What is the Best Exterior Wood Filler for Outdoor Application? (2023)

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Wood fillers can help repair holes and cracks in exterior furniture and protect them from the elements. However, choosing the wrong one can ruin your outdoor pieces or decking, costing you more time and money than intended.

That is why our expert woodworkers have summed up all their best exterior wood fillers so you can perfectly repair your projects.

Premium Option
Minwax 42853000
Editor’s Choice
Bondo 20082
Budget Option
Elmer’s Probond P9890
Minwax 42853000
Bondo 20082
Elmer’s Probond P9890
• Stainable
• Water-based
• No strong odor
• Spreads easily
• Water-resistant
• Stainable
• Quick dry
• Cures fast
• Solvent-free
• Good shelf life
• Low VOCs
• With wood fibers
Premium Option
Minwax 42853000
Minwax 42853000
• Stainable
• Water-based
• No strong odor
• Spreads easily
Editor’s Choice
Bondo 20082
Bondo 20082
• Water-resistant
• Stainable
• Quick dry
• Cures fast
Budget Option
Elmer’s Probond P9890
Elmer’s Probond P9890
• Solvent-free
• Good shelf life
• Low VOCs
• With wood fibers

Reviews of the Top Exterior Wood Fillers

1. Bondo Home Solutions ‎20082 Wood Filler

You won’t find a more long-lasting exterior filler than Bondo Home Solutions 20082 Wood Filler. It’s an epoxy filler that requires mixing, and as a result, it provides a highly durable fix that won’t shrink or break with time.

Therefore, it is ideally suited for fixing big holes and fissures. This putty is versatile and can fill up gaps in windows, doors, fences, and more.

Thanks to its water-resistant construction, it can withstand the elements and is sturdy enough to be used outside. After application, it dries completely within 15 minutes.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Minwax 42853000 Stainable Wood Filler

The Minwax 4285300 Stainable Wood Filler is one of the most multipurpose wood fillers available. With actual wood fibers in the mix, this water-based wax dries to a tough, long-lasting patch. It may be used indoors and out and accepts paint and stain well.

When put through our tests, the Minwax Stainable Wood Filler came out on top in terms of ease of use. Because of its dry consistency, it hardly ever shrinks when dried. 

The material was so consistent that little balls could be rolled into putty-like globs and used to plug up big gaps. With this in mind, we also highly recommend it for beginners looking to repair their outdoor wood pieces.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Elmer's Probond P9890 Interior Wood Filler

It might say “interior wood filler” on its name, but this Elmer’s Probond P9890 holds up well in outdoor applications. Real wood fibers with negligible or low volatile organic compound content are a plus for the planet.

When it is dry, you can paint over it with a color that better complements your baseboards, furniture, kitchen cabinets, and molding. It’s also great for staining since it contains many wood fibers and colors.

Additionally, it takes nails and screws. It is cheap and simple to clean up with dish soap and water.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Wood Replacement Compound

Abatron WoodEpox Wood Replacement Compound is ideal if you have deteriorating external elements that you want to revive.

You can replace large pieces of deteriorating wood with this 2-part epoxy filler to preserve the structure’s integrity. You can also use it with the same ease as wood, as it can be painted, sanded, and manipulated similarly.

As a result of its low volatile organic compound (VOC) content, this filler has also earned GreenGuard certification (volatile organic compounds). Various wood filler products are on the market, but they often contain harmful chemicals that emit fumes and may harm the environment.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. DAP Inc 16Oz Latex Plastic Wood Filler

The DAP Inc 16-Ounce Plastic Wood Filler is a filler that dries to an extremely durable finish without using any water or other solvents. When dried, the filler is three times as hard as the original wood, making it an excellent choice when those qualities are very important.

The wood fibers in the filler can be sanded, machined, and painted in the same manner as solid wood.

It’s a great item to use when connecting something to the area after fixing it since the enhanced strength gives a suitable foundation for nails and screws with no risk of splitting.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. PC Products PC-Woody Wood Repair Epoxy Paste

If you need to fill in big areas of decaying wood, PC-Woody Wood Repair Epoxy Paste is the way to go.

Unlike alternative fillers, the high tack composition prevents sagging and dripping during drying. This filler will keep its form until it is completely dry, making it suitable for use when limited access, such as while working at heights or repairing fine details.

As a 2-component epoxy filler, it must be blended before use. It can be painted, stained, or machined after drying for about 40 minutes at room temperature. Extremely resistant to weather, rot, and any preexisting chemicals in the wood, it is ideal for major external repairs.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler - Base/Neutral

The last item on our best exterior wood fillers list is an incredibly user-friendly product. This Goodfilla Water-Based Wood and Grain Filler is ideal for skilled artisans, but casual woodworkers may put it to good use.

