I have a hole in the hardwood floor (I think it's birch) and I'm thinking to fill it with wood filler.

Is that a good idea?

Here's the hole:enter image description here

It's probably 2/3 mm in diameter.


1 Answer 1


It looks like a knothole that gave way.

Filling is complicated by the color difference between the body of the wood and the dark ring of the hole. You could put in a dark filler, as if it were the knot. Or you could scrape away the darker edges and put in a lighter filler similar to the color of the plank.

Either way, you would need enough filler to make sure the bottom of the plug is sitting on the subfloor. The adhesion of the filler to the sides of the hole would not be enough to keep the plug in place. Even with this, the plug may shift or break away.

An alternative is to cut out a slightly larger hole and insert a dutchman, a new piece of wood use to fill a broken or missing section. In fixes like this, the inserted piece would usually be a pointed oval (sometimes called a marquis shape). It also should have a slightly tapered edge with the top being wider than the bottom. The corresponding hole in the wood has a top surface wider than the deeper section. This gives more glue area and add structural support to prevent punch through. All of this assumes you have access to some of the original wood from the floor or a comparable piece.

Obviously the patch system is a bit more complex than the filler and requires a careful sanding and refinishing of the immediate area.

  • Hi. Just to recapitulate how this works (the simpler solution) is to buy a wood plug and a filler. I insert the wood plug into the hole, putting some wood filler on the perimeter of the hole before inserting. And then what do I do? I need to sand it? Do I need to apply some finishing chemical on it? Thanks Jan 14, 2017 at 15:36
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    The plug i was referring to was the mass that the hardened wood filler would make. Round wood plugs are usually shaped so the end grain would show in cases like yours. This would be more noticeable. If you use wood filler, you need to sand, stain it and seal it to match the surrounding wood. Sealing with a polyurethane of a similar sheen (looks like gloss or semi-gloss) would work.
    – bib
    Jan 14, 2017 at 15:43
  • This is too complicated. lol What will happen if I leave this as is? Will it deteriorate? Jan 14, 2017 at 16:29
  • Also, if I sand and stain that board again, I think I need to stain it in the direction of the grain of the wood. But what the direction? I looks like the wood fibers are going in a circular direction. Furthermore, how do I stain it given that there are two colors in that wood board? Jan 14, 2017 at 16:33
  • The darker curves are because the wood was cut roughly parallel to the (roughly cylindrical) surface of the log, so the edges growth rings show at the cut face of the wood. The grain of the wood is roughly parallel to the long edges of the floorboards. You can probably get away with filler only, as long as you match the color well (either drilling away the dark knot and getting light filler, or using dark filler), but the "dutchman" would look a bit classier.
    – Steve
    Nov 16, 2017 at 23:52

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