Wood Filler Vs Spackle – Differences & Uses

It’s so common that your old furniture, cabinets, walls, or stairs have got numerous holes, dents, wear and tears. These holes and cracks occur when you pull out nails or the materials or places face a lot of moisture in the weather. In this circumstance, the materials or places lose their true beauty and sometimes cause accidents.

Therefore, to take care of your wood or to make your old materials look like a new piece of beauty, filling the odd holes is the first and foremost thing to do. To do the job, wood filler and spackle are really two cool components. But people want to get some specific ideas when it comes to wood filler Vs spackle.

Therefore, on this topic, we are going to provide you with the most useful information about wood filler and spackle. Also, we’ll try to come to a conclusion about which material is the best to pick to do the wood filling job.

if you are a painter or woodworker or carpenter, you must have to know about the benefits and special uses of spackle or wood filler to do any type of nail hole filling and finishing work perfectly.

Know First about Wood Filler Vs Spackle:

Wood Filler Vs Spackle
You might have already come across the terms of wood filler and spackle. These two substances are used to do almost the same jobs. But still, they have got some differences from each other. Many people don’t get the differences and thus cannot choose the perfect material to accomplish their job. That’s why you should know first that what are wood filler and spackle.

What is Wood Filler:

Apply wood filler on nail holes
wood filler=>

The job of wood filler is to fill and heal the cracks and holes of wood. It works fabulously in sealing both smaller and bigger crevices and gauges. Wood filler carries a combination of great components including polyurethane, epoxy, and clay. This substance can be sanded for better sealing of the hole. But note that some type of wood filler cannot be sanded.

Wood filler can also be used to cover small dents and holes on drywalls. But it might not be as effective as spackling. Some wood fillers work effectively when you use them to fix indoor wooden materials.

On the other hand, some can be used at any place with any weather condition. It depends on the type of wood filler you are using. Wood filler, as a substance, provides a great job in hiding the big pores of the wood.

Some wood comes with less density and they tend to be porous. Walnut or oak wood tends to get cracked because of this porous condition. And to heal this kind of wood, wood filler is a must. Besides, some wood filler allows staining. You can choose one from the two primary kinds of wood fillers and they are,

a) Water-Based Wood Filler:

Water-based wood filler is enriched with components like cellulose and gypsum. Most of the wood filler comes with water-based composition. This type of wood filler is better when you do indoor projects regarding wood. This is the wood filler that you can sand. To mend small holes and gauges, this creamy-textured water-based wood filler is used. It also requires a non-messy way of cleaning and works effectively on unfinished wood.

b) Solvent-Based Wood Filler:

Solvent-based is also known as an oil-based wood filler. This wood filler is labeled with a VOC component to a great extent and made with epoxy or vinyl. That’s why the filler emits toxic chemicals and spreads bad odors as well. To accomplish larger projects, this filler is used largely. Solvent-based wood filler is messier and takes a long time to dry completely. To get an expected result, apply the filler on the finished wood. It also provides immense adhesion and maximum durability.

What is Spackle:

Apply spakle

Spackle is also a substance that is used to mend defective areas, holes, crevices, and so on. You can apply spackle in both exterior and interior places. Spackle does not limit itself in serving to wood only. It works on plaster, metal, masonries, and others.

Spackle is a paste-like material that is mixed with binders and gypsum powder. But to do the filling job of wood, using the vinyl spackling compound is great.

Using spackle is a very hassle-free job as it doesn’t require much. And the result of the material is very satisfying. It will not allow the area to shrink after an application of the material. Besides, it dries within an unexpected time. Also, it allows you to stain or color the place as well after it gets dry fully. Using a putty knife, to do the spackling job is easier and effective.

Spackle comes in various ways. But most people use it on drywalls and plasters only. They should realize by now that spackle is also effective in filling wood as well. Spackle is a mainstay material when you are up to paint the wood beautifully. For a seamless finishing and smoother look, spackle is the substance that you need.

Spackle or Wood Filler for Nail Holes: Which is better?

Spackle and wood filler, both substances are made with components that are used to fill holes. Many people even think that spackle and wood filler are the same products. Though they have many similarities, these two products are different from each other.

However, let’s see the efficiencies and aspects of both spackle and wood filler by making some good points, and then we’ll decide which one is better.

Places the Substances should be Used on:

Spackle is mostly used on plasters, drywalls, and masonries. On the other hand, wood filler is used on wood largely. But these two provide fruitful results in filling holes. Both substances are efficient enough to cover nail holes.

