Wood is one of the most durable and versatile materials you can use in projects. Still, it can get damaged from accidents or wear, leaving large unsightly holes. In this scenario, you can either throw out the affected piece, which can be costly, or fill it with an appropriate wood filler.
The best wood fillers for large gaps and holes include:
- Minwax 448530000 Filler Wood Putty
- FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
- Elmer’s E914 Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler
- Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler
- Elmer’s E892 Stainable Wood Filler
- Aqua Coat Cabinet Wood Grain Filler
- Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit
- Woodwise Powdered Wood Filler
- Elmer’s E855 Carpenter’s Wood Filler
The Miniwax filler wood putty is the overall best wood filler for large holes, while Elmer’s carpenter wood filler works well in a wider range of domestic wood situations. In the rest of this article, we’ll go over each one and what makes them tick. You’ll also learn the top factors to keep in mind when choosing one of these.
Wood isn’t indestructible. A heavy item can fall off your hand and crash onto the top of your cabinet. Your little ones may put on their best impression of Bob the Builder and leave a gaping hole on your beautiful coffee table. If you keep replacing each item or paying for elaborate repairs, the money adds up pretty quickly.
With wood fillers, you only need to fill in the gaps and holes, sand down the surface with sandpaper, and apply your desired finish. Some of the best products in the market today come in matching wood colors, so it’s easy to seal up large holes without the affected area standing out.
We’ll get to the best wood fillers you can buy soon, but first, you need to know the different types of wood fillers you can use.
The various types of wood fillers differ in their chemical composition and the use case scenarios they were designed for. We’ll look at each of them below:
If you want the premium solution for dealing with large holes in wood, products categorized as wood putty should be the first on your list. These products won’t shrink like other fillers, and they can take almost anything after hardening. You can sand, stain, or paint the wood surface after using one of these.
However, it’s not without its downsides. If the hole is more than an inch deep, you’ll need multiple applications to ensure a proper fill.
You should consider acrylic caulk with silicone if the affected wood piece you’re working on is exposed to the element. Such products can resist moisture and can take to the surface fairly quickly. They also come in different colors, so it’s easy to find an option that matches the wood tone or paint.
Latex fillers are best suited for medium to large holes such as those from nail or picture hook damage, significant cabinet cracks, etc. These fillers are best for cover-up jobs, but if you must use them on large holes, you have to buy a lot to ensure the final finish won’t crack or sink after a short while.
Latex fillers come in a wide range of colors, so you can use the tone that matches your wood piece better. Application is as simple as using a putty knife, and you can get rid of the excess with some light sanding.
Epoxy fillers are some of the most durable options you can go with when filling large holes in wood. They bind faster to wooden surfaces, and they’re fairly flexible. You can stain, drill, or paint any wood surfaces filled with these types of fillers. It’s also easy to shape, sand, or saw the filler if necessary.
The downside to these fillers is that they don’t blend in with the rest of the wood surface. You have to use the right finish to ensure the best possible camouflage.
You can use spackling paste when you’re filling holes in jambs, trims, and other such interior wood. The products feature gypsum plastering, which is environmentally friendly. It’s a durable solution you can trust even when patching up drywall.
After the paste dries, you can sand and paint the spackling paste as you deem fit. However, there are a few drawbacks to using products in this category. They tend to shrink, and you’ll generally need more than one application. They also don’t work quite well with stains, so you’ll have to paint.
Polyester paste is similar to two-part epoxy. These products are more commonly used in the automobile industry, but you can also use products in the category when filling large gaps and holes in wood. It can withstand painting, nailing, or drilling, but it loses a chunk of its flexibility when applied.
Also, you need a hardener and resin to use one of these. Hardeners are toxic, so you should be careful when handling them. Most polyester paste products require an extra coat for the best result. You have to work quickly as the malleability window is less than 15 minutes.
Like others, you can also sand and paint polyester paste. For the best result, go with paint that best matches the tone of the wood.
Powder fillers are some of the best options when you’re dealing with surface damage. These products are typically a mix of sawdust and wood shavings. The combination transforms into a paste when mixed with water.
You can use them to fill large holes, as long as the affected wood piece won’t require any drilling or take any kind of heavy impact once dry.
9 Best Wood Filler Products for Large Holes
To help you choose the best wood filler for large holes, we’ve selected some of the best you can find below. All products are available on Amazon.
1. Minwax 448530000 Filler Wood Putty
The Miniwax filler wood putty works well for all kinds of projects.
You can count on it when you need to fill gouges, cracks, and holes in both finished and unfinished wood pieces.
You can use the product on indoor or outdoor surfaces, including doors, decking, cabinetry, furniture, baseboards, flooring, and more. The product comes in different wood grain colors, including white. Like all top wood putty products, you can sand, saw, cut, varnish, and paint surfaces filled with this product.
2. FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
Famowood 40022126 is a professional-grade wood filler you can rely on for both exterior and interior surfaces. It’s a good solution to look at if you want a quick-drying product you can paint. It takes well to the wood surface and will dry in less than 15 minutes.
It’s a solvent-free solution that comes in various colors designed to match real wood species. You can also stain it if you’d rather not paint. However, since this is latex filler, you’ll need more than just a small tub of the product when filling large holes.
3. Elmer’s E914 Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler
Elmer’s is a popular name in the wood fillers niche. The brand makes high-quality adhesives and fillers, and the E914 wood filler is no different. The product comes in various sizes from (4-16 ounce/0.11 – 0.17 L containers), so you can always find the perfect pack required for your project.
