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Should I use caulk, wood filler or spackle?

You’re filling a hole or a gap and you don’t know what to use to do it. Should you use caulk or wood filler or spackle?

It’s a good question to ask. Sure, they might all get the job done for awhile, but each of these patches has a special purpose and a best place to use them.

In short, use caulk for corners and edges, use wood filler for flat surfaces, and use spackle for drywall. Let’s dive into it.

Caulk v Wood Filler v Spackle - Charleston Crafted

When should I use caulk?

Caulk should be used when doing projects like installing crown molding. Installing crown molding will leave you with corners and gaps that need to be filled.

Adding caulk to molding

Use caulk when filling in corners where two pieces of molding come together. Squirt caulk into the gap with a caulk gun, then smooth the caulk with your finger or a damp rag.

Spreading caulk with finger

Also use caulk to fill the gap between your molding and the ceiling or the wall. No matter how good of a job you do at installing the molding, you’ll have small gaps that need to be filled. Again, use a caulk gun to squirt caulk in the gap, then smooth with your finger or a wet rag.

When should I use wood filler?

Use wood filler to patch flat cracks or gaps in molding. The wood filler does a better job of smoothing flush because it is made to fill in flat gaps and joints on wood.

Wood filler in crack

Break off a little bit of wood filler and spread it generously in the crack of the molding. Rub the wood filler into the crack as best you can.

Spreading wood filler

Then, take a wet rag and wipe off the excess. Once dry, it’s easy to give the crack a quick sand and then paint over it.

See our favorite brands of wood filler compared side by side!

When should I use spackle?

Spackle is used to fill holes in drywall made from screws or nails. Spackle forms to the best consistency and sands down best to match drywall and fill nail holes evenly.

Spackle on wall holes

Simply pull out a chunk of spackle and work it into the hole. Fill the hole with spackle as much as you can, then make sure to spread some generously on the outside of the hole.

Applying spackle

Once dry, sand the spackle completely smooth and paint.

Knowing the best ways to use caulk, wood filler and spackle is crucial for your next project and filling your holes!

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    Monday 20th of September 2021

    Hello, I was wondering if I can use wood filling to patch medium holes at the bottom of my kitchen cabinets. Termites came through my tiles and began eating the borders. I would like to patch the holes but not sure which to use.(wood filler, sparkling or??? Charlene


    Tuesday 21st of September 2021

    As long as you're not talking something the size of like a quarter then you should be able to use it. Wood filler can be used to patch and sand smooth any wood surface. You should be able to fill them, sand, then paint or stain over it. Good luck!

    Jeanne Potter

    Thursday 30th of July 2020

    So which would I use to fill hard wood flooring gaps in my bedroom? Some are small, some up to 1/4 inch. The flooring is white pine. HELP!


    Thursday 30th of July 2020

    Hey Jeanne, with smaller gaps, you should be able to use wood filler and then sand and stain to match. For the bigger gaps, you might need to put a thin strip of wood in the gap, then wood filler over/around it.


    Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

    WOW, this is an excellent post. I was NEVER sure which of the three to use for what??? Thanks to this wonderful post, I now know. Thank you, thank you & thank you!


    Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

    Glad you found it helpful!

    Comments are closed.