How to Fill Holes in a Redwood Deck

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Redwood is naturally insect-resistant.
Redwood is naturally insect-resistant. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Redwood, with its warm golden-red hues, is highly desirable in outdoor deck and furniture construction. Categorized as a softwood because it comes from a coniferous tree, redwood contains a high amount of resin, making it naturally resistant to moisture and insect damage. When sanded and sealed, redwood lasts for years. To protect the beauty and lifespan of your redwood deck, make repairs promptly. Filling holes in your deck will keep it looking new.

Things You'll Need

  • 80-grit sanding pad
  • Wood filler
  • Redwood stain
  • Putty knife
  • Redwood sawdust
  • Exterior glue
  • Redwood sealer
  • Natural-bristle brush

Small Holes

Sand the surface of the deck around small holes, less than 1/4 inch in diameter, such as those left behind when you remove a bolted-down grill or deck swing. An 80-grit sanding pad will smooth rough edges around the hole, but don’t sand off the surface of the surrounding decking.

Combine wood filler with redwood stain, adding just a drop of stain at a time to a small amount of filler. Knead the mixture, adding additional drops, until it closely matches the color of your redwood deck.

Push the filler into the hole firmly. Smooth the top flat with a putty knife.

Let the wood filler dry completely. This method will fill holes larger than 1/4 inch and up to about 2 inches in diameter, such as the holes that occur when redwood knots pop out.

Sand the filled holes lightly and apply clear sealer over the patched holes with a natural-bristle brush, according to instructions on the sealer container.

Larger Holes

Plane a scrap piece of redwood that matches the wood in your deck to produce fine sawdust. If you don’t have a hand planer, ask a lumberyard to save redwood sawdust for you.

Sand the rough edges from around the hole in the deck, but do not sand off the surface stain.

Mix the sawdust with exterior wood glue until it’s thick, but still pliable.

Push and form the sawdust goop into the hole, taking care not to get the mixture on the top of the surrounding decking. Smooth the top flush with the deck surface.

Let the mixture set completely, then brush on a light coat of redwood sealer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Holes larger than 2 inches in diameter may be too big to fill successfully. If this is the case, you can remove the damaged section of decking. To replace a small section, cut the board where it meets the middle of the supporting joists on both sides. Use the old board as a template for cutting the new board.
  • Sanding around the hole aggressively can remove the wood's surface color. If this happens, you might have to sand and re-stain or seal the entire deck to prevent a “patched” look.

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