Keeping your deck or patio looking nice year after year can be challenging, and this is especially true if you use it heavily. Maybe you like to entertain your friends or you have a lot of plants you shift around. Whatever the reason, it’s not uncommon for chips or cracks to appear in your deck. These chips can present hazards if you walk over them because they can result in splinters in your feet, but wood filler can be used to repair them quickly and easily. Wood filler will sink into the chips or cracks and solidify, and this will help keep your deck looking nice for years.
But, there are so many high-quality wood fillers out there that it can be very difficult to pick out the correct one for your needs. I understand that not everyone will have the time to put the research in, so I picked out 10 excellent wood fillers and reviewed them for you. You can look at them and use this home improvement guide to help you narrow down the 10 picks to find the best wood filler to help you fix your deck. As a bonus, you can use many of them year after year without an issue.
Small holes can slowly start to rot and mold in your deck, and this can lead to problems with rotted wood that you’ll have to replace eventually unless you patch it.
1. Elmer’s Color Change Wood Filler
The first wood filler on our list comes from Elmer’s, and this product uses a patented formula that goes on a bright purple to ensure you don’t miss any spots on your deck before drying to the deck’s natural color. You can then sand, stain, or paint over it to make it blend into the surrounding pieces. The wood filler does work better on decks that aren’t exposed to the elements, but you can choose from two colors and four sizes to help tailor your product to fit your needs. This wood filler works particularly well on lighter stained wood because it will blend into the background when it dries, and the wood filler uses a non-toxic formula that is safe around kids and pets.
You get a plastic tub of this wood filler when you order it, and the lid snaps on to form an airtight seal that will keep the product soft and pliable until you need it. The wood filler resists cracking and shrinking as it dries out, and this can help prevent open spaces in your deck. You can clean up the wood filler with water, and it is a solvent-free formula. You’ll know it’s ready to sand, paint, or stain when the color fades to a neutral tone.
- Goes on purple and dries clear
- Can paint, sand, or stain over it
- Easy to clean up
- Works better inside than out
- Tubs are slightly smaller
- Doesn’t blend with darker stain colors
2. DAP Inc Latex Plastic Wood Filler
If you need a slightly more durable wood filler, try DAP Inc’s latex plastic model. This is a stainable and paintable wood filler that you can apply with a trowel and mold it into place to seamlessly cover any chips, gouges, or cracks in your deck. The 16-ounce package features a fast-acting formula that will withstand harsh weather conditions without breaking down or wearing out. If you apply a layer of paint or stain over it, it’ll take the color very well so you can hardly tell that you had to fill the area. The wood filler works well on light or dark-colored stains and paints, and you can use it indoors and out. This product is strong enough to use on structural repairs.
You can use this wood filler if you live in rainy or humid areas because it dries quickly enough that you won’t have to worry about it washing out. It’s crack and shrink resistant, and you can use it to anchor screws or nails to the side of your deck to hang your flowers or baskets. You’ll get a smooth and hard finish once it dries completely, and the plastic tub will keep the wood filler soft and moldable until you need it.
- Uses a latex wood filler base for added durability
- Covers chips and gouges while anchoring screws and nails
- Dries very quickly
- Contracts slightly when it dries
- Very thick formula that is difficult to spread
- Challenging to clean
3. FamoWood Latex Wood Filler
No matter what patio ideas you come up with, you’ll need a high-quality wood filler to keep it looking in top shape. FamoWood’s product won’t crack or shrink, and this makes it a good choice for larger holes or gouges in the wood. The wood fillers also dry very quickly in as little as 15 minutes, and this is nice if you live in an area with unpredictable weather because there’s a higher chance that it’ll set before it gets wet. You can paint, sand, or stain this wood filler so it blends seamlessly in with your deck or patio, and it works well on exterior or interior surfaces without flaking or peeling away.
This wood filler is solvent-free, and it doesn’t have a strong smell associated with it. This allows you to easily use it indoors or in closed spaces without getting overwhelmed. It’s a professional-grade product that will be able to withstand heavy use without breaking down, and it comes in 11 different colors that you can match to your deck’s coloring to make it blend in better. The plastic tub has a lid that seals tightly closed to keep the wood filler soft and ready to use wherever you need it next.
- Dries in 15 minutes
- Available in several color choices
- Blends in well with your deck
- Challenging to open without breaking it
- Colors run slightly lighter in shade
- Slightly more expensive for the amount you get
4. PC Products Wood Repair Epoxy
This is a two-part wood filler that works to replace any missing or rotted wood. It resists dry rot, mildew, freshwater, saltwater, and UV light to hold up against different weather conditions and environments. You can use it both indoors and out, and it has an application temperature that ranges from 35°F to 115°F, and there is a service temperature range of -20°F to over 200°F. If you apply it when it’s 70°F, you get between 30 and 40 minutes to adjust and mold it before it hardens, and this is plenty of time to ensure that it doesn’t pull away from the sides of the crack or gouge to form a tight seal.
