Can You Drill Wood Filler?

It happens: the wood around your home and other places you frequent gets cracked, chipped, dented, or nail and screw heads start to show through. Luckily, there’s an easy solution for those who are up to the task of taking on small repairs: wood filler!

While it’s known that wood filler can, like its name states, fill blemishes in wood, many a DIY-er and handyman have asked: “Can you drill wood filler?” The short answer is yes; you can drill wood filler. While the process of drilling into wood filler is pretty simple, a lot of its success comes down to if the wood filler was applied properly and is fully dried.

There are certain types of wood fillers that can be drilled into, and there are important tips to follow to ensure the best possible results. Curious as to what types of wood fillers can be drilled into, how to use them properly, and how to drill into them for the best results? You’re in the right place! Below, we’ll discuss all you need to know about drilling wood filler.

Can You Drill Wood Filler?

In order to know if you can drill wood filler and how to do it, you’ll need to know a few key components, like what wood filler actually is, what types of wood filler there are, and a few other things to consider. Let’s dive into it!

What is Wood Filler?

As many people have probably seen first-hand, wood can be subject to splitting, cracking and denting. Often, this is just due to normal wear and tear. Wood can be hard and expensive to replace, though, especially if it’s on furniture or floors. That’s where wood filler comes in!

Wood filler is a product that’s used to fill and smooth over holes, cracks and dents in the wood. As its name implies, it literally fills wood. Wood filler can also be used to smooth the surfaces of woods with a wide grain, and it can additionally be used to conceal the heads of nails or screws in the wood.

Wood fillers are made up of binding agents and filling substances, and they often take on the texture of putty. They may also be made in different colors to match different types of wood.

Different Types of Wood Filler

Like there are many different types of wood and different types of ways wood can be used, there are also many different types of wood filler. Knowing what the different kinds of wood fillers are used for is crucial, because only certain types can be drilled in to!

Simple Wood Filler

Some people may be able to construct a “simple wood filler”, also called “wood stopper”, which is usually made of sawdust from the same wood as the piece needing to be repaired and carpenter’s glue in yellow or white. Other simple wood fillers are linseed and chalk or ground limestone.

While simple wood fillers may be a quick and easy fix, they aren’t usually as of great quality as other wood fillers and it’s smart to use them sparingly.

Two-Part Epoxy Wood Fillers

Epoxy type wood fillers are made up of resins and hardeners to create hard and durable fillers. They’re called “two-part” fillers because the process of applying them is composed of two parts: applying an undercoat and then applying a second coat to leave the filler in place.

These fillers are very stable once they’re dried, and they don’t shrink or expand in the wood after being applied. Epoxy type wood fillers leave a hard workable surface in the wood once dried and keep out moisture and insects from the wood. They’re also able to be stained and painted once cured, and they cure quickly. 

If looking to drill into wood filler – epoxy types are one of the kinds you want! Epoxy type of wood fillers can hold nails and screws in place.

Exterior Wood Fillers

Wood that needs to be filled and is outside (therefore exposed to the elements) should be filled with an exterior wood filler. Exterior wood fillers are generally waterproof and can hold stain, paint and polishes.

Exterior wood fillers can also be drilled and hold nails and screws in place.

Multi-Purpose Wood Fillers

Multi-purpose wood fillers come with a lot of the benefits that two-part epoxy fillers and exterior fillers do. They can also be used on wooden exteriors, and they dry very quickly, so they can even be applied in the winter.

They come in a range of colors, but can also be stained, painted or polished. Multi-purpose fillers can also be drilled in to and they can hold nails and screws in place.

What Types of Wood Filler Can I Drill Into?

As a recap and quick reference, check the table below for the types of wood filler you can drill in to!

  Can It Be Drilled Into?
Simple Wood Filler No
Two-Part Epoxy Wood Fillers Yes
Exterior Wood Fillers Yes
Multipurpose Wood Fillers Yes


How to Drill Into Wood Filler

So, as you just learned, there are about three types of wood fillers that can be drilled into: two part epoxy wood fillers, exterior wood fillers, and multipurpose wood fillers. Before knowing how to drill into the wood filler, it’s important to know how to use wood filler in the first place. Below, we’ll walk you through the basics of both.

Using Wood Filler Properly

Using and applying wood filler properly is one of the huge factors that can determine the success of drilling into the wood filler. In order to use wood filler properly, you’ll need some basic equipment and knowledge of some basic steps.

Equipment Needed to Use Wood Filler

  • Wood filler of choice
  • Sandpaper
  • Shop Vac or tack cloth
  • Putty knife
  • Sealer
  • Paint or Stain (if desired)

The equipment needed to use wood filler can be found at most hardware and lumber stores, and can likely be found at major retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon.

Step One: Prepare Your Surface

When getting ready to use wood filler, you’ll need to properly prepare the surface you want to fill. This can be achieved by getting rid of any loose paint or stain and getting rid of any loose wood chunks around the area.

Step Two: Sand Rough Edges

You will also need to sand off any rough edges around the area needing to be filled. Once the edges are sanded down smoothly, use a Shop Vac or moistened tack cloth to remove any debris that was sanded off.

If you use a moistened tack cloth to remove any sanded debris, make sure to wait for the area to try completely before moving on to other steps.

Step Three: Apply the Wood Filler

Now for the big part: applying the wood filler. Using your putty knife, you can start at the edges of the area needing filling and press the wood filler into the area. It’s smart to slightly overfill the area in case the filler shrinks or changes shape at all when drying.

Step Four: Wait for the Filler to Dry

Patience is key with this step. Make sure to give your filler plenty of time to dry and set for the best possible results. This could take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours – so try not to rush it.

Once your filler is completely dry, sand the edges to make it in line with the rest of the surface, or to make it in your desired look.

Step Five: Finishing

Not everyone partakes in step five of the process of using wood filler, but it’s important nonetheless. Once you have finished sanding down your dry wood filler, you can finish it with paint, polish or stain for the desired look of choice.

A tip for staining over wood filler is to test the stain on a piece of scrap wood to see how it turns out before applying it to your wood filled area.

Drilling Into Wood Filler

Drilling into wood filler is almost as simple as it seems. Once your wood filler is completely dried, you can begin the process of drilling in a nail or screw in the desired area. There are some types of equipment you may need and some tips you’ll want to follow!

Equipment for Drilling Into Wood Filler

  • Nails or Screws of choice
  • Variety of drill bit sizes (you may need to start with smaller ones)
  • Drill of choice

Tips for Drilling Into Wood Filler

There are some important tips you will want to take into consideration when drilling into the wood filler. They are:

  • Make sure you have a type of wood filler that can be drilled into like discussed above.
  • Make sure your wood filler is completely dry and set before attempting to drill nails or screws in the area.
  • Start with a smaller drill bit first to test the area.
  • Make a “pilot hole” before starting to drill if needed. A pilot hole is a hole that’s almost the same size as the nail or screw that allows for the nail or screw to be guided in more easily.
  • If you’re using epoxy wood filler, let it dry for at least 24 hours before beginning to drill!


I've been building things for many years, and I want to share what I've learned to try and help whoever I can. Make sure to checkout the homepage for my most read posts!

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