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How Long Does it Take for Wood Filler to Dry – Quick Drying Methods

Preparation of a schedule is the foremost thing everyone prefers to do before commencing the work of home repairs. However, dealing with the materials is not easy, and they can elongate your schedule by a few more hours. Wood filler is one such tool that covers the hidden blemishes in wood but requires enough time to dry. Therefore, to ensure that your work gets accomplished on time, you need to understand every detail about the wood filler. Here is the information about how long does wood filler take to dry and the difference between the drying time of wood filler and wood putty.

How Long Does Wood Filler Take to Dry?

There are two types of wood fillers available: oil-based and water-based fillers, and you have to decide based on the topcoat you will use after the filler gets dried up. It is easy to remember that water-based topcoats require water fillers, and oil-based topcoats need oil-based fillers. Let’s see the dry time for each type of wood filler

Oil-Based Wood Fillers Dry Time

The drying time of filler depends largely on the weather of a particular location. It is affected by both the temperature and humidity prevailing at a place. Therefore, you have to analyze the likely weather situations in your area on the day of wood repairing. After applying the oil-based filler, you have to allow it to dry for at least five to ten minutes. Then, wipe away the excess filler with a cloth and let it dry again for 12 hours.

If you are unsatisfied with the results, you can apply another layer of filler. But you have to give the similar time as you gave during the first application. You can then forward to the next step that involves sanding the area with high-grain sandpaper. In case the sandpaper gets stuck to the wooden area, you have to give some more time for drying. Hence, the oil-based filler needs 5 to 10 minutes to dry when applied on a wooden surface layer.

Water-Based Wood Fillers Dry Time

You don’t have to wait to remove the excess water filler after applying a layer. After wiping it off with a cloth, you can wait for an hour to dry. You can check the dryness by using 320-grit sandpaper. If it feels sticky, you can allow the filler to dry for more hours. You can sand it again after it gets completely dried up. So, it is a patience-testing procedure, and you have to wait for several hours to obtain the desired results. Hence, the water-based filler takes around 2 to 4 hours to dry and furnish an excellent outcome.

Why it Takes Too Long for Wood Filler to Dry?

The drying time of a filler depends upon two essential factors, i.e., the type of filler and the amount of filler. You can choose the most appropriate filler for your wooden project based on them.

Categories of Filler

The market is filled with various types of fillers. The categories are not restricted only to fillers and putty, but it also includes acrylic caulk, latex, epoxy, and homemade powder. It gets difficult to pick the one suitable for a specific project. The combination of material and the filler type affects the duration of drying. You will notice that some fillers dry up in a few minutes while others remain moist for a prolonged period even after application. Choosing an inappropriate filler can extend the time required to finish the project.

However, don’t consider that a quick-drying filler is the best one, and a moist filler will not work for your wooden material. It is because the quality of a moist filler can be much better than a dry filler. Often the quick-drying fillers crack and break with time and can make the entire repair useless.

Quantity of Filler

The fillers quantity directly affects the time required for drying up. Applying a thick layer increases the time to dry, and it can take too long to furnish the desired outcomes. Moreover, big cavities take more than the expected time to dry. On the other hand, a thin layer dries quickly in warm weather with less humidity. But it is not advisable to apply a thin coat of filler. Instead, it is better to use distinct amounts for different surfaces.

How to Make Wood Filler Dry Faster?

You can make use of the following methods to fast the drying pace of the wood filler. It will allow you to accomplish the work within the set schedule and without hassle.

Step 1: Avoiding Thick Layers of Filler

You can use multiple thin layers rather than a single thick layer as it will allow the wood filler to perform its job. Also, thick layers of filler take an extended time to dry up. For larger projects, it can be troublesome, and you can look for a solution suitable for your requirements. Make sure not to waste the filler and finish the hardening process in the least possible time.

Step 2: Cleaning the Wooden Area

Removing the debris and making the surface clean are necessary to make wood filler dry faster. Dirt present can slow down the entire drying process and gives poor quality results. You can use sandpaper and a damp cloth to clean the surface. Holes should be cleaned using a screwdriver with a cloth tied around its bottom part.

Step 3: Adding Hardeners

You can consider adding hardeners to your filler for attaining quick dry of the surface. It can be a good step to add hardeners and epoxy resin to the filler mixture as it can extend the filler’s life. But remain cautious while making this mixture and can make it easily susceptible to breaks.

Step 4: Sanding the Surface

You can sand the surface using a piece of sandpaper and provide a smooth look to the outcome. This can be one of the most effective options to make the drying process quick. However, it doesn’t work properly if the surface is wet. You can put the wooden object under the sun or a fan in such a situation.

Wood Filler vs Wood Putty

Some people consider wood filler and wood putty as interchangeable terms with no significant difference. But it is not true as both are distinct products having different uses.

Wood Filler is made using wooden particles and fibers having the mixture of a thinner and a binder. After applying filler, the thinner part gets evaporated and makes it hard. Due to this property, the integrity of the wood is maintained, and a strong bond is established with the surface. Also, the drying time varies for fillers, i.e., it is around 10 minutes for dry fillers and four hours for water fillers.

Wood Putty doesn’t get hard like wood filler and consists of oil-based substances, plastic chemicals, and a pigment. This pigment is utilized to match the putty color with the wood’s color. It rectifies the small faults on the finished project. It doesn’t dry quickly, and often the user has to wait longer than a wood filler. Also, it is used to fill extremely small holes that don’t require complete repair work.


What is the fastest drying wood filler?

Currently, the popular and quick drying wood filler available in the market is Goodfilla Water-based Wood and Grain Filler. One can also go for the Elmer’s Tubes for daily projects.

Does wood putty dry?

Wood putty will not harden like fillers, but it gets dry.

How long does it take wood putty to dry?

Wood putty usually takes up to 2 to 6 hours to dry. And for sanding it should dry for at least 24 hours.

Can you add water to wood filler?

Yes, if the filler is not in the required consistency, you can add a little amount of water and mix that properly and thoroughly for the perfect consistency.


The drying time of wood filler depends upon several aspects and generally ranges from 10 minutes to a day. But an effective solution while working with wood filler is that you need a great amount of patience. The entire woodworking project can take multiple days, and you may have to devote more time than the planned schedule. You can use different methods to make this drying process quick and achieve the best wooden projects for your home.

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