Close up image of a surface that has a brownish or tan discoloration.

Tannin Staining - EXTERIOR

Brownish or tan discoloration on the paint surface due to migration of tannins from the substrate through the paint film. Typically occurs on “staining woods,” such as redwood and cedar, or over painted knots in certain other wood species. The stains are more noticeable on lighter paint colors.

Causes

  • Failure to adequately prime and seal the surface before applying the topcoat.
  • Use of a primer that is not sufficiently stain-resistant.
  • Excess moisture escaping through the exterior walls, which can carry the stain to the paint surface.

Solutions

  • Identify and correct any possible sources of excess moisture. After thoroughly cleaning the surface, apply a high-quality stain-blocking wood primer. If possible, prime all six sides of the wood.
  • Remove any stains with oxalic acid or a commercially-available wood cleaner designed for removing tannin stains. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly for at least 48 hours (depending on the existing weather conditions).
  • In extreme cases, a second coat of primer can be applied after the first has dried thoroughly.
  • Finish with high-quality paint.

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