If you have furniture that needs fixing, a floor that needs finishing, a craft that needs finishing, or an instrument that needs designing, this is the product for you. Particularly, this is one the reliable wood fillers for floors. You won’t believe how much time you save using Goodfilla water-based fillers because they are so simple to sand.

This excellent wood filler doesn’t shrink, sink, or crack, saving you time and money. In addition, it offers exceptional adherence.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Exterior Wood Filler Buyer’s Guide

Exterior Wood Filler Type

Water-based

Wood fillers based on water are convenient since they dry rapidly, have a low chance of causing an unpleasant odor, and can even be used immediately. Cellulose, wood fiber, and gypsum are common ingredients of these fillers. 

You can dilute them with water if you need to, and you can wash them off with soap and water. Water-based wood fillers can be used for various purposes but are often reserved for indoor use.

Solvent- or Epoxy-based

Vinyl and epoxy are two examples of solvent-based wood fillers. Drying time for these fillers typically takes an hour or more, much greater than for water-based solutions. 

These products require adequate ventilation because of the higher VOC emissions [1] and stronger odors than water-based alternatives. 

Any type of solvent-based cleaner, like turpentine or acetone, will do for cleaning up after applying a solvent-based wood filler.

However, unlike water-based treatments, these wood fillers can withstand a wider range of temperatures and humidity levels, making them ideal for use in outdoor settings.

Packaging

Containers such as tubs, tubes, and sticks are used to transport wood fillers to their final destinations. Some fillers come in tubs and require no mixing before use; they can be spread with a putty knife. 

Squeezing out a tiny bit of tube filler or ripping out a small piece of stick filler and applying it by hand will do the trick when filling in small, visible imperfections. 

Sticks are the cheapest and are best used for repairing scratches and cracks, while tubs, which carry the most substance, tend to be most inexpensive and are suitable for larger tasks.

Price

Unless purchased in large quantities, the average price per ounce for wood fillers is between $4 and $1.

Knowing how much wood deck filler you’ll need will help you avoid leaving projects incomplete. The sizes of fillers range from 3.5 ounces to 32 ounces.

Depending on its size and depth, you may need to search for smaller or larger sizes to have the amount you need to fix the hole.

Consistency

The consistency of wood fillers can range from putty-like to that of pancake batter. A thinner filler is largely used to fill the pores in open-grain woods, whereas a thicker filler fills voids. 

Selecting the right filler consistency is crucial since larger fillers have huge particles that don’t easily fit into the porosity of open-grain woods.

In comparison, thinner fillers often lack the body to fill the pores fully.

Size and Type of the Project

Identifying the project size you need to fill is the first step. Simple fillers will do the trick if the damage is not too extensive. The larger the crack or hole, the more layers of specialized filler may be necessary to get a good seal.

Grade or Resistance

Make sure the filler you buy can withstand the elements. Because of this, you can utilize it in the open air without worrying about crumbling, splitting, or decomposing. The filler’s ability to withstand the elements depends on its resistance to water and dust.

You should always inspect the packaging to ensure it is suitable for outdoor use; if it isn’t, you might want to look elsewhere.

Paintable or Stainable?

Be sure a surface can be stained or painted to match the surrounding surface so that no evidence of the filler remains. It is important to look at the neighboring material and ensure that you can cover the filler with a similar finish.

(Check the high-quality stainable wood fillers here!)

 

Many wood fillers aren’t porous like wood; therefore, the surface needs to be further prepped before paint or stain can adhere properly. Here’s what you should do:

Dry Time

When working with wood filler, it’s easy to make the mistake of either rushing the drying process or waiting too long. It may take several hours for goods like epoxy fillers to dry and at least another day to cure completely.

It’s best to check the forecast before attempting exterior repairs that include these chemicals to ensure that the wood filler will not get saturated before it has time to set and cure. 

To learn more, read this article on how long does it take for a wood filler to dry

Will it Shrink or Crack?

Knowing how the filler’s potential for cracking or shrinking may affect the repair is important. If the area is adequately prepared beforehand, you shouldn’t have any issues.

The filler won’t adhere well if there is rotten wood, dirt, or dust on the surface. For the greatest potential result, clean the surrounding region as well. As a result, subsequent shrinking and cracking should be less likely to occur.

How To Use Exterior Wood Fillers on Decks

Necessary Tools

tools and materials

Step #1: Clear the Wood

For optimal results, remove any rotten wood first. The steps involved here are universal and applicable to handy work. Use a stiff brush to remove debris as soon as the ding or dent is visible in the wood.

Step #2: Scrape the Surface of the Wood

Maintaining a spotless deck is your next order of business. You should apply a deck cleaner on a finished wood surface.

