A Guide to Using Wood Filler to Repair and Prevent Wood Rot

Wood filler is a thick, colored paste that you can mix with thinner and varnish to apply to your wood furniture in order to fill in any cracks or holes. It works best with hardwoods like chestnut, oak, walnut or ash. Wood filler definitely has an aesthetic component to it, because it helps you to preserve the beauty of your wood, but did you know that it can also protect the health of your wood furniture as well? That’s right, wood filler actually helps to repair and prevent wood rot by sealing the cracks where moisture can get trapped and cause rot. Read the information below to find out more.

Prevention Is Better than Repair

You can use wood filler to prevent wood rot before it ever gets to be a problem. Inspect your wood furniture, decks and trim. If you’re starting a building project for a new wood deck, for instance, take steps such as using weather-resistant wood, and making sure that the wood columns don’t directly touch concrete. Seal any cracks and gaps with caulk and wood filler as soon as you find them so that you don’t have any problems later.

Inspecting Your Furniture

If you think you already might have a case of wood rot, then the first step to fixing the problem with wood filler is to inspect your furniture carefully. Use an awl to probe the wood for soft spots and seek out any holes or cracks.

Start with Wood Hardener

If you do find soft spots that indicate rot, drill several small, 1/8 inch holes around it and fill them with wood hardener, available at your local hardware store. Take note: if you detect wood rot in something like a deck, where a compromised structure could be potentially dangerous, then call in a specialist to make sure more involved work doesn’t need to be done.

Prepare the Wood Filler

Wood filler is quite thick when you take it out of the tub or tube, so you have to mix it with a little thinner or other liquid, as explained in the manufacturer’s directions. Only use as much as you’ll need at a given time, because any unused wood filler will quickly dry out and become unusable.

Apply the Wood Filler

Use a putty knife to spread the mixed wood filler into all gaps, holes, and cracks, including the holes you made for the wood hardener. Make sure that you apply enough pressure to keep the wood filler firmly in place.

 Smooth Things Over

Use a rasp to smooth over the filler before it’s dry, so that it will dry in a smooth and even manner. When it is dry, go back over with some sandpaper to smooth out any remaining rough edges. Then take a look to see if there are any remaining holes that need to be gone over with more wood filler one more time. if needed, touch up with primer and paint.