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Can You Screw Into Wood Filler? Types, Facts & FAQ

putting wood filler on a cracked wood

For mending small cracks, gouges, and other imperfections in wood, little is more useful than wood filler. However, you may be wondering if you can screw into epoxy-based wood filler later to make modifications or attach more wood. You can, but you have to wait until the wood filler is fully dried and cured.

Another major caveat to keep in mind is that you’ll need to drill a pilot hole in the filler before you put a screw in. The threads on screws can cause cracks in the filler and ruin its integrity, so it’s best to not skip this step. Finally, you should find out if your wood filler can be screwed because many cannot. Let’s find out more about wood filler and how to modify it.

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What Is Wood Filler and How Is It Used?

Wood filler is a liquid epoxy used to fill gaps, cracks, and other flaws or damage in wood. They’re also great for smoothing out uneven wood surfaces because you can paint them later for a uniform look. Wood filler is also great for hiding nails, screws, and other fasteners.

Wood filler isn’t suitable for major structural damage to furniture or other load-bearing wood products. We strongly advise against using it for that because the filler will crack and break under pressure.

close up of wood filler applied
Image Credit: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz, Shutterstock

The 3 Types of Wood Filler

Not all wood fillers are suitable for putting in screws or nails, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with what products are available. Look for the following types of products if you want to be able to screw into it later.

1. Multipurpose Wood Filler

Multipurpose wood filler is quick-drying and leaves a weatherproof finish. Despite drying hard and dense, this filler is flexible enough to bend with the wood. This type of filler is perfect for filling small holes and gouges because it dries in about 2 hours. Finally, it comes in a variety of colors and can be sanded, painted, varnished, etc.

2. Two-Part Wood Epoxies

Two-part wood filler epoxy is ideal for driving screws and nails, but it can be a little tricky to use. First, you apply the resin, then the second coat will make it harden and cure. Once dry, this filler doesn’t shrink or crack, and they create a moisture barrier that keeps insects like termites away.

a tub of wood filler
Image Credit: Matthew Egginton, Shutterstock

3. Exterior Wood Filler

Exterior wood filler is, unsurprisingly, designed for outdoor wood projects. Once dry, this filler is fully waterproof to prevent water damage and decay from moisture, rain, and temperature fluctuations. Most importantly, they’re very flexible and hold screws or nails well.

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Should I Screw Into Wood Filler?

We’ve already established that you can, but should you? Not for anything that requires load-bearing properties because wood filler can’t match the strength of solid wood. For the best results, you should only use small screws in wood that isn’t designed to hold weight.

Wood filler epoxies don’t support larger screws or nails very well, and they’re more prone to loosening and failing with movement or weight. If you absolutely must use large screws in the wood filler, ensure that the wood pieces won’t move or support heavy weight.

If you try to use wood filler on load-bearing wood, the joint will eventually become loose and fail. To avoid damage to your wood, you can avoid wood filler in the first place or use a stronger joining method.

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Wood filler is incredibly useful for woodworkers to hide imperfections and fill holes, and with several types, you can even screw into them once dry. For best results, though, don’t screw into wood filler if the wood is designed to move or support weight.

Featured Image Credit: Oasishifi, Shutterstock


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