The Different Types of Putties You Need To Know

  • By: Richard
  • Date: December 7, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

While many people use putty, it’s still the go-to for this type of work. However, there are several varieties, and they may be utilized in various ways. Let’s look at three major types and how to use them.

Solvent-Based Putty

This putty is often used for significant gaps between walls, tiles, or floors. It’s applied with a trowel, and it becomes solid after about ten minutes. Once dry, this kind of putty can be sanded to match the surrounding wall texture. This kind of putty works well on porous surfaces like concrete or plaster but not on wood or gypsum board because they are non-porous materials that don’t absorb water.

Water-Based Putties

This kind of putty is an alternative to solvent-based types. It can be used the same way, but it’s safer for indoor applications because there are no flammables involved. This type also dries faster than other kinds.

The downside? Because this putty has a longer drying time (about 45 minutes), you need to work quickly or get very good at estimating how much material should go where before using your trowel and applying pressure without leaving gaps between tiles, walls, or floors, for example. Since water-based putties dry faster than others, they may go porous surfaces like concrete looking rough, while sanding them down after application will give you better results than that non-porous material like wood or gypsum board.

Epoxy Putties

These are the most versatile types of putties available. They’re used for all kinds of applications, like filling in cracks or significant gaps between two surfaces (like tiles). This filler is applied with a trowel and doesn’t become solid. It’s ready to sand after an hour or two. Depending on what kind of gap filler you are using, you can measure how much material you need before applying it to the surface.

Since epoxy putty takes a long time before it dries, we recommend that you use this kind if possible. If you can wait, you will have more time to do things, and this type of putty does not dry as fast.

Plastic Putties

There are a few different plastic putties, but they all share one common property: they can be molded into any shape. This makes them perfect for filling in small gaps and cracks because you don’t need to use a lot of material, and it’s easy to get the right shape. You can also use plastic putties as a sealant around windows or doors.

Like other putties, make sure that the surface is clean and dry before applying the plastic putty. Use a caulking gun to apply the putty, pressing firmly against the gap or crack you’re trying to fill in until it’s flush with the surface. Let it dry completely (it takes about 24 hours) before painting over it or using it as a sealant.

How to Use Putties

Plastic putty is a very versatile material for all kinds of uses. It can be used to fill in cracks and gaps between surfaces, but it’s also often seen as the go-to when working with scale models since plastic putties can be shaped into any form or texture desired.

This kind of putty may come in various colors, so you have an option if you want your model to look more realistic by using paint on top of plastic putties applied around windows or doors, for example. If you’re going for a different color theme inside your model home, use plastic putties to achieve those looks quickly without repaying everything once dry! Plastic putties are also great sealants that don’t damage scales at all because they’re gentle and non-abrasive.

How to Use a Putty Knife

A putty knife is a perfect tool for smoothing out a putty application. You can also use it to remove excess material or to scrape off any dried bits of putty from the surface you’re working on. Just make sure that the blade is sharp, so it doesn’t damage the feeling you’re trying to work on.

When using a putty knife, hold it slightly and apply pressure while pulling towards you. This will help you achieve a smooth, even finish without ridges or bumps. If you need to remove dried bits of putty, use short strokes and avoid damaging the surface underneath.

Tips on Using Putties Effectively

  1. It’s always better to use a small amount of material for filling in gaps and cracks. This way, you don’t waste the putty when it hardens inside your caulking gun without having been used up entirely on its intended purpose.
  2. When using putty, keep in mind that it may take longer to dry. They are more substantial when dried than solvent-based ones that dry fast and leave room for mistakes.
  3. To get rid of any residual moisture left over after applying plastic PVA glues (like wood glue), wait until completely dry, then sand away at it lightly, starting from coarse grades all the way to OK. This will leave you with a smooth surface that makes it easy to paint over without having the paint crack or flake off!
  4. To apply putties, use an old toothbrush and dip it into the water before using it on the material. The wet bristles help spread out the putty evenly and clean away any excess from hard-to-reach areas or surfaces where there’s no room to work around, such as corners, for example. To make sure all of this is done correctly, let your model dry entirely before priming and painting – this could take up to 48 hours depending on humidity levels in your environment, so be patient!”

Common Mistakes People Make When Using Putties

  • Applying too much pressure when using a putty knife which can cause the surface to crack
  • Not waiting long enough for epoxy or polymer-based putties to dry before starting to work on the surface, which could lead to them not being as strong after drying
  • Sanding down dried PVA glue residues before they’re scorched, which can result in the sandpaper scratching off the paint underneath

These are just some tips that will hopefully help you make the most out of your putty applications!


I hope you’ve found this article helpful and that it has given you some ideas on how to utilize putty in your life. Let me know what other types of putties are out there or if we missed anything!

Hi! I'm Richard Baker, a miniature painter who has been painting for about ten years. My website is packed with great advice that I've learned from both books and personal experience on building and painting miniatures.

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