How Long Does Wood Filler Take To Dry?

When you are repairing items such as wooden furniture, you might wonder how to fix nail holes. When it comes to covering up blemishes in wooden furniture, wood fillers and wood putties are great ways to make the wood look fresh and new. Both materials can be used to fill up minor blemishes, cover nail holes, or camouflage mismatched joints.

Your project’s duration and complexity can be determined by the question of how long does wood filler take to dry. In this article, you will learn how long it takes, the difference between wood fillers and wood putties, and additional helpful information related to wood fillers.

If you are looking for a simple, straightforward answer, here it is: wood fillers typically take thirty minutes to six hours to completely dry out. It should be noted that the drying times depend on the type of wood fillers you intend to use as well as the depth of application. Shallow repairs only take half an hour to try, but deeper repairs can take 2-6 hours to dry out completely. 

Are There Any Different Types of Wood Fillers?

 Man doing wood filler

An endless variety of things can cause damage or dent a wood surface. A wood filler is typically used for shallow repairs of uneven wood surfaces. With the help of a wood filler, you can make the surface of your furniture uniform and flat. .

Once you decide what kind of top coat to apply to your wooden furniture, you can choose between water-based or solvent-based fillers.

Water-Based Wood Fillers

A water-based wood filler is usually used to fill and repair holes in wood. This is an excellent choice among all the wood-fillers as it is more natural and free of harmful chemicals.

You can even mix a water-based filler in water to dilute it, resulting in a thinner consistency. That makes it more versatile. The odor of water-based wood fillers is very mild since they do not contain any volatile and toxic compounds.

Some of the advantages associated with water-based wood fillers are as follows:

  • They are easy to clean since you can clean them off with plain water.
  • There are no health risks related to water-based fillers, although you must wipe it off of your skin before it hardens. 

How long does water-based wood filler take to dry?

Depending on the layers of wood fillers, it takes between 30 minutes and 6 hours for a water-based filler to dry, which means the waiting time is short before you start painting and finishing your wood.

Solvent-Based Wood Filler

Solvent-based wood fillers are also an option, but they are more difficult to find in stores. 

Solvent-based wood filler is more costly than a water-based wood filler, so it isn’t used as often. It is typically used for outdoor wooden furniture since it is more resistant to the elements. A solvent-based filler is a good choice if you intend to improve the structural strength of your wood furniture, or if you want to cover more significant gaps and cracks in the wood.

Usually, a solvent-based filler consists of vinyl or epoxy, with both containing a large quantity of volatile organic compounds. Because of being chemical-based, you must clean a solvent-based wood filler with acetone. These fillers also release harsh gasses, which can harm human health and cause skin irritation.

The application of this filler is also slightly messier than water-based filler: therefore, one must be careful while using it as it is a little challenging to sand it after drying.

How long does solvent-based wood filler take to dry?

The usual drying time for epoxy is seven days, or longer if the weather is colder or more humid. No matter how long this wood filler takes to dry, the resin requires more time to cure before it can be sanded.

Apply Wood Filler the Right Way

The process involved in repairing and concealing wood flaws becomes very simple when using wood fillers. You can get the necessary tools here. Following are some easy steps on how to apply a wood filler.

Choose Your Desired Wood Filler

It is possible to stain both water and solvent-based wood fillers. Whatever type of wood filler you intend to choose, make sure it is going to cover all deeper or shallow repairs in the wood.

Smoothen the Wood Surfaces

Before you use the wood filler, the surface of your wooden furniture needs to be sanded. You can use 320-grit sandpaper for this. Afterward, wipe off the wood particles on the surface with a dry cloth.

Apply the Wood Filler

Apply your wood filler to all the gaps and cracks in the wood that need to be fixed. Once you have finished, scrape off the excess wood filler.

Leave the Piece of Wood To Dry

After applying the wood filler, leave your furniture to dry out completely for 30 minutes to 6 hours, according to the type and layers of wood fillers you have used for the project.

Use Sandpaper To Even Out

When the wood filler has dried out, use sandpaper to even and flatten the surface by removing excess wood filler and smoothening the edges or corners, which will give your furniture a fresh new look. Now clean the surface with a dry cloth to remove any leftover sand.

How Do I Shorten the Wood Filler's Dry Time?

Like other materials used for construction, such as cement or concrete, weather conditions and temperature significantly affect the drying times of different types of wood fillers.

Here are some helpful ways to make your wood filler dry out more quickly. 

Apply Thinner Layers of Wood Filler

Applying Wood Stain

If a wood filler is applied in thick layers, it will take longer to dry out. If your repair needs multiple layers of wood fillers, consider applying several layers in thinner coats. This will make your wood filler dry quicker than the usual dry time.

Warm Weather Is The Best for Application

Use wood fillers in less humid and warmer weather during the day since the heat will naturally accelerate the drying process. Additionally, you can also use some heat sources, such as a heat gun, to increase the temperature of the wood filler.

Use a Fan

In indoor applications of wood fillers, it is always a good idea to set up a fan since it will increase the air circulation. This will lower humidity and speed up the drying process. 

Can a Wood Filler Be Removed?

A solvent-based wood filler can be easily removed using acetone and scraping off the leftover filler from the wood surface. You must be careful and wear gloves during the process.

The water-based wood filler is easier to remove since you can wipe it off  with water alone. 

Wood fillers can remain firmly attached to the wood surfaces after drying, regardless of the duration and weather conditions. If the wood filler is super-dried, you can scrape it off with a sharp tool to remove it from the nail holes or gaps in the wood.

Wood Fillers or Wood Putties

Both wood fillers and putties are excellent choices for concealing or hiding all wood flaws, including gaps, holes, or cracks. Although they sound similar, both of these materials have characteristics that set them apart from each other. 

Wood putties are flexible and they tend to remain that way even after application and drying. In contrast, a wood filler consists of pulverized byproducts of wood that dries super hard after application.

Wood putties are also available in many different colors and hues, matching the wood finishes, and are typically applied in finished wood. However, the drying time for wood putties is much longer than wood fillers.

As far as the application is concerned, you can only use wood putty for shallow repairs such as nail holes or other wood flaws caused by smaller objects. Due to its flexible nature, wood putty can contract with the wood it is applied to during humidity changes.

In contrast, wood fillers are often used for indoor applications with fewer chances of expanding or contracting since they lack flexibility. 

Wood fillers have a vast range of applications, such as you can use them to repair wood rots, screw or nail holes, and gaps or cracks between furniture joints.

Final thoughts

Remember that wood fillers fill wood surfaces while adding visual structural stability. Unlike metal connectors or superglues, a wood filler does not tend to strengthen wood joints.

The next time you wonder how long does wood filler take to dry, you will have a piece of complete detailed information regarding wood fillers and their drying times thanks to this article.

Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by Tom Bradly

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Tom Bradly

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise. See more at

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