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Wood is undoubtedly durable and long-lasting—not to mention stunning and versatile—and yet it's not indestructible. When solid wood is exposed to moisture and general wear-and-tear, it can develop cracks, holes, divots, scratches, and blemishes.
The good news is that, thanks to wood fillers, you don't necessarily need to replace the material. Whether you're working with natural wood floors, cabinets, furniture, or an outdoor surface, there's a product out there that can fill in crevices, seal nail holes, and blend other imperfections.
Here are the best wood fillers you can buy today.
Best Overall: DAP Plastic Wood All Purpose Wood Filler
What do buyers say? 89% of 3,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Coming in as our number one pick is DAP Plastic Wood. This all-purpose, solvent-based wood filler is formulated with real wood fibers. It looks and acts like actual wood, except once it hardens, it's three times as strong. You can sand, drill, cut, stain, and paint it without worrying about splitting, shrinking, or cracking. It even works as a sturdy anchor for nails and screws.
DAP's heavy-duty, professional-grade filler comes in multiple finish colors, including natural, golden oak, red oak, walnut, and white. The no-mix formula makes it easy to spread in an even, smooth layer on your furniture, doors, windows, or woodwork.
Best Multi-Use: Minwax Color-Matched Wood Filler
If you've got multiple projects in mind, reach for Minwax Color-Matched Wood Filler. The reliable no-sand formula fills in cracks, nail holes, gouges, and other defects in finished or unfinished wood.
You can use it indoors or outside on a variety of surfaces, like flooring, baseboards, furniture, cabinetry, decking, and doors. Minwax Wood Filler comes in various wood grain colors, as well as plain white. Once it dries, you can sand, saw, cut, varnish, and paint it.
Best Exterior: 3M Bondo Wood Filler
For exterior projects, we recommend Bondo Wood Filler. The two-part formula mixes into a wood-like medium brown hue, then restores and rebuilds rotting or otherwise damaged wood. You can even use it to fill in entire missing pieces.
Just 25 minutes after applying this non-shrinking filler, you can plane, drill, route, or saw it as desired. Not only that, but you can stain or paint cured Bondo just like you would real wood.
Best Interior: Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler Interior
The best option for indoor projects is Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler Interior. This little tube makes it easy to apply to cracks, splits, and holes on your painted surfaces.
It's formulated to resist cracking and shrinking and can be sanded to a perfectly smooth finish. Once dry, you can paint over the white color to match your floorboards, molding, cabinets, doors, or furniture.
Best for Flooring: Coconix Professional Floor and Furniture Repair Kit
Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit is great to have on hand for when you need to tend to chips, dents, and scratches on your hardwood. You'll get ten mixable colors, allowing you to get the perfect shade to match your flooring.
It also comes with wood putty for mending deeper cracks and divots. As the name suggests, it can be used to fill in imperfections on furniture as well. Additionally, Coconix backs this product with a one-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best for Kitchen Cabinets: Aqua Coat Water-Based Gel Cabinet Grain Filler
Cracks in your cabinetry? Pick up a tub of Aqua Coat. This water-based filler is designed for filling in grains, sealing pores, and refinishing wood cabinets.
The gel formula applies evenly, dries within an hour, and provides a smooth-as-glass finish. Once it cures, you can sand and paint your cabinets as you please.
Best Stainable: Elmer's Carpenter's Stainable Wood Filler
Elmer's Carpenter's Stainable Wood Filler is an impressive product. Containing actual wood fibers, it looks and acts like the real thing, only stronger. The non-structural formula effortlessly fills in gouges, cracks, and holes on indoor and outdoor surfaces.
Once dry, this wood filler can be sanded by hand or with a high-speed sanding tool. It can also be stained, varnished, and painted. Plus, it sturdily holds nails and screws and resists cracking and shrinking over time.
Best for Big Jobs: Gork's Goodfilla Water Based Wood & Grain Filler
For bigger projects, we recommend getting a tub of Goodfella Wood & Grain Filler. The water-based formula fills and conceals cracks, holes, knots, and splits on a variety of surfaces. It comes in three sizes (8 ounces, 1 quart, or 1 gallon), so you should have plenty to cover one or more large jobs.
When Goodfella dries, it's easy to sand, and you can rest assured it won't crack, sink, or shrink. Additionally, it can be stained and finished once it cures or tinted before it's applied.
Best for Small Jobs: Rust-Oleum Varathane Fill Stick for Wood Repair
For smaller projects and touch-ups, your best bet is a Varathane Fill Stick. It comes in ten realistic-looking colors to match most wood grains and finishes.
This pocket-sized wood filler applies like a marker and effortlessly fills in nail holes, cracks, blemishes, and other surface defects with its wax-based formula. It dries within 10 minutes and can be easily cleaned up with soap and water.