Must Read: 7 Best Nail Hole Filler for Wood Trim & MDF: 2021 Reviews.

However, here is a fact that they work effectively on two different materials. For instance, spackle works better in mending wall holes whereas wood filler works better in mending wood holes. But they can be used as an alternative to one another. In this fact, you need to be a little careful.

Shrinking Problem:

Wood shrinkage problem

Spackling a nail hole properly will not cause the problem of shrinkage. But if put a small amount of it for deep holes, then it will get shrink. Therefore, you need to check out the depth of the nail hole first. And then take spackle as much as the hole needs.
On the other hand, using water-based wood filler in the nail holes will always cause the problem of shrinkage.

Therefore, a huge amount of wood filler should be used to cover the hole. To get out of this problem, the oil-based wood filler should be used in the first place.

Drying Time:

Drying the spackle

Drying a hole depends mostly on its depth. If the nail hole is too deep, then the spackle takes almost 1-2 hours to dry. For smaller dents and holes, it will take not more than 30 minutes. It takes lesser time when you use a “dry fast” spackle to fill holes.

Drying wood filler

Wood filler, in this job, takes more time. Water-based wood filler takes almost 2 hours to dry fully if it’s a superficial nail hole. And for deep holes, straight 5-6 hours is needed. Besides, oil-based wood filler takes 1 or 2 days to dry for deep nail holes.

You can sand spackle when the coat is dry entirely. Sanding is easy when you use spackle. Besides, it takes only a few minutes to sand the coat. A sanding sponge is enough to make that space even. It also doesn’t even require heavy pressure to do the job.

But the wood filler is a very stubborn substance when the coat of it is dry perfectly. To sand the coat of water-based wood filler, 220grit sandpaper is required. Besides, hand-sanding the place is very challenging.


Finishing the nail holes

Spackling provides smoother and seamless finishing as it can be sanded properly. A finishing with spackle looks more even. The hole gets merged with the extended area with the coating. The finishing of spackling can be got within very little time.

On the other hand, wood filler works effectively even though it doesn’t provide a smooth finishing to holes. Once wood filler gets dried, it’s very hard to sand it. Therefore, it takes a lot to get an even and smooth texture out of it.


Spackle can stand painting over it only when it gets dried purely. Using a primer before painting the space will make the painting vivid. Even spackle works better on wood if you intend to paint the wood.

Wood filler can also withstand painting. But to avoid the amalgamation of filler and paint, you need to apply a perfect primer before that.

So, after observing some main aspects of the two main filling substances, it can be said that both of the products have their efficiencies and shortcomings. It mostly depends on you that how you want your holes to be mended.

Some choose wood filler because it’s durable and lasts long and some use spackles because it’s easy to apply and provides a great finishing. But both substances are versatile in one way or another.


Question: Can I use spackle instead of wood filler?

Answer: Spackle is a substance that you can use to heal small dents, holes, and fractures. On the other hand, the wood filler does the same job. Many people prefer spackle over wood filler because it’s easy to apply. Besides, spackle provides a good job in filling holes seamlessly.

It even works amazingly in avoiding shrinkage. Wood fillers often fail to avoid shrinking after been applied. Also, if you are in rush and want your trim holes to mend quickly, then spackling is always a better option. Besides, for painting, this substance helps much.

Question: Can you use drywall spackle on wood?

Answer: Basically, wood filler deals with wood more practically. But several other substances take care of wood very seriously. Spackle is friendly with wood material. As it comes with different varieties, not all type of spackle is applicable for the job.

However, drywall spackle can be used on wood on a limited basis. Not all the type of grain wood surface can withstand it. Mostly, woods that have rough grain surfaces and immense density can be used for drywall spackling. OSB and plywood are that kind of wood for instance.

Question: What to use to fill gaps in wood?

Answer: Wood filler is the thing that you need to fill gaps in the wood. Wood filler and wood putty are used to accomplish almost the same job yet they are a little different from each other. Wood filler is water-based where wood putty is solvent-based. They both fill the holes and gaps in wood with their great components inside.

Besides using wood filler, spackle can also be used as an alternative. Spackle has a versatile charisma yet wood filler is announced to be the best option for filling gaps in wood by many authentic DIYers. To get a long-term, even, and smooth mending, an oil-based wood filler is a suitable idea.

But make sure you are enough professional to handle the messy outcome of the filler. Besides that, you can simply ask for a professional to do the job. what is your recommendation about Wood Filler Vs Spackle? Let us know.

Last Updated on October 3, 2021 by Rogers Weber

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