During application, the filler first turns purple before either drying white or natural. The initial purple color helps you see the area you’re working on more clearly. The product takes stains and paints easily, but you need to allow it to sit for a while before staining. After filling, the dry surface might look rough. Sand it down to achieve a polished and ready-to-paint look.
4. Goodfella Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler
You can fix any large hole with a tub of Goodfella’s Wood and Grain Filler. It’s a water-based formula designed to fill and conceal holes, cracks, knots, and splits on a wide range of surfaces. There are three sizes to choose from: 1 gallon (4.5 L), 1 quart (1.1 L), and 8 ounces (0.23 L). You can be sure of finding the perfect size required to complete the job.
You can sand the product once it dries without worrying about cracks or shrinkage. You can stain it after it cures. Some people tint it even before it’s applied.
5. Elmer’s E892 Stainable Wood Filler
Elmer’s stainable wood filler is another good option for filling holes on indoor wood pieces. The product comes in a small tube which makes it easy to apply in holes.
Like some of the best fillers on the market, it doesn’t shrink and crack. Once dry, you can paint over the white color to match the surroundings. You’ll need to sand down the rough surface before painting.
6. Aqua Coat Cabinet Wood Grain Filler
Aqua Coat is specially designed for filling holes in your cabinetry. It’s a water-based formula you can also trust to seal pores. Are you refinishing wood cabinets? The Aqua Coat blend can come in handy.
The product is a gel design you can apply evenly. It dries within an hour to give you a fairly smooth finish. After it cures, you can sand the surface lightly and paint the repaired surface to look like the rest of your cabinet.
7. Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit
Do you have holes in your hardwood floor or your furniture? The Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit is one of the best options you can go with. It’s primarily meant for dents, chips, and scratches, but it also has some wood putty in the kit for deeper holes.
So, buying this kit gives you a near all-in-one solution for all wood problems. The product comes in ten colors, ensuring you can quickly find the perfect shade for your flooring. Unlike other manufacturers we’ve seen thus far, Coconix backs the product with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
8. Woodwise Powdered Wood Filler
If you don’t like how canned wood fillers tend to dry out after opening, you’ll love the Woodwise Powdered Wood Filler. It’s a cost-efficient option to consider if you have a sizable project to work on but don’t want to speed through everything all at once.
The powdered form means you can store it without worrying that it’ll freeze or dry up. Mix it with water, and you’ll have a putty-like mix for filling holes. Once dry, you can sand and paint over the surface without worrying about cracks or shrinking.
9. Elmer’s E855 Carpenter’s Wood Filler
The E855 wood filler is another excellent product from Elmer. The composition includes real wood fibers, which makes it give you a strong wood-like appearance when dry. You can count on the formula to fill holes, gouges, and cracks on outdoor and indoor wooden surfaces.
After it’s dry, you can sand the surface before applying stain, varnish, or paint. You also get a surface you can nail or screw without worrying about cracks.
Factors to Consider When Buying Wood Fillers for Large Holes
The following are some of the factors you should consider when buying wood fillers:
You’ll likely use more than a few ounces of any product you choose to effectively fill a decent-sized hole in wood. Calculate the total cost of the quantity you’ll need for one product and see how it compares to the same quantity with other products.
Similarly, the cost of filling the wood shouldn’t cost more than what you’ll spend on a repair job.
All the products we’ve looked at above don’t have the same drying time. You need to ensure the product you’ve chosen has the optimal drying time for the job. Going for the fastest drying time you can find can also be counterproductive here. If the damaged area isn’t fully covered before the filler dries, you may have wasted your time and money.
Fast-drying times also mean you can’t leave the product container open for too long. You may return to find the product unusable after going away for less than half an hour. Some manufacturers list their product dry times, while others don’t. Be sure to get a verdict before you buy a product.
When looking to repair a large hole, settling on the amount of wood filler to buy can be tricky. You should generally aim for 16-ounces (4.5 L) to fill most large holes. If you have a more sizable hole to deal with, consider double that number.
If you’re a professional woodworker, you’ll probably save more money buying any filler you choose in bulk. Large bags of powdered filler products last longer and offer more flexibility during projects. You only mix up what you need.
Ready-made paste fillers are easier to use. They save time and energy, and you don’t have to worry about mixing a product. However, they tend to be unforgiving, requiring a speedy application. Powder fillers offer more control and are easier to store.
Both solutions have pros and cons, so the right choice will vary from one person to another. If you’re a hobbyist (or just engaging in a one-off repair) and you can work fast, ready-made paste fillers are a good solution.
If you’re not an experienced DIY enthusiast, you should choose a powdered solution or paste filler with slower dry times.
As an experienced woodworker or someone with lots of repair work to do overtime, powdered solutions are easier to work with. You’ll spend time mixing the product, but you’ll have up to an hour to work with the mixed product. Paste products will rarely give you more than 14 minutes before drying out.
You should wait three hours before sanding wood filler if you’ve worked on a large hole. Smaller holes might cure faster than that, but to be safe, give it as much time as possible before sanding. It’s the best way to get a smooth finish and avoid scraping off the filler.
Not all wood fillers can take nails and screws. Latex fillers, especially, aren’t durable enough, but most wood putty and powdered fillers are designed to absorb such impact. However, you have to allow enough curing time before nailing or screwing the surface—up to two weeks in some cases.
You don’t always have to throw out damaged wood pieces with large holes in them. In many cases, you can bring the piece back to life using the right wood filler. There are many options in the market, but wood putty solutions are typically your best bet for the right results.
Powdered grain fillers are the next best options to consider, while other paste fillers can also do a job depending on the depth of the hole you’re trying to fix. Choose options that can take stains and paints if you’d like a uniform look after fixing the hole.