How to Fill Nail Holes in Wood Trim


Some homeowners prefer the rustic look of nail heads protruding from interior wood trim. Others prefer a more finished appearance in wood trim. If you prefer a smooth finish in wood trim, you will need to fill nail holes with tinted wood putty. This process is not difficult, and the finished result will be a smooth and finished wood trim that you will be proud to display.

Things You'll Need

  • Tinted wood putty (several colors)
  • Putty knife
  • Flexible plastic cutting mat
  • Damp cloth
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Matching wood stain
  • Small paintbrush
  • Purchase two or three different colors of wood putty. It is very unlikely that you will be successful in matching your wood trim with one color of wood putty; therefore, mix the wood putties to create putty with a close color match. Take a small piece of wood trim to the store with you, and choose putties that are as close as possible to the color of your wood trim.

  • Open the cans of wood putty, and use the putty knife to remove small amounts of each color of putty. Place the putty onto the flexible cutting mat.

  • Mix small amounts of the wood putties with the putty knife on the cutting mat to match the wood trim. Take a small amount of the mixed putty onto the putty knife, and hold it up next to the wood trim to decide whether the color is correct. Make sure the lighting under which you are checking the color match is the same lighting in which the wood trim will be.

  • Adjust the wood putty color if necessary, and check again.

  • Take a small amount of the wood putty color you created to match the wood trim, and apply it to a nail hole. Fill the entire hole by pressing the putty into the hole with the putty knife. Scrape the surface smooth with the putty knife when the hole is full of putty. Wipe away any excess wood putty from around the nail hole with a damp cloth before it hardens.

  • Allow the wood putty to dry for approximately 12 hours.

  • Sand the wood putty carefully if the surface of the wood trim is not smooth. Only sand the wood trim if absolutely necessary because sanding may necessitate touching up the stain on the wood trim.

  • Repeat steps 5 to 7 to add more wood putty to the nail hole if the hole is concave after the putty dries.

  • Apply matching wood stain to the area around the nail holes if sanding removed the stain. Use a small paintbrush, and apply the wood stain carefully and sparingly to blend it in with the surrounding wood trim.

Tips & Warnings

  • It may be necessary to make several color blends of putty to match the variations in wood color on wood trim.

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