Wood filler and spackle may have some confusing similarities in their applications, but they are different.
Understanding the differences between these patches can assist you in making the best decision when deciding which to use.
This article compares wood filler and spackle in depth. It investigates the substances, the available types, and the best applications for each.
VIDEO: Wood Filler Vs Spackle
What exactly is Wood Filler?
Wood filler is a mixture of epoxy, polyurethane, and clay used to fill small holes and repair crevices in wood surfaces.
It seals and repairs tiny scratches and larger dents on the wood surface for both functional and cosmetic reasons.
Wood filler varies by type, some being sandable and stainable and others not accepting wood stain or sanding.
Some are exterior-grade wood fill, while others are only for indoor use. As a result, using indoor wood filler outside is not advised.
Outdoors, the material could be more effective. As a result, it is critical to double-check the type and grade of wood filler you have before using it to repair something.
While wood filler is primarily intended for use on wood, it can also be used to repair minor cracks in drywall.
When appropriately used, the paste does an excellent job concealing flaws on wood surfaces. If you plan to use the filler on stained or painted wood, choose one that will accept the finish.
Primary Wood Filler Types
Wood filler can be classified into two types based on the binders or binding method used. Here are the various options. First, however, sawdust can be used to make the homemade wood filler.
Filler made from oil
Vinyl or epoxy are standard components of oil or solvent-based wood fillers. Unfortunately, these wood resin fillers contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them highly toxic and emitting a distinctive strong odor.
Even though it is messier than water-based fillers, the solvent-based filler is the most popular choice for larger projects. However, this wood filler will take longer to dry than most oil or solvent-based products.
It does, however, reward you with excellent adhesion and durability. Furthermore, Co solvent-based fillers are more resistant to weather elements and moisture-related issues than their water-based counterparts.
Mineral spirits should be used to clean surfaces after this filler because pure soap and water are ineffective against it.
Filler made of water
The most common type of filler is water-based. It is typically composed of gypsum, cellulose, or either.
This type of wood filler is simpler to apply. In addition, it is simple to clean with soap and water and leaves less mess to clean up after your project.
However, because it is less durable than oil-based filler, it may not be the best choice for more significant or exterior-based projects.
This wood filler is designed for indoor use, particularly on unfinished wood surfaces. It’s perfect for small projects like sealing cracks and holes in wood. In most cases, you can sand it and paint or stain it.
Like most water-based products, this wood filler is non-toxic, has little odor, and contains fewer volatile organic compounds than oil-based types. As a result, you can use it without wearing any complicated breathing apparatus.
Pros and Cons of Wood Filler
- Some wood fillers can be sanded and finished.
- It gives long-lasting results on porous surfaces.
- Wood filler can be used to repair large holes in wood.
- You can adjust the consistency of wood filler to make it easier to work with.
- Wood fillers expand and contract in response to temperature and weather changes.
What exactly is Spackle?
Spackle is a paste-like compound made primarily of vinyl powder and binders used to fill and repair holes in drywall or similar materials. It is available in various consistencies and weights to suit specific applications.
This drywall compound is typically sold premixed from the manufacturer in bins or tubs designed to keep the form. Spackle is typically water-based and dries to form a hard, sandable substance.
While spackles were initially designed for drywall, modern formulations can also be used on wood, plaster, and other surfaces. For example, many homeowners have recently spackled wood paneling to make it look like drywall.
It also has a creamy consistency, which makes it simple to create a smooth surface with spackle.
The Vinyl spackling compound does not need to be primed to work. As a result, its quick-drying quality is generally a big plus because it makes working with spackle a breeze.
Furthermore, the material is smooth, mainly when the proper amounts are used. Finally, because spackle is water-based, it can be used indoors and outdoors.
If the project is going to be done outside, you will need to prepare and prime the surface first. Another significant advantage of spackle is its ease of use. A thoroughly dried spackle surface is stainable and readily accepts most wood finishes.
The Different Types of Spackle
There are five significant spackle types available.
Gypsum is the most common component of standard spackle. It is a general-purpose composite designed for heavy-duty drywall filling applications. Dried standard spackle is more durable than other types of spackle.
Lightweight spackle is the polar opposite of standard-type spackle. It is made up of sodium silicate and an adhesive.