A deck remover is recommended if this is not possible. Again, it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to read and follow all of the product’s directions.

sanding wood surface

Deck cleaners and strippers should be left to soak into the wood for several minutes before proceeding. Use your stiff brush to scrub the surface of the wood after allowing the cleaner or stripper to sit on it.

Use a hose to rinse off the substance, then let the wood dry completely before filling.

Step #3: Mix and Apply the Exterior Wood Fillers

Next, if you’re using tub wood filler, acquire a putty knife and remove some of the substance. If your filler comes in two containers, follow the instructions on the packaging when combining the two containers.

If you have the tube type, squeeze the required amount onto an empty carton or paper plate, then combine it with the appropriate wood hardener. When mixing, use a putty knife to spread the filler throughout the deck.

Before adding the final 1/8 of the filler, ensure you have pressed it down with the knife properly. Follow the same steps again until the hole is sealed and the wood is flush.

Step #4: Let it Dry

Wood fillers must dry completely before use. First, follow the label’s drying time recommendations for the wood deck filler. If the filler contracts as it cures, add an extra filler, and the curing time is extended.

If it has cured properly within the allotted time, sand it down with medium-grit paper until it is flush with the deck. The same procedure should be used if there are other holes. Once you have sanded as necessary, you can paint or stain the area.

How to Fill Cracks and Gaps on Wooden Decks

The decks will need to be fixed when they get too wide to prevent mishaps. You can take the boards out to close spaces and put them back in. The downside is that it can be a lengthy and pricey procedure.

Wood filler or caulk is another alternative. For our experts, caulking isn’t always successful, particularly for deck gaps.

gap on a wooden deck

After the deck is spotless, you should measure the length of each opening and cut a length of rope made from natural fiber to fit it. Avoid using synthetic rope, as it cannot be stained or painted like wood. The rope should be slightly bigger than the opening to ensure a snug fit.

The next step is to place the rope in a bucket and fill it with deck stain or paint that fits your deck. Wait an hour, and it will have reached the desired hue.

Once the rope is dry, insert one end into the hole and work your way across the board with a flat-head screwdriver. Cut the rope’s end with a utility knife, and then do the same to fill the rest of the holes.

How to Repair Decaying Wood

You can use a polyester filler to repair decayed or otherwise damaged wood. 

A rotten window frame, for instance, can be fixed by using a well-honed tool to cut away the decayed sections. Finish off your work by applying a layer of hardener. The next step is to fill the void with a mixture of polyester filler and a putty knife.

What to Do if You Haven’t Used a Wood Filler Before

The following are some guidelines for using wood filler for the first time:

You must adequately prepare the area and strictly adhere to all application and safety instructions printed on the product’s packaging. Never use a wood filler before even reading the manufacturer’s instructions, as each product is slightly different.

Also, try out the filler on some scrap wood to ensure it works well. This will guarantee that it has been combined well and has an excellent finish.

When to Repair or Replace Wood

External wood can be repaired with fillers for a while, but eventually, it’s better to replace it than to keep trying to patch it up. You should replace it if the damage is so severe that fixing it could be risky or arduous.

Think about how solid decaying wood is. Putting filler in the holes might work, but it won’t necessarily remain put. If prying the wood from the primary framework requires a lot of force, it should be replaced.

Wood Filler vs Wood Putty Comparison

Wood putty and filler are materials used to restore wooden items by concealing flaws and repairing the damage. The wood filler consists of sawdust or wood fibers suspended in a binder. Putty is typically a fiberglass, polyurethane, or epoxy compound with a plastic-like consistency.

Here are the following distinctions between putty and filler:

FAQ

What’s the best way to fill deep holes?

Epoxy, which comes in two components, can repair deeper holes. Adding the hardener and potting mix produces a form that can be shaped into holes. You can also use epoxy to repair broken door hinges and other hardware.

What’s the best filler for decks?

Our best choice is Elmer’s Probond Wood Filler because it effectively addresses both concerns. Using the best sander, you could sand the deck and refinish it once you fix the damage. This filler is so strong that it can withstand being sanded with an industrial-strength electric sander without breaking.

What is a wood hardener? When should you use it?

Unlike other wood treatments, wood hardener improves the wood’s strength without masking its natural grain. You can use it to smooth out rotting or damaged wood, making it suitable for filling. 

How do interior and exterior wood fillers differ?

Wood filler inside a building is not the same as intended for outside. The exterior fillers dry far more durable than the interior fillers, so they can withstand severe weather. 

Fillers made for the environment outside accelerate the drying process, so external fillers harden considerably more quickly.

Our Top Pick For an Exterior Wood Filler: Bondo Home Solutions ‎20082

Our top pick for the best exterior wood filler is the Bondo Home Solutions ‎20082. It is a high-strength, multipurpose filler ideal for restoring indoor and outdoor wooden surfaces. What we like best is that the filler becomes harder as the air temperature rises and cures more quickly.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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