How To Fix Light Spots In Stain (Quick and Easy Fix)

Wood stains are good preservatives that help to protect the interior and exterior wooden surface from environmental elements such as fungal attacks, moisture, and sunlight. Wood stain is as well used to color or darken the wood.

Nowadays, when it has to do with wood finishing, staining is very crucial. I mean, whether you’re a beginner or pro in woodworking, mistakes are just unavoidable when applying wood stain. So in this article, we will quickly drive you through how to fix light spots in stain.

Light spots in wood stain can be fixed by sanding properly and reapplying coats of wood stain evenly throughout the surface. You apply freshly opened wood stain without subjecting to extreme weather after gently cleaning the surface.

You also want to follow closely, the manufacturer’s guide to avoiding making mistakes when applying wood stain.

However, these are not the only solutions to fixing mistakes in wood stains. There are several options that can be followed to fix different staining mistakes and their problems.

This piece covers each of the common wood stain mistakes that tend to happen before, after or during the staining process and provides answers on how to fix each of them.

How to fix light spots in stain

1. Light or dark spots

Uneven surface right after staining is a real pain, trust me. The light and dark spots will begin to display all over the surface once dried. There are several mistakes that could lead to the uneven surfaces and they include:

  • Insufficient mixing
  • Uneven application of wood stain
  • Contaminated wood stain product
  • Improper cleaning and sanding of the surface.

Uneven stain surfaces cannot be fixed by temporary solutions. So it’s as good as starting the staining process from A to Z.

Below are the required steps to follow in getting rid of uneven surfaces:

i. Slight sanding

You want to sand the entire surface with fine-grit sandpaper while making sure even pressure is being applied throughout the wood when sanding. Be sure not to leave any residue behind after you’re done sanding.

ii. Clean the surface

Once you’re done sanding, ensure the entire surface being worked on is cleaned properly with an old rag or cloth so as to eliminate dust and fuzz such that the surface is left smooth.

iii. Application

Get your soft brush and carefully open the quality wood stain can and stir properly before applying. When applying, always go for thin stain coats and wait till the surface is dried completely before going for the next coat. Repeat the same process as needed until you’re sure the wood now matches the color you want.

By following these simple yet effective steps above, you probably won’t end up with an uneven stain surface like before.

2. Sticky stain surface

After you’ve done the staining procedure and have allowed the wood some time to dry but you can still feel the sticky surface, then you should understand there might be some mistakes that happened during the process of staining. Some of the reasons you may end up with a sticky surface include:

  • Too much wood stain
  • Thick coats of wood stain
How to fix light spots in stain

Fixing sticky stain surface.

Sticky stain surface can be fixed by following the methods below:

i. Use stain thinner

By applying stain thinner on top of the sticky surface, the thick layers of wood stain will be thinner and get rid of excess stain as well as moisture content from the surface. Stain thinner can be applied using a rag or old cloth while you apply it over the entire sticky surface.

Repeat the same procedure a few more times until you’re satisfied with the resulting surface.

ii. Get rid of excess when applying stain.

Simply wipe off excess stain when applying wood stain to the surface using a rag or cloth. By doing this, you want to avoid making thin layers of stain.

iii. Apply another stain coat

Funnily, applying another coat of stain before the previous layer dries up and wiping it off immediately would actually solve the problem. So when the second coating is applied above the previous coating which feels sticky, both layers are fresh and can be easily removed using a rag. This would help remove the sticky layer but you need to do this immediately before the previous layer is dried.

This is the easiest and most practical method of getting rid of sticky surfaces.

3. Wood stain drying before curing.

It’s such a pleasant feeling having your wood stain dry quickly. But come to think of it, what if the stain dries right after it was applied without even taking an hour or two. I mean, that’s quite suspicious.

There is a certain amount of time required for the stain to penetrate deep into the wooden surface and do its job. But if it gets dried before the penetration, then it’s as good as there wasn’t any stain applied.

However, there are a few mistakes that could actually lead to this issue. They are:

  • Curing time isn’t the drying time.

There are times when the wood stain may seem completely dried but trust me, it is cured enough. Before going to the next step, you must ensure the wood stain is 100% cured as the uncured stain could lead to more likely trouble and have the wood itself, damaged.

  • How to fix wood stain drying quickly before curing

Allow the wood stain enough time to cure completely.

This wood stain issue can be easily fixed by keeping the wood for 2-3 days thereabout, in order to complete both its drying and curing process. During these 2-3 days, any coating above your applied stain must never be applied and your wood shouldn’t be subject to any stress whatsoever. Otherwise, you’d have your wood end up with lots of scratches.

4. Improper sanding

Most of the wood stain mistakes being talked about happening as a result of improper sanding. There must be a lot of focus in place when sanding. Below are some of the possible reasons that could make your sanding process bad.

  • Not using the right sandpaper.
  • Sanding is done with uneven pressure.
  • No cleaning between sanding processes.

Also Read: Best stain for maple wood

Fixing improper sanding

i. Using the correct grit sandpaper

First thing first, take a sample piece of the same wood and have it tested with different grit sandpaper values so as to identify the perfect grit for your woodwork. The grit type you want to use should depend on the wood type you want to stain.

ii. Sand a minimum of two times.

In a bid to remove residues and also make the wood surface clean, you should try doing the sanding a minimum of two times. The first sanding would eliminate any imperfections and have the surface smooth while the second one will smoothen the roughness and make the surface ready to absorb the stain evenly.

Note: As a woodworker, sanding is the most essential step that should be focused more on before applying wood stain so as to avoid many mistakes.

5. Stain in extreme weather conditions.

Weather conditions that are harsh would definitely always cause trouble for the wood and wood stain. When staining in too cold, too hot or too humid climatic conditions, the results will differ greatly from working in average weather conditions.

The drying process will require a longer period of time than usual when working in too humid weather conditions.

When the moisture level of the outside environment is too high, the moisture that is trapped inside the wood stain will evaporate very slowly which would eventually delay the drying time.

Fixing mistakes that happen in extreme weather conditions.

i. Avoid staining under direct sunlight

Direct sunlight tends to speed up the drying time of wood stain. When the wood surface is dried quickly before the excess stain is wiped out, it will become tacky and cause blotchiness by leaving bubbles and an uneven finish.

ii. Resand and apply wood stain under normal weather conditions.

iii. Control the outside temperature levels.

Conclusion: How to fix light spots in stain

In this article, we have been about to discuss how to fix wood stain mistakes including fixing light spots in wood stain by showing us some likely possible mistakes that happen in the process of staining and how to fix them.

Aside from providing the solutions, we have also made known why these mistakes happen in the first place. So when you find the solution for the reason of the mistake happening, that way, it won’t happen again.

In woodworking, wood stain is one chapter that requires patience, as well as good practice and most of these mistakes, are things that can be avoided simply by cleaning the surface regularly and sanding lightly while applying wood stain according to the Manufacturer’s instructions.

I hope this article provided you with a proper understanding on how to fix light spots in stain and also how to fix wood stain mistakes generally such that they don’t happen again in the future.

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