Best Wood Filler for Screw Holes

I Tested 6 Wood Fillers for Screw Holes: Here are the Best (2024)

Wood filler is an essential for just about any project. When it comes to screw holes, I tested some of the most popular wood fillers to help you find the best ones!

In a hurry? My favorite wood filler for screw holes is the Minwax stainable wood filler because it’s durable and can be painted and stained to match the surround surface.

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Best Wood Fillers for Screw Holes

1. Minwax Stainable Wood Filler – Best Wood Filler for Interior Use

Stainable Wood Filler

The Minwax Stainable Wood Filler is my favorite wood filler for screw holes for a few reasons.

First, it’s a stainable wood filler, meaning you can easily stain over it to get the exact look you desire. This makes it the perfect choice for interior projects where the finish matters like hardwood floors and other surfaces.

Secondly, this wood filler was easy to apply, without needing to mix a hardening cream like some wood fillers require.

While it’s technically capable of being used for exterior projects, I don’t recommend it. I’d recommend something that’s oil based for a more durable exterior wood filler.

What I Liked:

  • Stainable – which is perfect for interior projects that need a good finish
  • No mixing required
  • Dries faster than other wood fillers

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not great for exterior use

My Thoughts

Ultimately, the best stainable wood filler for screw holes is the Minwax Stainable wood filler. It’s a high quality wood filler that’s easily stainable so you can patch screw holes without anyone knowing they were ever there! It dries quickly and is simple to apply making it a great option to cover screw and nail holes.

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2. Minwax High Performance Wood Filler – Best for Exterior Use

Applying Minwax Wood Filler

If you’re a fan of the Minwax brand like I am, this Minwax High Performance Wood Filler is an oil based wood filler that’s better suited for exterior use than it’s sister product, the stainable wood filler I mentioned above.

While it is more expensive than others, it’s for good reason. This is a durable, long-lasting wood filler that’s specifically made to handle the elements and outdoor projects.

This is the best exterior wood filler you can buy to fill screw holes and other gaps. I’d say it’s almost as strong as an epoxy wood filler, but without the harsh chemicals and longer drying time.

Because it’s oil based, it’s a thinner filler that yields a smooth finish that’s great for showing the wood grain of your surface.

What I Liked:

  • Very high quality filler
  • Much more water resistant compared to water based wood fillers
  • Reveals wood grain nicely

What I Didn’t Like:

  • More expensive than other wood fillers
  • Takes longer to dry than water based fillers

My Thoughts

If you’re working on outdoor projects and need a wood filler to fill screw holes and other gaps and cracks, the Minwax High Performance Wood Filler is a best option for you. While it’s more expensive, it comes with better quality thanks to its oil based nature.

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3. Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler – Best Value

Elmer's Wood Filler

Need a cheap wood filler to get the job done quickly?

Elmer’s carpenter’s wood filler is my budget pick if you need something that’s inexpensive and you aren’t necessarily worried about how it looks or lasts.

You can find this wood filler at almost every hardware store big or small. It’s cheap and it dries super fast so you won’t have to wait around for your wood filler to dry.

While I don’t consider it the best wood filler by any means, it is pretty easy to find and will get the job done.

What I Liked:

  • Very affordable and readily available at most hardware stores
  • Fast drying formula

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not very water resistant
  • Lower quality than other wood fillers
  • Will crack under pressure or tension

My Thoughts

If you need a wood grain filler that’s quick and cheap – Elmer’s carpenter’s wood filler is your best bet. It’s a decent wood filler given the price and does a pretty good job of filling screw holes without hassle.

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4. DAP Plastic Wood X Filler

DAP Stainable Wood Filler

Another great choice for an interior wood filler is the DAP Plastic Wood X. This wood filler is great for interior projects and it’s one of the most versatile wood fillers on the market.

One nice thing about this wood filler is that it applies pink, and then dries white – so you can easily tell if you’ve missed a spot.

When compared to different wood fillers, the DAP Plastic Wood X felt stronger and more durable. It’s a great all purpose wood filler that’s great to keep on hand. It’s one of my favorite wood fillers to fill large holes and gaps!

Need something more durable? The professional grade DAP plastic wood is known for containing real wood fibers and being an ultra heavy duty wood filler that’s great for a variety of uses. It’s not quite necessary for filling screw holes, so I’m not putting it on this list, but it’s worth considering if you have other projects that need something with more strength.

