Can You Screw Into A Wood Filler? [Here’s How]

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Jacky C

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Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional woodworker, if you are seriously into designing woodcrafts, it might take you to join different parts together to make it more appealing or complex sometimes. 

However, most of the time wood has surface imperfections like scratches, splits, streaks, knots, or even worm decays. So, the best thing you can do is to use wood fillers for strengthening your wooden object. 

Here, the question arises:

can you screw into A wood filler?

Yes, you can when the wood filler is fully cured and dried. But keep in mind that big screws will crack the whole object as the wood fillers are denser and cannot bear much load or stress. Therefore, use a smaller screw having a minor load to support.

So, there is much more to read about in this blog:

  • Which fillers are the best for screwing up?
  • Detailed guide for screwing into wood filler? 

Read Also: Wood Putty Vs. Wood Filler

Also, by the end of this blog, we will answer some of your questions as well.

Types of wood fillers that can be screwed:

There are three best wood filler options available in a carpentry shop that can be screwed into; that are:

  1. Epoxy-based wood filler
  2. Exterior wood filler
  3. Multi-purpose wood filler

Epoxy-based wood filler

Even if you are working with the most expensive woods, it always has the disadvantage of getting scratched or cracked. In all cases, you must have to use a wood filler that would not only let you screw into but also stain or sand the pieces. 

Of all the options, epoxy-based wood filler is the best. You can perform all harsh operations on it even screwing into it. Just build a pilot hole before you start screwing.

While some of the advantages of this hard setting wood filler include elasticity and durability the disadvantages may also count in as you cannot use it for heavy load-bearing for example: in hinges for windows or doors. 

So, make sure you are doing a little load calculation and purpose analysis before building a hole into it.

Exterior wood filler

Exterior wood fillers are the best bet when you intend to use the object outside. These wood fillers are mostly used at places that undergo severe climatic changes and humidity issues as the filler restrains wood from warping and changing shape. 

It has waterproofing characteristics and is resilient due to which exterior wood fillers are highly used in marine environments. 

Multi-purpose wood filler

These fillers are the best when you need to work out on an object that will undergo high torque. That means you can easily bend and mold the fillers. Another advantageous property is that it has a drying time of 2 hours only. It can be filled into holes and the filler will immediately take its shape without cracking or tearing up.

It comes in various colors and can easily be painted and used as a varnish as well.

Now we will move on to the method for screwing into wood fillers.

A detailed guide on how to drill into wood filler?

As pre-discussed that there are only three types of wood fillers that can be screwed into. So, the success of drilling a bolt into a wood filler mainly depends on how well you have used the wood filler and the appropriate method of drilling a hole into it. 

Both of them will be discussed in detail to give you a helping hand.

Things needed:

  1. Suitable wood filler (as per the conditions)
  2. Sandpaper
  3. Tack cloth
  4. Putty knife
  5. Sealer
  6. Paint or stain (optional)

You can easily find all this equipment at any hardware shop nearby or online retailers like Amazon or Walmart.

Step 1: Prepping up the surface:

Preparing the surface is necessary because it will help in achieving a smooth object at the end. In this phase, you will clean up all the loose wooden particles lying on the surface. It might be smaller wooden chunks or loose paint particles.

Step 2: Sanding off the sharp edges:

After prepping up the wood you need to sand off any rough or sharp edges around the area to be filled as that would help keep the filler intact in its place.

Make sure you put a surgical mask on your nose while sanding up the wood as the debris could cause nasal cancer also.

Afterward, use a tack cloth to clean all the dust particles resulting from sanding off the wood. 

This can be done through a wet cloth too (in case you don’t have a tack cloth).

Step 3: Apply wood filler:

Start this step by mixing the epoxy resin with the hardener in the exact proportion recommended by the company. 

Now take a putty knife and start applying the filler from one end to the other until the deepest areas are filled with the product. It is better that you overdo the wood filler in case of any shrinkages that might occur while the drying up process.

Once the filler is fully dried, take sandpaper and remove the excess rounded-up filler so that you can give the exact shape to the wood whatever is desired.

Make sure you firmly tap the wood while applying the wood filler as most of the time air bubbles are caught inside that weaken the component. It may also result in reducing the strength and durability of the wood filler.

Step 4: Let the wood filler dry completely.

After applying the wood filler do ensure that you give sufficient time to it for curing up. As the more dried up it gets the firmer it will be which would help you in nicely screwing into the object.

Mostly the curing up process takes anywhere between 20 minutes to 4 hours. So, try to be patient. Once it is completely cured up, use sandpaper for smoothening up the rough edges. Give it whatever desired shape you want.

Step 5: Finishing

Now use a suitable paint or stain on the wood filler area so that it matches with the rest of the object. It is an optional step, and you may skip it if you have other things in mind.

But if you are painting the wood filler, make sure to check a smaller section before applying it to the whole. If it perfectly matches the natural color, then finish up your job.

Finally, your wood filler is ready to get the screws.

Driving the screws into wood filler:

After going through the above process, drilling into the wood filler becomes easier than ever.

Equipment needed:

  1. Suitable nails or screws
  2. Variety of drill bits (as you might need to start with the smaller bits)
  3. Power drill

Keep in mind the following pointers while drilling into the wood fillers:

  1. Create pilot holes into the wood filler.
  2. Calculate the amount of load you intend to attach with the screw.

Creating pilot holes into the wood filler

As the epoxy hardens up when dried so it is always better to make a pilot hole before putting up a screw. A pilot hole is an initial hole that serves as a guide for the screw. It is smaller in size and can be increased with the help of a larger-sized bit.

Moreover, there are two types of screws:

  • Self-tapping
  • Self-drilling


Such types of screws require a pilot hole in the beginning and carry threads. After building the pilot hole, self-tapping screws are pushed inside easily.


Such types of screws have a sharper end which looks like a drill bit itself and can be drilled without the help of a pilot hole. But these screws also have a risk of cracking or splitting up the wood filler.

Tips to consider while screwing into wood filler

  1. Wood fillers are not actual wood, so they might crack or split up if not set up properly. 
  2. Make sure you perform load calculation before using screws and drilling into the wood filler.
  3. It is better that you don’t put high torque equipment with the screws like hinges for doors or brackets for bed frames.
  4. Some of the manufacturers mention quick drying time for their wood filler, it is good that you give it maximum curing time.


Is wood filler as strong as wood?

Wood filler is manufactured with wood fibers like sawdust typically mixed with a water-based or petroleum-based binder which gives it ultimate strength and finishes. However, the wood filler does not bring any additional strength to the whole structure.

How long does it take the wood filler to dry?

The quick dry time ranges from 20 to 30 minutes while it is always recommended to give it 2 to 3 hours for best results.

Why did my wood filler crack?

Wood filler cracks up if you don’t give it sufficient curing time. Make sure you give it maximum drying up time rather than following up the quick-dry timer.

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