperature and humidity. On average, wood filler takes anywhere from several hours to several days to dry completely.

Can You Paint Over Wood Filler?

Yes, you can paint over wood filler once it has dried completely. Sand the surface of the filler to create a smooth surface, and then apply a primer before painting.

Can You Sand Wood Filler?

Yes, you can sand wood filler once it has dried completely. Sanding the filler will help to create a smooth surface that is ready for painting or staining.

Can Wood Filler Be Used on Outdoor Woods?

Yes, wood filler can be used on outdoor woods. However, be sure to choose a filler that is specifically designed for outdoor use and that is resistant to moisture and other environmental factors.

How Do You Remove Dried Wood Filler?

To remove dried wood filler, you can soften the filler using a solvent, such as paint thinner or mineral spirits. Then, scrape the filler using a putty knife, sand the surface to remove any remaining filler, and clean the surface before applying a new finish.

Conclusion

Wood fillers are flexible materials that can stretch to conform to any shape and size. They have great adhesion properties which allow the thin layer of compound applied on a surface to stick tightly onto it while still retaining its flexibility because they do not contain solvents or hardeners. Wood putty does not completely harden, but rather cures over time to a very tough and durable material that serves as an effective bond between the existing surface and any new work done.