As the name implies, this type of spackle is lightweight and works well for filling more minor cracks and crevices in walls.
Spackle with an epoxy base
Because of its superior water resistance, epoxy-based speckle is an oil-based formulation ideal for outdoor applications. In addition, the spackle is excellent for repairing holes like screw hole, gouges, and cracks in the exterior wood.
Spackle with a vinyl base
As the name implies, Vinyl-based spackle is a vinyl compound that can cover and fill holes up to 34 inches deep. Apply multiple layers of vinyl-based spackle, allowing each to dry before adding the next.
Spackle in acrylic
Acrylic spackle has properties similar to vinyl spackle. It is suitable for drywall, plaster, wood, and stone use.
Best Wood Spackle
Alex DAP Plus Spackling
This basic spackling paste with professional-grade strength can be used on drywall, metal, and wood. It is highly durable and can be used on interior and exterior projects with excellent results.
Because this DAP spackling does not shrink or sink, the filled nail holes or screw holes and cracks will remain flush, and even if the color does not match the substrate, sand and paint this product to achieve the desired look.
A wood floor filler rather than a multi purpose wood filler may be preferable when filling cracks in hardwood floors and flat surface.
Pros and Cons of Spackle
- Spackling does not require priming before applying it to a hole or crack.
- Spackle is easy to use because it is premixed and ready to use.
- It is a low-cost compound.
- It provides a long-term solution for minor wall or drywall flaws.
- It is commonly used for both interior and exterior applications.
- Vinyl spackling compound is resistant to shrinking and thus keeps its shape.
- Spackle is less useful for large projects or sealing tasks.
- Side by Side Comparison of Wood Filler and Spackle
The right product is critical to the success of any DIY project. However, deciding between spackle and wood filler can be difficult, so a side-by-side comparison can help you understand the differences.
Spackle vs. wood filler: What’s the difference?
Spackle is used primarily on drywall and plaster, whereas wood filler is used primarily on wood. This is by far the most significant distinction between these two patches.
However, the applications tend to overlap, as spackle is sometimes used on materials other than walls, such as metal and wood, to seal minor cracks and repair defects on their surfaces. Similarly, wood filler is frequently used on non-wood surfaces.
Nonetheless, because wood filler contains actual wood fibers, it is better suited for repairing defects in wood than drywall, metal, or any other surface.
Because wood filler closely resembles wood, it can be used to cover pores in porous woods such as mahogany, walnut, oak, ash, and fir. This contributes to a smooth surface with fewer, more manageable pores.
Similarly, because spackle is a drywall compound, its formulation is best suited for repairing holes, cracks, and dents in walls and drywall—rather than wood.
They are, however, more versatile than wood filler. As a result, they can perform admirably on plaster, masonry, and painted metal. Only on wooden surfaces does wood filler outperform spackle in terms of effectiveness.
How to Use Spackle vs. Wood Filler
You’ll often use the same techniques to apply wood filler and spackle to the respective surfaces.
When filling gaps or cracks in wood surfaces or molding, apply the filler to the affected area and spread it out with a spatula. For the best results, ensure that you fill the holes or gaps with generous filler.
Wipe away any excess product with a damp rag after covering all affected areas. Allow the filler to dry before scuffing, sanding it smooth with fine-grain sandpaper.
To repair some drywall flaws with a spackle, take a generous amount of spackle and work it into the affected area or hole with a spatula.
Apply enough spackle to fill the hole generously, then spread some of it on the surface around the affected area for an even look, just like you would with wood filler.
Allow the spackle to dry completely before sanding the surface smooth and even. In either case, after the fixed surface has completely dried, you can paint it.
Dry time of wood filler vs. spackle
Deeper holes in both wood and drywall typically take longer than shallower cracks. As a result, the dry time will vary depending on the depth of the hole filled with spackle or wood filler.
The spackle typically dries in less than 30 minutes on small holes, cracks, and dents. However, if the hole or gap is bottomless, it may take 1 to 2 hours for the spackle to dry.
Alternatively, you can use a fast-drying spackle available at home improvement stores for shallow and deep holes.
On the other hand, wood filler takes longer to dry than spackle. The time required will also be affected by whether the filler is water-based or solvent-based.