There is a high tack factor on this wood filler that helps to reduce sags and drips while it hardens, and this lends to a more seamless look. You have to mix Part A to Part B in equal volumes before you apply it to get the correct consistency, and you can stain, paint, or machine it after enough dry time. The epoxy comes from real wood to help lend a more natural look that blends into your existing wood grain on your deck. Finally, it’ll survive heavy use for years without wearing away or fading.
- Workable for 30 to 40 minutes
- Has a broad application temperature range
- High tack factor
- Can be challenging to mix to the correct ratios
- Takes time to set up before you can mold it
- Doesn’t work well in small gaps
5. Minwax Stainable Wood Filler
If you’re trying to decorate your bathroom and fill any stray holes, Minwax’s product can help. It’s available in six colors and 18 sizes that helps you tailor your pick to suit your deck or patio size and shade. You can use it inside and outside without worrying about it flaking away, and it works very well when used to repair small gouges, cracks, knot holes, nail holes, and defects in unfinished outdoor and indoor wooden surfaces. This product works best if you use it with water based wood stains or oil based wood stains, and it’ll help it blend in much better when it dries until you get a chance to apply a coat of water based wood stain or oil based wood stain.
This is a sustainable wood filler that will survive harsh weather conditions and heavy use, and it dries very quickly once you get it in place. This formula comes specially made to accept Minwax pertaining wood stains, so you should try to pair the wood filler and stain to get the best results. However, it also works well with other types of stains. This product sands easily to help you blend it in better, and it holds the stain color very well. The latex formula allows for soap and water cleanup when you finish applying it.
- Available in several colors and sizes
- Blends in very well
- Works best with Minwax stains
- Hardens too fast for larger holes
- Stains lighter than the surrounding wood
- Challenging to mix correctly
6. Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler
3M’s product will help you replace or restore damaged or rotted sections of wood on your windows, doors, furniture, fences, shutters, decks, patios, and more. You get one quart of the wood filler solution that you can quickly and easily apply to any gaps, cracks, or holes in the wood, and you do want to ensure that you work it deep into the spot before you let it dry so you get an even finish. This is a permanent solution that won’t shrink, crack, or chip away as it dries and you continue to use your deck or patio. The wood fillers can also stand up to different weather conditions without breaking down, and this is useful in certain environments.
Once this wood filler dries, you can shape it, sand it into place, route it, drill it, plan it, stain or paint it just like you would traditional wood. It does dry relatively quickly, but it puts off a slightly stronger smell that makes it difficult to use it inside. It can also cause mild skin and eye irritation. You can use the wood filler indoors if you have a well-ventilated area, but the wood filler works best outside.
- Works well on different types of wood
- Can use the wood fillers inside and outside
- Dries quickly after you apply it
- Has a very strong smell
- Get a small amount in each purchase
- Very thin consistency
7. Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler
This wood filler by Goodfilla allows you to save time and money because it doesn’t crack, sink, shrink, and it gives you excellent adhesion to your deck or patio. You can use it to patch the areas around your outdoor movie screen to create a stunning entertainment area. It comes in five sizes and 12 colors that allow you to match very closely to your stain color, and you can mix it with any dye, stain, tint, or pigment. This is a water-based wood filler that is easy to use and clean up when you finish, and it comes designed for professional woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts.
This wood filler has an unlimited shelf life because you can reconstruct it with water, and it’s freeze-thaw stable. It works well on furniture, your deck, patio, fence, windowsills, door frames, or crafts. All you have to do is apply it, wait for it to dry, sand it, tint, and prime it. This is a green product with a non-toxic formula and no VOCs. There is a full year warranty attached to this product, and it has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The company will refund your money or replace the product if you’re not completely satisfied.
- Available in several sizes and colors
- Freeze-stable with an unlimited shelf life
- Full year warranty
- Can have a yellow tint
- May not take to some stain brands
- Slightly watery texture
8. Dap Plastic Wood Filler
Dap’s plastic wood filler comes from manufacturers in the United States that use very high product standards to ensure you get a professional-grade product that works very well each time you bring it out. This wood filler handles like wood putty with a soft texture, and this makes it easy to mold into your gouge or crack before it gets too hard to work with. You can use it on a huge range of surfaces, including paneling, doors, molding, plywood, lumbar, and other wood furniture and objects. Once you apply it and get it into the shape you want, it’ll start to harden up with exposure to air.
Eventually, this wood filler will give the surface and body that mimics wood, and this makes it difficult to tell the difference when you look at it. You can sand, cut, stain, drill, varnish, plane, lacquer, or paint this wood filler just like you would any other wooden surface to help blend it into the deck and hide the face that you patched it in the first place. This product meets Federal Specification TT-F-340C for durability and longevity, and you can use it on the exterior or interior of your home without a problem.
- Handles like wood putty
- Hardens with exposure to air
- Can use the wood fillers on a host of surfaces
- Challenging to clean
- Doesn’t spread evenly
- May dry too quickly for larger applications
9. Minwax Wood Putty
If you have an outdoor bench that you shove over your deck, it can easily scratch or gouge the wood. Minwax’s wood filler can help you restore your deck to a healthy state. It will fill nail holes, cracks, chips, and any other minor imperfections in painted, bare, finished, and stained wood quickly and easily with a single application. You can color match this wood putty to Minwax wood finish stains to get a flawless finish, and it’s a very user-friendly product that is perfect for DIYers who have a few hours to complete it. You don’t have to sand this wood filler once it dries, and it’ll blend right into your Minwax stain.
