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We have two really big beams (18"x4"x30' and 18"x4"x10', cedar) holding up our vaulted ceiling. We had a company out who had a painter stain these for us. It was pretty evident right away he didn't know what he was doing, as he applied the stain and wasn't wiping it off. I asked him to wipe it off, which he did, and the color was somewhat close to what we were expecting. I observed him wiping, thought it was ok, and took off.

Came home to find that the color of the beams was so dark they were almost black. At the beginning they are a lighter brown color, but come to find out, he continued to use the same rag for wiping, which was saturated with stain, and rather than wiping it off, it was just spreading it around.

We bought the exact stain as our mantel so that they would match, and now it looks really bad.

What are the options at this point for fixing it? My only thought is having somebody sand them down, but will that work without looking splotchy? Any other ideas?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Have you been in contact with the company that did the original job? I'd certainly say it's their responsibility to fix the problem at no additional cost to you.

As far as the method of fixing the problem, sanding is probably your best option. When I was figuring out how to properly stain test scraps, I made a few mistakes (see this question). Just to check if I could correct mistakes on my actual project, I sanded down the test scraps and re-stained them. Afterwards, I couldn't tell they had been refinished. (Note: I was working with pine - not sure how cedar will react.)

Just make sure whatever sander you use has built in dust collection, or use it in conjunction with a shopvac. You're going to have a lot of dust from the size of those beams.

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Thanks, yes they are coming out today to fix it. I just wanted to make sure they were going to fix it properly. They also suggested sanding them down. –  esac Mar 25 '11 at 15:37
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