Wood Filler VS Wood Putty: The Basic Differences

Wood filler and wood putty are unavoidable to repair slight damage on the furniture. Both of them are unique and differ in their essential features. For this reason, people get confused when choosing between wood filler vs wood putty.

Filler is one of the best materials to file wooden objects to deal with minor injuries to the unfinished timber parts. This product is cheaper and easily applicable. At the same time, people use putty to furnish the furniture in the outside area of the house. This item is long-lasting and also works as an adhesive.

However, you will find a complete discussion on the direct comparison of the basic features of these materials. I have written this article with all my experience regarding these things. So, continue reading this article with patience.

Wood Filler Vs Wood Putty: Basic Differences In A Table

There is a difference between filler and putty when it comes to filling cracks and holes in furniture. For this reason, be very careful in choosing the best possible product to furnish the furniture. The following table shows the fundamental differences between these discussed materials. Try to choose the best one by reading the details carefully.

Basic FeaturesWood FillerWood Putty
ConstructionCombination of sawdust and lumber fibers. It consists of plastic materials and sticky items.
Sanding abilitySand the piece of timber for using this material.Never rub the amount of timber while using this material. 
Wood finishesUse it only when the timber is not ready.Use it when the furnished wood is ready.
Type of damagesGouges, nicks, and scratchesCracks, small holes, and chips
PaintApply the filing paste when it is scorched.Buy a color combined with the item. Don’t paint.
ApplicationUse this item to fill the minor injuries of the timber. Try this item to complete the finishing of the timber.
Using processUse it on unfinished timber and sand it.Just apply it gently and let it set.
Long-lasting Is Not as long-lasting as wood putty.It lasts up to 20 to 30 years and is far longer than wood filler.
Quick-dryingDries faster because it consists of water.It consists of oil, so it takes a little more time to get dried.
Based ona Water-based mixture,an Oil-based mixture.
Cost-efficiencyCost-effective for the furniture inside the room.Cost-effective for only the furniture placed outside the house.
Color combinationsIt does not have any option in choosing the colors.Available in many colors. Combine them if needed.
AdhesivenessDoes not work as an adhesiveWorks as an adhesive.

11 Basic Differences: Discussion On Wood Filler Vs Wood Putty

Filler and putty have some fundamental differences. These things are always supportive of the furniture of the house. So try to know which is the best and easily fits the objects. Here, I will share my knowledge of these differences. After reading them, the reader will learn how to choose and apply them.

1. Construction

The first thing where the wood filler differs from wood putty is the construction material. Wood putty is constructed with plastic. This is more often known as an adhesive. On the contrary, sawdust or wood fibers are blended together when it comes to constructing the wood filler.

However, wood fillers require to be finished or stained with it comes to the adherence ability. You can fill up the cracks, tiny gouges, and nail holes with the stainable wood filler and make it look perfect!

2. Lasting Period

A wood putty is a compound made of polymers and synthetic resins. It has polyurethane fillers which help it to last long. The inbuilt plastic resin helps it increase its strength and durability up to 20 to 30 years minimum. 

As a result, they don’t get damaged again by water or heat after use for many years. So, anyone can use this item to furnish the household with complex fibrous objects placed outside of the house. 

On the contrary, it is suitable to use wood filler to work on the furniture outside the home. The sawdust is highly sensitive to water and can get ruined by rain or flood. Excessive sunlight can melt the filling paste’s thickness and damage it.

3. Quick-drying

Wood filler dries up quickly after its application on the surfaces. It provides an immediate solution for those who want their damaged furniture restored within minutes without spending much time or money on it. 

The item consists of water. After applying it to the damaged area, the outer surface of the furniture soaks in the water. Never try to heat the surface. The filling paste dries quickly as the water vapors after a certain period. 

In contrast, wood filler consists of oil particles in its construction materials. Oil does not dry out at all. Instead, it gets sticky and works as an adhesive to the joint. Do not expect oil to vaporize. As a result, this thing takes more time to dry out but gives a durable result.

4. Based On

Wood filler consists of water particles, and wood putty contains tiny oil particles. Hence, choose the right one for the furniture. Water-based fillers use acrylic resins as the main ingredient. As a result, this material dries quickly after attaching to the damaged area.

At the same time, oil-based putties use Linseed or Tung oil as their base. This putty also uses other ingredients like waxes and resins that help thicken the mixture. For this reason, it takes more time to dry. But it allows using this product even outside the home. Rain or water will never ruin the joint. 