The water-based filler typically dries in about 2 hours for minor defects such as nail holes. However, if the hole is bottomless, plan on 5 to 6 hours of drying time.
If you use an oil-based wood filler, allow 1 to 2 days for the patch to dry if the holes are deep.
Spackle vs. wood filler: Which is better?
One of the primary benefits of spackle is its high resistance to shrinking. If the product is applied correctly into a nail hole or other surface gaps, it will retain its shape once dry and will not shrink due to temperature and weather changes.
On the other hand, wood filler is known for shrinking in response to weather changes. When used in nail holes and other gaps in the wood, water based wood filler is notorious for shrinking and sinking.
Always consider using a large amount of wood filler when filling small hole in wood. You can also use an oil-based wood filler instead. On larger projects, it resists shrinking better, so you can leave water-based fillers to repair superficial flaws.
Sanding wood filler vs. spackle
When the spackle has dried, it can be sanded to create a friendly, smooth sanded surface. In general, spackle is more accessible to sand than wood filler. As a result, sanding spackles typically takes less time than wood filler.
Consider going over the repaired surfaces with a sanding sponge to even them out and smooth them out. Because the material does not require much pressure, you will not need a power sander.
On the other hand, the wood filler may require more pressure and time to sand correctly. Depending on which type is involved, it can be extremely obstinate. You might also need to use a power sander for the job.
Painting with Spackle vs. Wood Filler
Once the spackle has dried completely, you can paint over it. Again, use a primer to make the paint appear more vibrant when painting over spackle.
When applying wood filler, the same rule applies. It accepts paint but works best if the surface is primed first. More importantly, you must select a compatible primer for each case to achieve the desired sheen and coverage.
Finishing with wood filler vs. spackle
Because spackle dries easier than stainable wood filler, it generally accepts finishing better. In addition, because of its ability to accept fine sanding, spackling produces a smoother and more evenly finished surface.
Although wood filler can be finished, the surface is smoother than spackling. Therefore, patched areas are more likely to be visible after finishing than exterior spackle-repaired surfaces.
The process may take longer when using a wood filler instead of spackling on your finished wood.
Wood filler and drywall are particularly effective at repairing holes and defects in wooden surface and drywall. Aside from that, the applications of these materials overlap, albeit with varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the material.
As a result, use wood filler to repair holes, cracks, and dents on wooden surfaces and any other surface specified on the product label.
Spackling, on the other hand, should be used primarily on drywall or any other surface as directed on the product label for the best results.
FAQ on Wood Filler Vs Spackle
Is spackle an acceptable substitute for wood filler?
Can spackle be used in place of wood filler? Can spackle be used in place of wood filler? This is likely one of the most important queries you have right now. In a strict sense, the answer is yes; in most cases, it will be sufficient to “perform the job.” If you are in a bind and that is the only thing you have and you only need to patch up a tiny hole, then by all means, go ahead and use it.
Is it possible to use wood filler with DRYDex spackling?
DAP Filling holes and fractures in surfaces such as drywall, plaster, wood, brick, and stone using DRYDex Spackling is a possible application for this product. Its ready-to-use mix is simple to apply, resulting in professional-quality repairs that are quick and do not crack, crumble, or flake. DryDex becomes brittle after drying, is simple to sand, and can be painted.
When applying drywall, is wood filler a suitable substitute for spackle?
What kind of filler should you use—caulk, wood, or spackle? It is a very good question to inquire about. Each of these patches serves a unique function, and there is a certain situation in which they are most effective, although they might all perform the job for a while if you give them enough time. To summarize, caulk should be used for corners and edges, wood filler should be used for flat surfaces, and spackle should be used for drywall.
When is the use of wood filler not recommended?
Because the chemicals that are a component of the composition of putty can be hazardous to exposed wood, it is recommended that putty only be used on surfaces that have been treated or stained. Due to the fact that filler is susceptible to shrinking and expanding with changing temperatures, it cannot be stained after it has been applied, therefore it cannot be used to repair damage on the exterior.
Is the use of spackling recommended for wood?
It is important to keep in mind that spackle is often not ideal for filling holes in wood surfaces. Wood filler or putty may be a better alternative for projects of this nature. The spackling and nail hole filler that I favor to use is called DAP DryDex.