I just removed [almost] 100 year old windows and it was a enormous effort to remove the paint from the screw slots and back them out. For my future self (or whomever might remove and restore when I’m probably long gone) is there a technique that is recommended to fill the slot before painting so that it is easy to clear later? I was thinking linseed oil putty but maybe something synthetic that is guaranteed not to dry out?

  • It would be hard to carefully fill each screw head and not get the sealant on the surrounding wood. I'd just paint it over and use a Dremell tool with a very narrow grinding bit to clean them up after painting. Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 3:57
  • Perhaps you could simply use a very thin tape, and then give it a thick coat of paint.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


Screw covers:

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This does not make the screw invisible, there will still be a small bump where the cover is. But it looks better than a screw. They're available in various colors and screw head types.

If you countersink the screws you can use flat covers:

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Or you can just make them visible:

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Now if you don't want to use screw covers, you can fill the head of the screw with something easy to remove, like acrylic caulk. It will remain elastic, so you can pull it out with the blade of a box cutter easily enough, and it's paintable. However the paint will form a hard layer on top of it, which you will still have to scratch off.

Linnseed oil putty will harden (although slowly) so it's hard to remove, and it is oil based, so acrylic paints will not have good adherence to it when soft. When applying this putty it tends to spread all over the place, and fingers get full of oil too, so you may end up with paint peeling off in random places wherever you spread the oil.

  • Note the OP is talking about slotted heads, not phillips heads.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 12:31
  • It's easy enough to get new screws. Besides, when trying to remove a screw with the head full of paint as OP did, it often ends up a bit slaughtered and not reusable...
    – bobflux
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 13:00

Painters Putty is commonly used to cover nail and screw holes.

Remember in most cases of construction the end product is intended to be in place for many years. The need to find and remove fasteners is of minor importance at that time. ( as you have experienced) Most craftsmen find no need to make easy removal a priority

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