Dark Spots on wood after sodium hydroxide

On the top pic, something didn’t go right. I’d redo those sections. It would have looked similar when wet. Letting it dry was not going to help it. Should have addressed while there. In the far right section of the fence shown, the middle clean but not the top and bottom.

How did you apply your hydroxide? Guessing with maybe a pump up and you didn’t get an even covering of your solution.

Thank you, I will attempt to do that of the customer ever responds.
I did notice this when I first started the fence, and went over it again and had the same results. The customer has not responded to any of my attempts at communication, and even ignored me when I rang the doorbell today. I saw him look through the door amd walk away so I am waiting to see where this goes.
He wasnt upset at all last I spoke to him, so not sure what the deal is. I hate leaving a job incomplete, but at this point I have wasted time, money and energy on a customer that cannot even acknowledge me. If he will not respond, amd walk off from the door before the job is complete, why should I expect he will not do something similar when it comes time to pay?

I will attempt communication for the next week, but if I have no response, I will take the loss and move on. Not what I want, but what can you do.

Sorry this took such a wild turn, but I have been very patient and communicative. I do my best to be extremely professional and friendly, but there comes a point when you should not waste any more time.

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That’s too bad, can’t stand a customer that does that, fortunately free and far between. A mechanic’s lien may be your only recourse. Good luck.

Has anyone downloaded the pics and zoomed in? The prep on it looks terrible. You were crossing over the runners/stringers going the wrong direction on the grain. Some passes you even stopped before you got to the runner. It all looks just terrible and nothing is going to cover that up unless it’s a solid stain ie acrylic. I’m almost positive he doesn’t want you to continue any type of work. Trust me, I have had customers that get real crazy about wanting the look of a new fence with a old one. I stained for three extremely large fence companies in DFW. I ran 4 trucks and had a crew of 8 and we were booked out almost 2 1/2 months. Paid another handful of guys to prep all the fences for us. Hated every minute of it!


I sorry I’m late to this but what did you use to try and remove old stain. At what pressure did you wash the fence? Hot or cold water? What concentrate of sh and ox did you use? Did you pre wet the fence? Can you post a before picture?

I ended up speaking to the customer, he was sick and was ignoring everybody. I went and redid the whole fence cleaning today. Turned out much better and even. Ran down to the runners and went with the grain the whole time. Used SH with water and elemonator and it took out the dark areas. Post treated with oxalic.
I learned my lesson on this one… Next prep should go MUCH smoother.
Guy is pretty nice, and wasnt upset at all so I stressed myself out over nothing.


Once I get more business i will outsource my prepwork. I can see how you hate every minute of it…

Any pictures?

I have a gutter guy now. I need to find a stain/sealer guy. Im getting to where i like to pick and choose what gutters i will do and i dont want to do staining at all anymore.


Staining is my least favorite part (ok, actually painting is my least favorite). It seems around here, if they call you to clean the deck they also want you to stain it. I’ve never had it go any other way except this past week a lady did want a quote on both a cleaning and a cleaning & staining. First time though. But even then, she still wanted a staining quote.

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That’s terrific news! You dodged a bullet on that one

It worked for me recently. Just a notice of intent did the trick. It’s worth a try. Not sure that I would do it in this particular situation seeing as the results weren’t as expected. Good luck

I am trying to switch everything to staining. I put out 29k in wood cleaning/stripping/staining quotes alone in the last 4 days.


When staining old decks or older fences, you need to go with a semi solid or solid color stain. I will allow customers to occasionally go semitransparent and that’s as weak as I reccomend. Those stains last much longer than the typical toner or deck sealer. I very seldom let my customers choose a toner anymore.

When cleaning an older project, you don’t have to be perfect if you plan on staining with those types of stains because they cover so well.

I wish you was closer to me lol. I could refer you a good amount of work. Nowhere near that much though.

What brand of stain are you using. Ive only used bear, cabot and Olympic. All have been thier high dollar options.

I only recommend oil based penetrating stain. I prefer Stain & Seal Experts out of Nashville, or Wood Defender. I never put on a solid unless that is what it already has and is peeling. Clean and go over the top of it. I would still prefer to strip a solid and go back with a quality oil based but most people don’t want to pay for that.


Do you you ever have to back brush with those?

@SurfaceTherapy Where do you purchase those from?

On fencing no. I use airless sprayer and lay it on heavy with a 521 tip. It self levels and turns out beautiful. If I spray a deck I back brush the horizontal surfaces.