Whether you have hairline cracks on your ceiling, shrinkage/movement cracks on your walls or deep holes created by items being removed from the plaster, having the best filler for your walls and ceilings should alleviate your issues and ensure the surface is in a high-quality condition for redecoration.
But how do you know what filler is best for the job? Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide using our 20+ years of experience in the professional decorating industry to ensure you choose the right filler for your needs.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of our recommendations so you can get those walls and ceilings nice and smooth in no time.
What Is Filler and How Does it Work?
Filler comes in various forms such as plaster-based fillers, cement-based fillers and joint fillers and each filler has its own specific purpose.
Plaster-based fillers are ready-mixed and are ideal for use on smaller holes and cracks in plaster. Cement-based fillers are more suited to masonry work such as brick and concrete and have the benefit of being waterproof. Joint fillers are useful for filling in the joints between two plasterboards.
Filler works by matching the consistency of plaster and then absorbs into the substrate to fill any gaps or cracks. It’s usually best to add more filler than you think because it typically shrinks into the cracks and holes. Once dry, you can simply sand down the excess filler by using a piece of aluminium oxide paper.
Best Filler for Walls and Ceilings Overall: Toupret TX110
Filling and making good surfaces is an essential part of any decorating job and you won’t find any decorator worth his (or her) salt not carrying around some sort of filler in their work van. And it’s no surprise that the majority of professional decorators I know will always have Toupret TX110 Interior Filler on hand and on this basis alone you can see why I’ve gone with this as the best filler for walls and ceilings.
The type of filler you need will often depend on the state of repair and age of the walls and ceilings but whether you have shrinkage cracks, deep holes from screws, or any other defects, Toupret TX110 should be your go-to filler.
In terms of adherence to cracks and gaps, I don’t believe there’s anything better on the market. This filler is bombproof once set so you shouldn’t need to worry about having to carry out repairs in that specific area again.
Furthermore, the drying time is extremely quick when compared with other brands such as Gyproc’s Easi Fill, and with a drying time of just 3 hours, you can be painting the very same day. This is particularly useful if you’re strapped for time as you can make good your surfaces in the morning and get your first and second coats on by the end of the day.
One of my favourite aspects of this filler is how simple it is to sand down with a piece of fine aluminium oxide paper. I typically overfill holes and sand down afterwards so it’s handy having a filler available that doesn’t take a lot of effort to smooth down. Plus, because it sets so strongly, it can handle vigorous dustless sanders such as the Mirka or Festool without cracking.
Finally, it’s a dream to mix. I’ve found that some other powder fillers are a bit annoying to mix and sometimes cause air bubbles. I’ve never had this issue when using TX110.
- Dries extremely quickly and can be painted on the same day as the application.
- Easy to sand down.
- Adheres strongly into cracks and gaps.
- Easy to mix.
Best Ready Mixed Filler: Toupret Ready-Mixed Interior Filler
To be brutally honest, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using a ready-mixed filler. I understand why an amateur DIYer might feel more comfortable using one but I’ve yet to find one that is easy to sand. In my opinion, the time saved from mixing a regular filler is offset by the extra time and effort it takes to sand the ready-mixed filler to a smooth finish.
If you’re still set on a ready-mixed filler then Toupret does a version that comes in tube form which makes it simple to apply and is called Toupret Ready-Mixed Interior Filler.
The filler is of high quality and rarely flashes which means you don’t have to go to the extra effort and cost of spot priming the area that’s been filled. Whilst Gyproc’s Easifill was our best overall choice for fillers, their ready-mixed filler seems to have some flashing issues.
The drying time is between 12 – 24 hours which is a bit of a drag but isn’t anything out of the ordinary for most interior fillers.
If you’re only in need of filling fine surface cracks, it might also be worth checking out Toupret’s Fine Surface Filler which is also ready-mixed.
- Comes in an easy-to-apply tube which also doubles up as a good way to store the filler for future use.
