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How Long Does It Take For Wood Filler or Plastic Wood to Dry?

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Woods have different levels of resistance to damage which are influenced by a lot of factors with one of the most prominent being the type of wood. Certain wood types have greater durability; however, that is not enough to prevent holes from forming in your wood.

Activities like nailing, moving hard and sharp across the surface, and more, can leave dents on the wood surface. These dents not only look unappealing but make some wood activities like finishing less effective. To repair these uneven parts of the wood, people make use of wood fillers.

Wood fillers and wood putty which are sometimes called plastic wood due to their nature, are used to cover uneven surfaces on the wood, so you get a nice and even wood. These fillers are malleable; hence they can fill up any space. They do not harden but dry up while still retaining their plasticity, so a change in shape does not affect them. So a question should always strike in your mind how long for wood filler to dry, before you go for the final touch.

Knowing the time it takes to dry is essential as it helps you plan. You don’t want to wait too long or too soon and reduce its effectiveness. So how long do wood fillers take to dry? You’ll find out all about the drying time in the piece.

Uses of Wood Fillers

Uses of Wood Fillers

Why should a wood filler be important to you? Wood fillers and plastic wood alike help to repair dents and scratches on the wood surface. It fills up these low areas to the level of the other areas, so there is consistency and flat wood.

These fillers are useful when repairing hardwood floors, furniture, and cabinets, among other wooden structures. You can use fillers to shape damaged wood edges.

Difference Between Wood Fillers And Plastic Wood

Difference Between Wood Fillers And Plastic Wood

Although used interchangeably by many, wood fillers and plastic wood or wood putty are not the same. They may serve the same general purpose of repairing wood dents, but their structures are different and as such present varying advantages.

Also Read:- How to Apply Polyurethane to Wood (in 5 Easy Steps)

Wood Fillers

Wood fillers consist of wood fibers and particles. They are mixed with a combination of a binder and thinner that hold the particles together. When applied, the thinner evaporates, leaving the binder behind to harden and hold the particles together in the dent.

Wood fillers harden and provide added support and as such, are ideal for large dents and openings. You can sand wood fillers to get an even surface. It also allows for the application of paint, while some will accommodate stains on them.

Wood fillers solidify and as such are better suited to indoor use where there are lesser chances of a change in the shape of the wood. Using a wood filler outdoors may cause it to break and cause the same imperfection you’re trying to solve.

Check labels before application as there are some weatherproof variants.

Plastic Wood

Plastic wood or wood putty comes in the form of a paste. Plastic wood is malleable and does not harden completely when dry, allowing it to conform to whatever change in shape may occur after application. It is ideal for small cracks and scratches.

Wood putty does not harden, so you cannot sand it to create a flush surface with that of the wood. This makes it great outdoors, where the wood is exposed to expansion and reduction due to the effect of the weather on the wood. It can also be used indoors without any issues. Wood putty is weatherproof and won’t be affected. It is also difficult to apply paint due to the texture of the putty, as it will peel off. Luckily, wood putty comes in varying colors, and you can select matching colors with your wood.

How Long Does it Take For Wood Fillers/Plastic Wood to Dry?

How Long Does it Take For Wood Fillers/Plastic Wood to Dry?

When you apply a wood filler, you have to wait for it to dry before you go on with your repair. This wait time varies significantly depending on the type of filler and its composition. Generally, wood fillers dry faster than wood putty, but how long exactly is this time?

The Time it Takes For Wood Fillers to Dry

Wood fillers dry fast and only take 30 minutes to 6 hours to harden. This means your application needs to be fast, so it does not harden before you complete the application. It also means you do not have to spend a lot of time waiting before you can paint or refinish your wood.

Water-based wood fillers take a shorter time to harden, and several layers can be applied without waiting for the first layer to dry. It typically takes less than an hour for water-based wood fillers to dry and harden.

Oil-based wood fillers take between 1 to 6 hours to dry and harden. You’ll also need to wait for about 20 minutes for the first layer to solidify before you apply another layer.

Also Read: How to Restore And Refinish Hardwood Floors Perfectly Without Sanding?

The Time it Takes For Wood Putty to Dry

The Time it Takes For Wood Putty to Dry

When it comes to wood putty, drying is slower and can take up to 8 days for it to dry, depending on the type.

Water-based wood putty is perfect when using a water-based finish. They take a shorter time than oil-based wood putty. It takes about 24 hours for a water-based finish to dry depending on the weather.

Water-based wood putty is ideal when the top finish will be oil-based. They take 48 hours to dry, which is twice as much time it takes water-based options. This is dependent on the temperature and humidity present.

How to Shorten the Drying Time of Wood Fillers And Wood Putty?

Many would want to shorten the time it takes their wood fillers to dry so they can complete their project on time. There are several things you can do to reduce the time it’ll take your filler or putty to dry.

1. Apply in Warm Weather

The wood filler will dry faster if it is applied when the weather is warm. Application in the summer months or under the sun will lead to a faster drying time. Warm weather instead of intense heat is ideal for quick-drying of your wood putty or filler.

2. Warm the Filler

 This works with the application in warm weather. Warm the Filler with a heat gun or thermostat to reduce the time it’ll take to dry when you apply it to the wood.

3. Apply Even And Thin Layers

Wood fillers dry faster when the layers are even and thin. A thick layer will typically take longer to dry; however, if you must apply a thick layer to get the best results, apply several thin layers instead of a single thick layer when applying layers for oil-based putty. It is best to wait for some minutes for the first layer to dry a bit before applying the next.

4. Sand the Area Properly

A smooth area will reduce furrows and allow you to apply an even and thin layer when filling the dents. This will reduce the drying time of the wood filler. Sand the area of application properly with a sander.

5. Use a Fan

Having a fan blowing the area will reduce the humidity and increase air circulation, which will reduce the drying time of the filler.

6. Add a Hardener

Add a Hardener

You can add a Hardener to your wood putty to make it dry faster. However, you need to mix in the right proportions as you can easily damage the flexibility of the putty. Epoxy resin is one of the most popular hardeners you can add to your wood putty.

7. Clean And Dry the Wood

A clean wood void of impurities will dry faster. Clean the wood thoroughly and dry it before applying your filler. This method does not significantly reduce dry time but can be effective for small changes.


Repairing wood cracks and scratches requires the help of wood fillers and plastic wood, also known as wood putty. Their dry times depend on several factors like humidity and temperature, but the typical dry time is between 30 minutes and 48 hours.

Also Read: How to Protect And Safeguard Cedar Wood For Outdoors in 5 Simple Ways