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Choosing the Best Exterior Wood Filler: 4 Best Options

You’ve just built some beautiful wooden patio furniture. To give each piece that final clean, finished look, you want to cover the screw holes, but there are so many exterior wood fillers on the market that it’s hard to figure out what actually works.

Fortunately, we’ve made a list of the four best exterior wood fillers out there. These are the long-lasting solutions you need for all your outdoor cracks and crevices. All of them are sandable and paintable, and all are water resistant.

And, of course, each one of these exterior wood fillers will hide all those screw holes neatly, making your outdoor furniture seamless.

Best Exterior Wood Filler

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler

Easiest Use:
Elmer’s E891 Carpenter’s Stainable Wood Filler

Best for Staining:
FamoWood Latex Wood Filler

Best Overall

Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler

First up, we have the best of the best. Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler will check all your boxes and fill all your holes.

Bondo is permanent and non-shrinkable. It dries super fast, which is a good thing and a bad thing. We’ll start with the good.

The good: It dries within minutes, allowing you to sand and paint immediately.

The bad: You have to apply it super quick to make sure it doesn’t harden on your putty knife.

Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler, Sandable in 15 min, 1.9 lbs with 1 oz Hardener

Bondo arrives looking like mushy clay. With it comes a tube of liquid hardener. To make the wood filler, you have to combine these two together. After you do, you have about two minutes to apply your solution to the desired hole.

I recommend reading the instructions thoroughly. When you start, use less of both substances than they call for. This will allow you to do little bits at a time, ensuring that the filler won’t harden before you have it in place.

One of the main problems with exterior wood fillers is that most claim to be stainable. This is rarely the case. Stain doesn’t sink into wood fillers the same way it does with wood. Be warned that even if a filler claims to be stainable, after it’s stained, it might stick out from the wood around it.

With Bondo, you can stain it, but you may have to do a few layers to get it to roughly match the color of the rest of the wood. However, if you’re planning on painting, go for it.

Product Features

  • Permanent and non-shrinkable
  • Use on most woods, interior and exterior
  • Sandable within 15 minutes
  • Paintable, stainable, and water-resistant


  • Dries fast, so you can sand and paint fast
  • Durable and long-lasting


  • Sets really fast, making it hard to work with
  • So hard that it’s tough on sanders (use coarse grit)
  • Not great with stain

Easiest Use

Elmer’s E891 Carpenter’s Stainable Wood Filler

Elmer’s is a name we all know. In fact, their newest catchphrase is The Glue with the Orange Cap. Doesn’t that just give you such nostalgia?

Elmer’s Stainable Wood Filler is one of the easiest exterior wood fillers to use on this list. You just plaster it onto any area that needs covering. It’s made with actual wood fibers to make it sandable, paintable, and stainable.

Elmer's E891 Carpenter's Stainable Wood Filler, 1 Pt Tub, 12-24, 1 Pint, Light Tan

I would say that while this is the easiest exterior wood filler to use on this list, it’s not the best, only because it takes some time to dry and it’s not as weatherproof as the others.

Again, while it claims to be stainable, it does not absorb the stain as well as actual wood. You can stain it, but it might just turn out a different color than the rest of your project. Oh, and some people complain about the smell. Personally, I don’t mind it, but yeah, most wood fillers smell a bit off.

If you’re painting this Elmer’s product with a nice coat of paint and then sealing it, this exterior wood filler is exactly what you need.

Product Features

  • Contains real wood fibers, so its easier to stain and sand
  • Resists shrinking and cracking
  • Interior and exterior use


  • Easy to use
  • Easy to sand


  • Not great for staining
  • It’s got a smell

Best for Staining

FamoWood Latex Wood Filler

FamoWood is another easy-to-use solution for all your exterior wood cracks and crevice needs. You apply and wait for it to dry. It dries quickly. Fortunately, not as quick as some of the others, but still within fifteen minutes.

The best part of FamoWood is you can choose from a variety of colors. This might help with the staining process. While it will never match perfectly, it may be closer than other exterior wood fillers.

FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler - Pint, Natural

FamoWood isn’t as reliable as the others and may crack over time. Also, a lot of people have complained about the packaging. The lid is a pain in the neck to take off and just as hard to put back on.

The good news is it doesn’t smell as bad as other exterior wood fillers.