- Difficult to sand down
- Takes a day before it can be painted over
- Can be thicker/thinner than you want it
For Minor Cracks: Toupret Fine Surface Filler
If you’re looking for a filler that will take care of minor cracks, I’d recommend Toupret’s Fine Surface Filler. I’m aware that this is the third Toupret product I’ve recommended so far but trust me, there’s a reason why most professionals use them day in and day out.
This filler has a nice consistency and will fill small cracks seamlessly. It doesn’t shrink as much as other fillers which is great because you can get an idea of how much you need to apply just by using your fingertips to level it off. Of course, when you rub it down afterwards it will be a breeze.
Some decorators recommend Tetrion filler for small cracks but in my experience, I’ve found this to cause flashing once the topcoats have dried. Toupret’s Fine Surface Filler on the other hand rarely flashes although I would always recommend spot-priming because even though the manufacturer says it won’t flash, you can never be sure.
- Doesn’t flash as much as comparatively priced brands.
- Easy to achieve a smooth surface which can be checked with your fingertips.
- This filler doesn’t sink in as much as the other fillers on the market which means you know how much to use.
- Takes around 8 hours to dry so it’s unlikely you can start painting on the same day as filling.
- Can flash on the odd occasion so it’s worth spot-priming afterwards.
Fastest Setting Filler: Tetrion Powerfil/Red Devil Onetime
If you want the fastest-setting filler then I would recommend using a combination of 2 different fillers: Tetrion Powerfil 2K which is a 2-part filler and skimmed with Red Devil Onetime filler.
Whilst the Toupret TX110 is very quick drying with a dry time of just 3 hours, this combination blows that out of the water and can literally be ready to go in 10 minutes.
Here’s the method I use to fill holes with this combination:
- Flush the hole with a sharp filling knife. Ensure all loose plaster is removed.
- Apply the Tetrion Powerfil 2K into the crack/gap.
- Just as the Tetrion Powerfil 2K starts to set, run a thin skim of Red Devil Onetime filler over the 2k.
- Wait for the exothermic reaction from the epoxy filler which will dry the Onetime filler in about 10 minutes.
- Sets and is ready for painting within 10 minutes.
- Dries to a super strong finish.
- You’ll need to purchase 2 different fillers which will increase the price of your redecoration.
Best Flexible Filler for Ceiling Cracks: Polycell Crack-Free Ceilings
If you’re looking for the best flexible filler for ceiling cracks then I’d actually recommend purchasing this crack-free ceilings paint by Polycell.
Whilst filling and sanding would still be my preferred method to cover cracks, I’ve found that this paint does work to a point.
The trick however is in how you apply it.
If you really want to get the best out of this product then I would recommend applying two THICK coats. Anything less than two thick coats is prone to problems in the future.
Of course, the benefit of using this is you don’t need to have the technical know-how to fill cracks unlike with the filling and sanding method. Furthermore, it doubles up as a filler and paint, resulting in less time and effort used.
- You don’t need to have the technical knowledge on how to apply filler properly
- Saves time by doubling up as a filler and paint in one
- Works well by smoothing everything out
- If you don’t use two very thick coats the paint will likely crack eventually
How to Mix Filler
If you’re not confident in mixing filler and want to go for an inferior ready-mixed filler, take a look at how easy it is to mix filler following the method below:
- Prepare a clean, flat surface (the top of a paint lid will do).
- Add the powdered filler to the flat surface.
- With your filling knife, create a pit in the middle of the filler with the edges raised.
- Fill the pit with clean drinking water.
- Working from the edges, gently flick the filler towards the centre and into the water.
- Once the filler covers the water, start mixing. You can scoop the bottom onto the top and give it a stir to ensure the mixture integrates with the water.
- Check the consistency of the filler. If it’s too dry, simply add a splash of water a mix again. If it’s too wet, add more powder.
- Keep mixing until there is no dry powder left.
- BONUS TIP: If working on a white ceiling or white walls, add a tiny splash of food colouring to the mixture. This will allow you to identify where the filler has been applied after it’s dried and you will ultimately know exactly where to rub down. This is especially useful when working on white ceilings where it can be more difficult to see where the filler has been applied.