5. Application

Now if you are working indoors, both are great for you. No matter whether you use wood filler or wood putty, they will last a long period with the proper care. But if you are planning to work on a workpiece that you are keeping outside of the house, it is recommended that you avoid wood filler.

This one is not designed for outdoor application and it won’t last for a long time outside. Wood filler is water-based and wood putty is oil bases. This is the reason users think that wood fillers might be better in outdoor applications but this is not the case! 

Wood putty is capable of dealing with and standing the elements outdoor. And so, if you use this outdoor, you will be benefitted.

6. Sanding Ability

When you are a woodworker, you have to deal with sanding after you cut the pieces. However, sanding is required only if you are using wood filler. When you use wood filler, to smoothen the surface, you will need a woodworking sander.

However, if you are using wood putty, you do not sand. More specifically, wood putty cannot be sanded. When you are working with wood putty, you must keep it in one place till it dries down. If you sand it, it won’t stay in one place and will not dry eventually. Smoothening it out or sanding it is quite impossible.

7. Cost-efficiency

In certain situations, wood filler works more cost-efficiently than wood putty. The reason is that a woodworker can use the filling paste for many purposes. Apply it gently to any furniture to repair cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings. Besides, this thing is way cheaper than wood putty.

On the other hand, wood putty is also a beneficial thing. Compared to a filler, it is more expensive. A woodworker cannot use this material to repair large furniture areas. So to cover the more considerable damages of the timber-made table, choose lumber filler over lumber putty. 

8. Wood Finishes

The next thing between wood putty vs. wood filler is the finish of the wood. If you are dealing with finished wood, the best thing you can settle for is the wood putty. For wood putty, you won’t be needed any sanding. If the wood is finished, you can complete the work by using wood putty and no sanding at all!

 On the contrary, when you are using wood filler, make sure you are using it on the unfinished wood. In some cases, wood filler is also used on the finished wood too. No matter where you use woof fillers, sanding the visible or touchable portion is a must!

9. Color Combinations

Wood putty is available in many colors like brown, black, white, reddish, etc. It has different shades for different hard, fibrous materials used for furniture making. Try to select the best possible color that matches the damaged lumber-made object. Then gently fill the gaps with it.

But wood fillers come in brown or gray colors only. They have an option to combine them with other colors like white or black to give a beautiful appearance. So do not worry about the colors at all. Apply it to the damaged surface and let it dry. After the paste dries completely, paint the joint. Nobody will see the differences. 

10. Adhesiveness

Wood putty is more adhesive than wood filler because it contains latex or resin in its composition. The ingredients, as mentioned earlier, make it sticky and easy to apply on the damaged surface. It does not leave any residue behind when dried up completely. As a result, do not attach anything to seal the joint between the inner part of the timber.

In comparison, the wood filler does not contain any adhesive material. This thing includes sawdust and powder of the cut-out timber only. For this reason, it does not work as a mastic item on the joints. So, it needs something extra like glue or sticky mastic to fill any surface appropriately. But the glue will dry quickly because this filling material contains water in it.

11. Paint

Not all wood requires painting and the users don’t like to paint it all. Now, if you want to paint the workpiece you designed, you better go for the wood filler. The paint will easily stick to the filler and make it look better.

On the other hand, wood putty cannot be painted. In some cases, the woodworkers also paint wood putty. But immediately after applying the putty, it’s not possible for painting it. If you leave the wood putty in its place for a long period and after days, you want to paint it, you can. But not all sorts of paints work with wood putty.

You have to select the paint safely and carefully that matches the standard of the wood putty. On the other end, you can go for almost all sorts of paints if you are working with wood filler. These are better to work with if you love to paint!

Wood Filler Vs Wood Putty: Which One To Choose

Generally, the filler is a mixture of sawdust and timber powder. This product allows the worker to color these materials to match the color of the timber when dried. The mixture dries harshly and brittle, so use sparingly or apply it over an undercoat of paint or varnish. Anyone can use this product to fill the minor gaps in the doors or furniture of the house. Using this item will save a vast amount of money and time.

At the same time, wood putty is a perfect material for applying in small damaged areas of furniture. Use a filling tool to spread the mastic and let it dry. It does not require any extra glue or adhesive to attach this mixture to the joints of the furniture. Nowadays people are using this item more. Although this is not a cheap thing, the application area of this mastic is vast. 