Best for Painting: FamoWood Wood Filler
FamoWood is a professional-grade latex wood filler. It can be applied to both interior and exterior surfaces and dries in just 15 minutes.
This solvent-free product comes in various colors to match real wood species. You can also stain or paint over it in virtually any color, as it's formulated to accept different types of paint just like solid wood.
DAP Plastic Wood (view at Home Depot) is the best wood filler overall. We appreciate that the heavy-duty, professional-grade formula looks and performs like actual wood, only stronger. That said, Minwax Color-Matched Wood Filler (view at Amazon) is a close runner-up on account of its ultra-strong, multi-purpose formula.
What to Look for in Wood Filler
Type of Wood Fillers
There are several different types of wood fillers, each with benefits and drawbacks. These types include gypsum, epoxy, latex, and cellulose.
- Gypsum wood fillers are great for indoor repairs on baseboards and drywall. They are made out of water and gypsum dust, which dries to the consistency of hardwood after about two hours. However, gypsum wood fillers remain susceptible to water damage, so they should not be used outdoors or in any high-humidity areas, like the bathroom or kitchen.
- Epoxy wood fillers are incredibly durable and resistant to dust, dirt, and water. They can be stained or painted and are best suited for use outdoors as protection against wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Epoxy wood fillers can even hold screws after they have been allowed to fully cure. Just keep in mind that these fillers come in two parts and must be mixed before application.
- Latex wood fillers are another option that for outdoor locations. They also require less prep time than epoxies and are relatively easy to work with. A latex filler takes only a few minutes to set, which can be beneficial when you are in a hurry to beat the rain, but the rapid set time can also cause some problems. If you are not careful during the initial application, you may need to remove the wood filler and reapply it to get a flush finish.
- Cellulose wood fillers are commonly used indoors, though there are some products that indicate they can be used outdoors. Check the manufacturer's directions to be certain before deciding on a cellulose wood filler. These products can be mixed with stains prior to application for an excellent color match.
Wood fillers are intended for a variety of purposes, like filling nail holes, fixing baseboard cracks, or even helping to seal exterior siding. The right wood filler for your next project depends on how the filler will be used and where the filler will be used. If you are working on a small, specialized project, then it's a good idea to search for a wood filler that has the most accurate color, texture, and resistance for the job.
However, in many cases, the user isn't entirely sure where they will need to use the wood filler, so it may be more beneficial to opt for a light-colored, general-purpose wood filler that is resistant to water, dirt, and dust. This makes it possible to apply the wood filler almost anywhere and have it be suitable for the task. In addition, the light color means that it's easily paintable to match the wall, ceiling, baseboard, or any other surface.
One of the easiest mistakes to make with wood filler is to underestimate or overestimate the amount of time required for the filler to dry. Some products, like epoxy fillers, can take several hours to dry and will likely take another 24 hours to fully cure. These products can be beneficial for outdoor repairs, but it's important to check the weather ahead of time so that the wood filler doesn't get soaked before it has the chance to set and cure.
Latex wood fillers dry at an incredibly fast pace and they even become water-resistant within about an hour. This makes them a great option for outdoor repairs. However, if you aren't paying attention, the wood filler can set before you have the chance to smooth out the texture and create a flush surface. Before deciding on a wood filler for your next project, be sure to note the expected drying time of the product, typically provided by the manufacturer in the product directions.
How do you use wood filler?
Wood filler can be applied with a small putty knife. Use the wood filler sparingly, as it isn't as easy to sand off as drywall putty, so it's important to only use the amount that is needed to properly repair the hole or crack. Put the wood filler on the putty knife and use the knife to press the wood filler into the gap. Scrape away any excess wood filler, leaving a smooth, flush finish behind.
Can you stain wood filler?
Most wood fillers can be stained, but it's important to note that wood fillers absorb stain differently than wood, so the color, texture, and appearance could stand out. Avoid significant mismatches by applying the wood filler to a piece of wood. Use the stain on this test piece to see how it will be absorbed, dry, and cure on both the wood and the wood filler.
How long does wood filler take to dry?
The drying time differs between products and can also take longer depending on the amount of wood filler that you used. On average, shallow repairs take about two hours to dry, while deeper repairs can take up to six hours. Just keep in mind that dry isn't the same as cured and most wood fillers will take about 24 hours to fully cure.
Can you screw into wood filler?
Some wood fillers can be screwed into after they have been allowed to dry and fully cure. Typically, any wood filler that is made from epoxy will have a dense, firm composition after curing that make it possible to screw into the wood filler. It's recommended to create a pilot hole before screwing into the filler.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer and homeowner with significant professional and personal experience researching, testing, and reviewing home improvement products. You can find more of her home-related writing on MyDomaine. Timothy Dale, a seasoned home improvement expert specializing in a number of topics, including plumbing, construction, and product recommendations, contributed additional research.