Putty for Filling Holes and Cracks in Walls


Standard putty, also known as filler, is used for wood surfaces. It can seal an area where a wall meets a window or door to help keep out drafts and create an energy efficient home. Painters often use putty to fill in holes prior to and after painting to create a smooth surface and hide imperfections. There is also a non-standard variety of putty available specifically for use on cement surfaces.


  • There are three types of wood putty: gypsum-based, nitrocellulose-based, and acrylic-based. Wood putty contains varying amounts of wood flour, sawdust, calcium carbonate and gypsum. A glue substance holds the ingredients together and helps it adhere to the wall's surface. Gypsum-based putty is available only in powdered form. It requires only water to form putty. After hardening occurs, gypsum-based putty cannot be cleaned up. Once dry, acrylic-based putty can still be cleaned up using xylene, acetone or toluene. Nitrocellulose-based putty requires acetone or lacquer thinners for clean up after hardening.


  • Walls develop dents, cracks and imperfections from everyday exposure to household activities and from things like nails placed in them to hold picture frames. Putty will successfully touch up and hide these damaged areas when applied. It works for both interior and exterior surfaces. When applying putty before painting, cover the putty's surface with primer for a finished appearance. Putty comes in small tubes, pre-mixed tubs and powder form. Powdered forms allow the homeowner to mix small quantities at a time with only minimal waste.


  • Apply wood putty to a clean surface so it adheres well. Peel away any old paint prior to application. Some types of putty adhere best on a slightly wet surface. Smooth the first coat of putty from top to bottom using a trowel, a putty knife or your fingers. Make sure the putty is flush to the wall's surface and there are no noticeable bumps. Allow the putty to dry for four to 12 hours. Some manufacturers suggest waiting three days before applying a primer and painting. If the surface feels rough to the touch, consider sanding to gain the desired appearance.

Cement Putty

  • Cement putty works on both interior and exterior cement walls. It can help fill holes on cement walls and smooth out imperfections on the wall's surface. It usually begins to set within 1 1/2 hours after application. Apply only one coat at a time for the best appearance and sand once dry to achieve the desired effect. Never apply cement putty to a wet surface. Wear hand and eye protection when using. Always wash all tools immediately after application to keep the cement putty from hardening on the tool's surface. Cement putty comes as a pre-mixed epoxy filler or powder. Putty that is available in powder form usually only requires water to mix.

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