Related Questions:

Are Putty And Filler The Same?

Putty and filler have similar features but are not the same. They have some essential differences that make them unique and different from each other. The construction materials of lumber putty are oil-based plastic mixtures. It takes more time to set on the damaged area but gives a better long-lasting result.

In contrast to putty, the filler is water-based. This feature makes them available to use to file minor injuries to the furniture. But these products are only suitable for the table inside the home. They are sawdust and timber powder. It gets dry quickly and makes it convenient to paint when it is dry. This material is a very well-known item for its versatile usability. 

Can You Use Wood Putty As A Substitute For Wood Filler?

Putty and filler have particular areas to work. They cannot replace each other. Although both will work well in repairing damaged hard fibrous surfaces and their textures, they differ significantly from each other. 

The putties have many benefits over different types of fillers. First of all, they are more long-lasting than the fillers. Besides, it’s easy to work with sand. It doesn’t shrink when exposed to moisture, and it is very versatile. 

But wood fillers have a cost-effective nature. They are way cheaper and easy to apply. Sometimes the antique furniture pieces can get damaged over the years by wear and tear or water damage. Filling pastes is one of the best solutions too.

Does Wood Filler Last Longer Than Wood Putty?

Wood filler doesn’t last longer than wood putty. Usually, wood putty lasts for almost 20 to 25 years. But wood filler does not last more than 15 to 20 years. The sawdust or timber powder got dry quickly and damaged after a particular time.

On the contrary, the putties have an oil-based construction. As a result, usually, they last longer than the first product. The oil-based sealer has the inbuilt capacity to survive water and rain outside the house. The primary user purposes of these materials are different. Nobody can replace one thing with another easily.

Is Wood Filler Harder Than The Wood Putty?

Filler is more rigid than wood putty. This rigidity will make it easier to work with and apply. The user can sand it down or add more layers of putty as needed. This filling material has a shorter drying time than wood putty. That makes it ideal for large projects like repairing furniture or building cabinets where the user must apply multiple coats. 

But in some particular areas, wood putty retains some flexibility after drying. This sealer does not get harder after using it on the damaged particles. Because of the linseed oil in the construction of this material, it remains soft and prone to cracking after it is dry. But if you don’t peel the joint, the sealer putties will never come off automatically. 

Which Is Better, Wood Putty Or Wood Filler?

They are two different products with different uses. Both are essential and better than each other in their respective sectors. The first one is better for filling the minor holes in the furniture. Using these filling pastes, do not let anyone do the job with putties.

On the other hand, the second one is better for repairing damaged surfaces by sealing off the damaged area. So, the better performance of these things will depend on the damaged part type and the furniture’s repairable location.

Similarly, sealing the timber with a filling mixture is impossible. These mixtures are unique in their working purposes. So, examine the type of the problem, then choose the better option to have a solution.

Does Wood Putty Dry Faster Than Wood Filler?

Wood filler dries faster than wood putty. The reason is because of the different ingredients in the construction of each product. The putties usually contain linseed oil, known for its slow-drying properties. 

On the opposite side, the wood filler does not contain linseed oil and has a higher percentage of dryers such as silica and gypsum. These natural products help the filling paste dry faster than putties.

Again, wood filler contains sawdust and powder of the timber. The main base of this product is water and glue. The damaged surface of the timber soaks the water faster. It cannot absorb the oil of the putty. Besides, the water evaporates more quickly. As a result, the filling mixture gets dry faster than the sealing product.

Should You Use Wood Putty Or Wood Filler?

Putty and filler have similar uses, but they are different. When choosing between them for the project, consider the time and care to take with it afterward. If the project requires completion quickly and efficiently, choose the filling paste because it sets up fast.

But try using putties to give natural looks to the damaged parts of the furniture. It blends in better with the color. Wood putty is a non-hardening compound that adheres to the surface of the timber, and does not require sanding after it sets up. Filler is typically a hardening compound that dries and becomes part of the timber once applied. 

Final Verdict: 

Wood filler vs wood putty is a topic that is debated widely and continues to this day. People find it difficult to choose between these products while filling or sealing the damaged furniture of their house. But having a better concept will clear all the confusion and provide a better solution. 

However, I hope this article will answer the questions also. Try to follow the instructions related to the application of the discussed materials. You will find it easier to choose and apply the best product the next time.

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