Product Features

  • Hardens in 15 minutes
  • Can be sanded, drilled, or planed
  • Low odor
  • Stainable and paintable
  • Interior and exterior use


  • Choose from a variety of colors


  • Doesn’t stain well
  • The lid has trouble coming off, and once off, you can’t seal it back on

Minwax High-Performance Wood Filler

Minwax High-Performance Wood Filler is a lot like the Bondo Wood Filler. It dries fast and lasts a long while.

Like Bondo, it comes with two different solutions. Mix one with the other, then apply quickly. It will dry within a few minutes. Again, like Bondo, if you don’t apply it right away, it will harden on your putty knife instead of in the hole.

Minwax 21600000 High-Performance Wood Filler, 12-Ounce Can

Minwax is a classic woodworking brand. They make everything for your finishing and refurbishing needs. I like their products, and I like their wood filler.

Once again, like all exterior wood fillers, Minwax doesn’t take stains very well.

Product Features

  • Dries in 15 minutes
  • Sandable in 30 minutes
  • Can be drilled, planed, and sanded


  • Classic brand
  • Dries fast, so you can sand and paint right away


  • Not very stainable
  • Might dry a little too fast

Exterior Wood Filler Buyer’s Guide

There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to make sure you’re buying the best exterior wood filler for your needs,

The Project Type

Are you filling in screw holes on your deck, or are you attempting to fill a gap in the siding of your house?

The best exterior wood filler for you depends on how you’re going to use it. Is it a small quick job? Or is it a huge job that you need to get just right? Some of the wood fillers on this list are a little more difficult to use than the others, but the reward is within their difficulty.

Wood FIller for Screw Holes

For instance, Bondo and Minwax are tough because you have to mix the solution precisely, then apply it quickly to the gap or hole. If that’s done correctly, you’ll have a permanent fix to your problem. You won’t have to worry about cracking or shrinking.

But if you’re just doing a small, straightforward project, I’d recommend using the Elmers or FamoWood. They’re easy to use and efficient enough to get the job done.

Finishing With Painting or Staining

Every one of the exterior wood fillers on this list can handle paint. However, no exterior wood fillers hold up well when stained. Most exterior wood fillers are made from resin or latex. This means that they sort of resemble plastic.

Wood is porous and accepting. Plastic is solid and brittle. Wood absorbs the stain. Plastic just lets the stain sit on the surface. Exterior wood filler isn’t exactly plastic, but it does have a similar response to stains.

Some exterior wood fillers, like the Elmer’s, handle stains a tiny bit better than the others. And some brands like FamoWood offer different colors to help you match your wood.

So remember to take into account how you’re covering the wood filler. It will make a big difference in the end.

Best Exterior Wood Filler FAQs

There are a lot of questions out there about exterior wood fillers. Here are a few simple answers.

When should you not use wood filler?

Wood filler is perfect for covering up screw holes, odd scratches and knicks, or seams between joined pieces. It’s not great to cover up large gaps or holes. It’s always better and sometimes far easier to just replace the wood, especially if the wood is rotten.

Which is better, wood putty or wood filler?

Wood putty is exactly what it’s described to be, a putty. It’s always going to remain soft and, therefore, cannot be drilled into or cut apart like wood. It’s used more for aesthetic value rather than practical purposes.

Wood Filler

Wood filler, on the other hand, is meant to act as wood. You will be able to saw, sand, and drill into wood filler the same way you can with actual wood. It’s a more permanent solution to gaps, cracks, and holes.

How big of a gap can wood filler fill?

I’ve personally never tested how big a gap you can fill with wood filler. I’m assuming you can fill a huge gap if needed; however, it won’t be easy. It’s always better to just replace the wood, or use a piece of wood to fill most of the gap, then fill around it with wood filler to even out the seams.

What consistency should wood filler be?

It should be as hard as wood when dried. Before then, it should be the consistency of wet playdough.

Fill Wood Holes and Gaps With the Best Exterior Wood Filler

Wood filler is a wonderful way to clean up any wooden structures. But not all wood fillers are equal. For all your exterior projects, I can’t recommend Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler enough.

Are you looking into exterior wood filler to fix your wood siding before you paint your house? If so, check out this article that covers 10 Exterior Painting Tips.