You can choose from 9 different shades and a pound container, or it comes in a one, two, three, four, or five pack of 3.75-ounce cans. This allows you to tailor your wood filler to your project size, and you can be sure you won’t run out halfway through. The cover screws on to create an airtight seal that keeps your wood putty soft and easy to use. The wood filler is best suited for smaller projects because it doesn’t come in larger sizes, but you can buy multiples at one time.
- No sanding required
- Matches to Minwax stains
- Available in different sizes
- Not enough for larger projects
- More expensive for the amount you get
- Very slow drying
10. Aqua Coat Wood Grain Filler
The final wood filler on the list comes from Aqua Coat, and this product works well if you’re a DIYer or a contractor, and it works to fill the grain and seal your wood’s pores before you stain or paint it to get a smooth finish. It works best on walnut, mahogany, ash, or oak because they’re very porous wood types. This product is waterborne and eco-friendly, and it’s non-flammable, non-combustible, fast drying, low odor, no VOCs, and easy to apply. You can sand it to smooth finish, and it offers excellent adhesion that won’t pull away from your deck or patio when it dries. You can clean the wood fillers with water and get a smooth finish.
Filling in the wood grain on your deck or patio before you lacquer or paint it helps to give you a smooth finish while sealing the pores to keep the water out and prevent mold and rot. In turn, this can increase the life of your deck, and it works well with oil and water-based paint, lacquer, and primers. You can mix it easily with any water soluble dyes or pigments to get a perfect color match, and it’ll dry within 45 to 60 minutes of applying it and scraping away the excess. You can then lightly sand it before you apply your primer or paint.
- Eco-friendly and non-flammable
- Creates a smooth finish
- Works with oil and water-based paints and lacquers
- Will only work for a few seasons
- Very thin consistency
- Can create an uneven appearance
Best Wood Filler Buying Guide
If you have raised planter boxes, you’ll need to patch them eventually due to exposure to the elements and generalized wear and tear, and a high-quality wood filler can help. However, narrowing down the products and trying to decide between one or two can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. This is where this short buyer’s guide on wood fillers comes in.
Water-Based or Solvent-Based Fillers
The first thing you want to decide is whether you want water-based or solvent-based fillers. You can use them both to fill pores or chips in wood, but there are a few key differences between the two.
- Solvent-Based Wood Filler – Solvent based wood fillers tend to have an epoxy of vinyl base with a higher VOC content. These wood fillers can take around an hour to dry after you apply them, and you’ll need turpentine or acetone to clean them. These are the more expensive of the two wood fillers, and they’re better at resisting humidity, water, rot, extreme heat, frigid cold, and these oil based wood fillers work best on exterior wood projects.
- Water-Based Wood Filler – Water based wood fillers tend to have a gypsum, wood fiber, or cellulose base with a lesser potent smell and very few VOCs. These wood fillers can be slightly more versatile than solvent-based fillers because you can easily dilute them with water. They dry in around 15 minutes, and you’ll only need water and soap to clean up. They’re also the cheaper of the two types of wood fillers.
Take a look at your deck before you pick out your wood filler because the size of the pores in the wood will dictate which type of wood filler you need. Bigger holes need a thicker wood filler while smaller holes need a thinner consistency.
Consistency – Wood Filler vs Wood Putty
Wood fillers can have a thin consistency like pancake batter or a thicker consistency like wood putty. Thicker fillers work best to fill larger gaps, cracks, or gouges in your deck while thinner ones work to fill the pores in open-grain wood types. You want to pick out the correct consistency for your project. For example, if you built a new deck and you want to fill in nail holes, you’ll need a thicker consistency. Thinner wood fillers don’t have enough body to fill these holes.
You can get wood fillers in sticks, squeeze tubes, and tubs. If you get a wood filler in a tub, they’re usually a no-mix formula that you can apply directly to your porch or deck with a spreader or a wood putty knife. Two-part fillers have to mix before you apply them. Tube fillers require a very small amount to fill pores and voids, but stick fillers require you to rip a small chunk off and apply it with your hands. Tubs are very economical for larger projects, but the sticks are the least cost-effective and only make sense to use if you have tiny cracks or scratches.
Each wood filler will come with an environment recommendation where it’ll work best. For example, if you’re going to patch your outdoor shed, you’ll need a wood filler that comes with an exterior recommendation. Other products work best indoors because they can’t handle the environment and temperature shifts when the seasons change. Double-check and see the temperature ratings as well because some wood fillers won’t set until the temperature drops below a certain level.
Buying a high-quality wood filler will give you a versatile product that works on different wood types, colors, styles, and more to keep them looking like new for years.
Wood fillers come in dozens of styles, colors, consistencies, and brands. You want to do your research and make sure that you’re matching your wood filler to your need, because this is one way to ensure they last. You can take a look at my 10 wood filler picks and use the wood filler buying guide to help sort through the wood fillers until you come to the best wood filler choice to patch your deck.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.