undefinedJuly 28,2021

Wood Putty Vs Wood Filler: Difference Between Wood Filler and Wood Putty

When you repair furniture or other wooden items or build them from scratch, you will have to fill various holes whether you expect them to be there or not. These holes occur due to defects in the wood or where the nails go in. For filling these holes in a workpiece, wood filler and wood putty are always options. 

Wood Putty Vs. Wood filler, woodworkers usually use these two items for the same purpose, but wood putty and wood fillers are not the same and are suitable for various kinds of wood filling projects.

Knowing the difference between wood filler and wood putty is highly essential for all woodworkers. It will help them to choose the appropriate item for different cases. Or, if you are among those who do a lot of wood projects, it is also essential for them to know the difference between wood filler and wood putty.

Wood Putty Vs Wood Filler: What is the Difference?

For fixing minor cracks and blemishes in the workpiece, you can use both wood filler and putty. But knowing the main difference between the two will help you to build more accurately and successfully. Wondering wood putty vs wood filler in detail? Here is a read!

Indoor Vs. Outdoor

Wood filler hardens to a sandable consistency. It is better for indoor wood. Outdoor wood tends to separate from the wood filler. It is because the wood expands and contracts with seasons.

Whereas the wood putty has a more pliable texture even after it dries. It will allow the putty to shift. It will prevent cracks and separation. Most people use putty for filling up gaps, holes, or knots because it can flex instead of breaking apart when walked on.

Water-based wood filler will come to its original soft and spreadable form when exposed to water. For this reason, you should use solvent-based filler for outdoor purposes. You should get a solvent-based filler labeled for outdoor use or stick with putty.


Wood filler will dry to a hard strong surface. Its texture will allow you to apply wood filler to cracks in a project. You can then sand or paint. The wood filler also provides structural support but does not replace serious repair.

Wood putty is more pliable like clay. It allows wood putty to be applied to a project after staining and finishing. You may have a difficult time sanding wood putty due to the softer texture.

Painting and Staining

You can stain several types of wood fillers designed to be painted. You should apply wood filler before painting or staining. Before using it, you should always check the label first and test on a wood scrap. The stain may interact differently with the filler than the surrounding wood, which will lead to a blotchy finish.

You should apply putty after the stain; wood putty is accessible in various colors to match different wood types or colors. You can also mix colors for a custom blend that will match flawlessly.

What Is a Wood Filler?

wood putty vs wood filler


Most people also consider it as a first aid kit for wood projects. You can use the wood filler to patch the crack if you end up splitting your wood. Also, you can use it to hide holes and nails, so your paint will sit and look beautiful.

You can get wood filler in two primary forms, water-based and solvent-based. Water-based wood filler is good for indoor woods. Solvent-based wood filler is more resilient outdoors.

When to Use Wood Fillers?

wood putty vs wood filler


Wood filler is more suitable to use for larger repairs before painting or staining. You can patch gaps and holes between boards or fix a dent with wood filler.

For instance, if you are building something, you can leave the screw heads visible or patch them with wood filler. After the wood filler is dried, you can sand it to flush with the surrounding wood surface and paint to disguise the patch.

Wood filler is also handy for covering the exposed plywood edges. It is a messier process than edge banding but works flawlessly.

How to Use a Wood Filler?

For getting the best results with wood filler, there are some handy tips. Read the following of wood putty vs wood filler.

Choose an Accurate Wood Filler Application

For indoor use, it is essential to use a water-based wood filler. For outdoor use, you should use solvent-based wood filler.

Prepare the Site

You should ensure to remove any sanding dust or loose paint chips from the area you will fill.

Apply Liberally

Air bubbles or cavities in the wood filler can cause a recessed area to form when it dries. Most wood fillers also shrink. It will be better if you overfill the hole to prevent issues.

Scrape off Excess

Smooth the area and feather the edges to make sanding easier.

Sand and Paint

After drying the filler, sand it down smoothly so that it is even with the surrounding wood. If you get a good finish, then it is better. But in case you did not have a good finishing, you should apply more filler to the area and repeat the process.

How Long Does Wood Filler Take to Dry?

Wood filler drying times depend on the amount you use, and weather also plays an essential role. Most products will dry as fast as within 10-15 minutes. As the wood filler dries, its color may change, so you know when it is ready for sanding.

What is Wood Putty?

wood putty vs wood filler


It is a malleable compound that you can use for repairing small dents and scratches on a finished furniture piece. It is accessible in sticks that look like crayons. You can get it in various colors and tones. You can choose a perfect match for the project.

When to Use a Wood Putty?

You should use wood putty on those pieces with a natural wood finish that needs a small repair. You may have gaps in the hardwood flooring or the mitered corner of the picture frame. Moreover, you can use wood putty for these sorts of ideas. If you have the correct color, the repair will be almost invisible as it will blend with the surrounding wood.

If you want to fix larger defects, you should sand everything and use hardening wood filler. Or you can take the plunge and replace the broken part with real wood.

How to Use Wood Putty?

wood putty vs wood filler


The method of application is similar to wood filler but with a few tweaks. Read the following for more information.

Choose the Correct Wood Putty

Some putties dry quicker than others. You will have to take your time to make sure the colors match. It is better to test the wood putty in a wood scrap before the actual use.

Prepare the Site

You do not want debris. You should use a clean rag to wipe up dust or dirt and make sure the area is dry. 

Work the Putty into the Site

Ensure that the defective part is overflowing with putty. If you are using a stick, rub across the crack, not down its length, for filling the hole. You should then scrape off the extra with an old credit card or a scraper tool.

Allow it to Cure

Most putt does not harden. Some putty will have a curing phase where it will be less gooey. 

Why Is It Better to Use Wood Putty?

wood putty vs wood filler


There are various reasons that you should use wood putty for your upcoming woodworking project. Read the following for more information.


It is because wood putty is durable, meaning that you do not repeatedly fix the repair.

The good about wood putty is that you will still be left with some putty even if you buy a small container. You should have plenty left to last for a few projects. If you do not need to use it all, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place.

Easy to Apply

Amongst the best things about wood, putty is that it’s easy to apply to nearly any type of wood surface. Use a putty knife for covering large areas or your finger on smaller areas.

If you see extra wood putty on the project’s surface, grab a damp rag and wipe it, then let it dry until it sets.

It Comes in Various Shades

When it comes to wood putty vs wood filler, you will find them in different shades. Finished and stained wood surfaces will take on certain shades and textures, so it only makes sense that wood putty comes in match options. You must select a wood putty with a similar shade and tone, so the repair does not draw attention.

So as you go about working on the wood project, ensure that you find a tone that matches the surface of the wood you are repairing.



There you have it. After reading this wood putty vs wood filler, you should know which one to use and when to use it. It is up to you to determine which one is better for your project. Both products do what they are designed to do and seal the surface of the project as intended. Both are best for hiding the holes and blemishes on wood.

For more information on home improvement, visit HouseDecorationTip.



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