What I Liked:

  • Easy to apply thanks to the color changing substance
  • Can easily be sanded
  • Very strong and won’t easily crack under pressure

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not very water resistant
  • I found that it does tend to shrink slightly when dried

My Thoughts

My second choice for the best wood filler is the DAP Plastic Wood X. It’s a really close comparison to the Minwax Stainable wood filler, but I found that the Minwax version stains better, so it’s a better choice for interior projects where the look matters. That said, the color changing formula is super convenient and this is a very high quality filler I have in my shop.

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5. Timbermate Wood Filler – Great for Interior Use

Timbermate Wood Filler

Another strong choice is the Timbermate Wood Filler. This is one of the best wood fillers that’s perfect for interior projects because it is non-toxic and comes in several color options.

It’s a water based wood filler which means it’ll dry fast and apply easily. It’s a great all purpose wood filler that many people love (including myself!) for a wide range of tasks including filling nail holes, DIY projects, and more.

What I Liked:

  • Superior quality filler
  • Water-based formula is safe for indoor use
  • Can be sanded, stained, and painted once dry

What I Didn’t Like:

  • More expensive than other wood fillers
  • Not great for outdoor use

My Thoughts

The Timbermate Wood Filler is a great top-quality filler that’s highly touted in the woodworking community, and I agree! I’ve used it several times and found that’s a great product. My only complaint is that I wouldn’t say it’s that much better than the Minwax or DAP Plastic Wood fillers despite it’s higher price tag.

6. Famowood Wood Filler

Famowood Wood Filler

If you’re looking to fill screw holes outside or inside, Famowood Wood Filler is a tremendous option. As soon as you open the container, you’ll notice that this wood filler is much thicker than others on the market.

This water based wood filler is sandable and stainable and great for interior and exterior projects.

It’s available in several different colors if you’re looking to match any wood surface you might come across.

What I Liked:

  • It’s easily sandable
  • Comes in many different colors depending on your needs
  • More affordable than other options

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not quite as durable as other types of wood fillers

My Thoughts

Famowood Wood Filler is a pretty high quality filler given it’s affordable price point. I’d recommend this option if you’re looking for a quality interior and exterior filler that won’t break the bank.

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How to Fill Screw Holes with Wood Filler

Applying Minwax Wood Filler

Clean the Area

The first step to filling screw holes with wood filler is cleaning up the area. This might mean you lightly sand the surrounding area around the screw hole for better adhesion. You can also use a damp rag to remove any residues or debris around the hole.

Apply Wood Filler

Next, you’ll need to apply your wood filler. To make your life easy, I recommend using a classic putty knife to apply the wood filler on the screw hole.

You want to apply enough filler to cover the entire hole with a little extra for the surrounding area so you can feather it out for a smooth finish.

Be sure to avoid these wood filling mistakes and check out these ways to make wood filler look like wood!

Let Wood Filler Dry

After applying your wood filler, you need to give it time to fully dry. If you try to sand wet wood filler, you’ll have to start all over again – which nobody wants.

It typically takes a few hours to dry for water based wood fillers but oil based wood fillers will require longer.

Sand Wood Filler

Once your wood filler has had time to dry, you’ll want to sand it down to the surface is smooth. You can use a sanding black or an orbital sander, but because of how small a screw hole is, a sanding block should get the job done.

Stain or Paint the Wood Filler

Finally, after you’ve sanded the surface and you have a smooth, even surface, you can stain or paint over the entire surface for the look you desire.

Finally, you’ll need to give your paint time to dry before touching it.


Can you fill screw holes with wood filler?

Yes! You can fill screw holes with wood filler by applying the filler to the hole with a putty knife, letting it dry, and sanding it for a clean finish.

Can you fill screw holes with wood putty?

While you can use wood putty to fill holes, because it doesn’t harden like wood filler, you won’t be able to stain or paint it for good-looking finish.

How do you hide screws in wood with fillers?

If you want to hide screws in wood, simply screw your screw into the surface slightly deeper than normal and apply wood filler over the screw. You can then sand and paint the surface for the look you want.

Final Thoughts

The best wood filler for screw holes is the Minwax Stainable Wood Filler because of how well it stains. If you need something more affordable, go with the Elmer’s carpenter’s wood filler. If you need something specifically for an exterior project, I recommend going with the Minwax High Performance filler.