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My finished doors have pale spots where water putty was used prior to staining.

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  • My finished doors have pale spots where water putty was used prior to staining.

    I just noticed that our beautiful doors have all these pale spots/splotches where they look like they have been bleached out or somehting. The door stain is really dark, but there are sections where some kind of putty was used to cover up flaws in the wood or to fill in small holes...well, on those particualr spots the stain didn't take, and so now the door looks like it has bleached spots on it, and of course the spots are exactly where all of the flaws in the wood are, so it ends up just drawing attention to the flaws. My neighbor said that our builder used "water putty" on the doors before they were stained and that the stain won't stick to that material. Just ONE MORE place where my builder decided to cut corners and give us a mediocre product....UURGGHH! Anyway, IS THERE ANY WAY TO COVER UP THESE SPOTS WITH ANOTHER STAIN - AFTER THE FACT?

    Help - I really don't want to have to fight with my builder about repalcing ALL the doors in our house...can I fix this myself?!?

    BTW, I think the doors are oak but I am not sure. Can you all tell I am a novice? ; )

    Thanks so much for any advice or assistance!
    Janet - Austin, TX

  • #2
    Anytime that a non wood product is used with real wood you're going to have that kind of a problem when it comes time to stain. Water puddy and acrylic fillers never stain the same shade as the natural wood surrounding them.

    I know this isn't what you wanted to hear but not knowing exactly what is under those spots makes it impossible to know if this situation can or can not be corrected.
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


    • #3
      You didn't mention whether your doors are paneled or flat (veneered). Paneled doors are usually a combination of solids and veneers. Solid oak doors are usually very expensive and feel heavy and solid. I suggest you take a trip to HD or Lowes to look at flooring or even wood-look laminate. Pay attention to the wood grain, pattern and texture and compare it to your doors. The wood grain and pattern are more important than color, when determining wood type. With so many stains on the market, you can make most woods, almost any color you want.

      Regarding the light and dark spots, I totally agree with BadgerDave.

      Seasons Greetings,


      [ 12-06-2005, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: CWSmith ]


      • #4
        As was previously said, wood fillers, glue, etc., don't take stain.

        I'm no expert in this, but here are some suggestions on directions to go-----in a way, you're lucky the stain is dark, as this is a bit easier to fix than light stains.

        First, the perminent fix is to sand all the varnish/polyurethane off the doors. Then, using either a dye or gel stain, and a small brush, first get a color match, and then touch up the splotches using the brush---followed by a dry brush to imitate the grain. When the match is to your satisfaction, re-varnish the doors.

        A quick fix (which may or may not last)----If you go to a Home Depot or the like, you'll find touch-up products like Minwax----they have two basic kinds---one is a wax pencil and the other looks something like a felt-tipped marker. Get the latter--marker and unless you have a sample you can take with you to the store---just buy 2 or 3 of the colors to try out. Then, with either very fine sandpaper or 0000 steel wool, rough up the surface of where you have splotches, clean it and then try the touch up markers. You may want to then touch up with a touch of spray varnish----try to match the gloss level---but if you end up with a higher gloss than the rest of the door---you can always wait a few weeks and come back and knock down the gloss with some rubbing compound----get it at an auto store. Hope this helps----yes, it's a lot of work, so obviously, I'd start with doors that show the most.


        • #5
          Janet, to pay for university I moved pianos during the summer and if you move enough of them you will end up scratching one or two. The technique to repair those scratches is to heat lacquer sticks and flow the material onto the repair or use a hot knife. The guys that do pianos are pros and they can make a nasty scratch or even a gouge dissapear on a gloss black lacquer finish.
          Another technique you could try is called Wax Beaumontage. Basically it is colored wax that you can rub into the repair.
          Hear are examples of each product
          Lacquer Sticks
          Wax Sticks