Wood filler is also known as wood putty and less commonly as wood patch. It is one of those products that is always good to have in your home repair kit. Wood putty is a handy item but it will not solve all your wood floor problems. It is designed for filling small holes and very minor gaps in your prefinished and hardwood floors. This article is going to explain the different types of wood putty so when you want to fix a screw hole on your floor, you will know what to use.
Wood putty comes in a variety of different colors. The great feature about putty is it is easy to work with and you can even mix colors to get the right shade to match your stain. Wood putty is commonly a quality colored latex filler.
Wood putty often comes in tubes or small tubs, depending on the type and the brand. Commercially, wood filler comes in pails. Most commonly in the wood flooring industry, latex wood putty is used. However, there are other wood putties on the market suitable for wood flooring.
Latex wood putty almost always comes in a tube. It is a low VOC product that has been used for decades. Latex putty makes a water tight bond between the wood. It uses non-drying oils such as linseed oil. LePage makes a high quality latex wood putty. LePage has a buttery consistency when you apply it. It takes sanding, screwing and staining very well. LePage comes in 7 different colors.
There is a relatively new product, prefinished wood filler. It is designed for already finished or prefinished floors. It dries out if the container is left open will ruin if it freezes. However, it has a relatively low shrink rate. The color is easy to determine because it dries at almost the same color. Prefinished wood putty is similar to latex but instead of using water, it contains satin water-based polyurethane. Often a prefinished floor manufacturer will sell the floor with a small tube of proprietary prefinihsed wood filler. Woodwise makes a prefinished wood filler that is commonly available in many different colors and is fairly inexpensive.
Painter’s putty is a wood filler that contractors use in between coats of oil modified polyurethane when finishing a floor. The great feature of painter’s putty is you do not need to finish it or coat it after you have applied it to your wood floor. This slow drying putty is known to collect a lot of visible dirt in lighter colors. This will make your light putty areas on your floor that were supposed to match your stain look like dark patches! Commonly, painter’s putty is made from linseed oil, calcium carbonate and universal colorant. If you have ever used window glazing compound, painter putty is quite similar. DAP is a common brand of painter’s putty. Not only is it used to fill holes and small cracks, DAP is also known for being used as a glaze.
Lacquer-based wood putty is another variety of wood filler. Wood putty is mixed with very fine edger sawdust from your floor. You can only use this wood filer if you have sawdust from your floor on hand, maybe you have just sanded your floor. This wood putty is extremely flammable and emits strong fumes.
Epoxy floor filler is a two part wood putty. The two separate components are a resin and a hardener. Most epoxy floor fillers emit very small amounts of odour and are low VOC. Epoxy is a quick setting wood filler. This is specifically used for filling knots and not used very commonly on wood floors mainly because it is quite expensive.
Silicone wood filler is a good wood putty for hardwood floors because it expands and contracts with humidity fluctuations. Gap Master by Bona Kemi is a reputable silicone wood filler. It comes in a caulking tube and can be used in a traditional caulking gun. It is easy to apply and good at hiding unwanted hols and small gaps.
All wood putties are either solvent-based or water-based. Solvent-based wood putty is more common. It is used by the DIYer’s and professionals alike. Water-based wood putty is growing in popularity because it is better environmentally and it does not emit solvent fumes. Besides, the water-based wood putty has becomes as good in its performance as solvent-based wood putty. Water-based putty takes longer to dry but very easy to clean up. You just use a little bit of water. Also, a water-based putty won’t dry out if left open. It is important to note that any water-based wood putty is not suitable for a prefinished floor. A good quality water-based wood putty is TimberMate. TimberMate takes stains well, hardly shrinks, and does not crack out.
In contrast, solvent-based usually requires acetone or turpentine to clean it up. It is much more heavy duty and much faster drying than water-based wood putty. That said, it sands, stains and finishes very well. Solvent-based wood putty actually contains wood in its formulation. It has similar characteristics to wood. This wood putty will simulate real wood more than most other wood fillers on the market. Solvent-based wood filler also shrinks less than water-based wood filler.
There are a few things to note when selecting your wood putty. All wood fillers are different, doesn’t matter if they are solvent- or water-based. Not all wood fillers have good adhesion and they are not all of the same quality. Good adhesion is extremely important when selecting your wood putty. A good quality wood putty should shrink and pop out. A good filler should sand easily when it comes time and should maintain a nice finish.