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Why are There Colored Stains on My Fence?

As your wooden fence ages, you’ll likely eventually ask “why are there colored stains on my fence?” If it’s stained, your stain will eventually fade. The cause of degradation of wood coloration can vary depending on your climate, sun exposure, and the treatment you use. In this blog, we will explore some different causes of discoloration for fencing. Moreover, we will also consider remedies for each, and discuss when each is beyond repair.

Wooden Fencing

There are three primary causes for discoloration of wood fencing: mold, mildew, and tannins. Each affects the chemistry of the wood differently, and thus each requires a different treatment. This section should help you diagnose the problem, and put together a plan for fixing it.


The primary types of mold are: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys Chartarum (Black Mold). Most of them appear black or green in color, but they come in a variety of colors. Being a fungus, mold grows in dark places where water collects yet doesn’t evaporate quickly.

Mold is known for causing respiratory difficulties, allergic reactions, and even pneumonia and heart trouble. Although all five types are dangerous, Stachybotrys Chartarum is the worst. People call “black mold” even though several kinds of mold can appear black. Stachybotrys Chartarum can cause severe health problems, difficulty breathing, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, depression, allergic reactions, and other problems.

Given these significant health risks, be careful when cleaning it. Wear protective gloves and a mask, use a strong household cleaner, and an abrasive scrub pad. Wash the pad with a bucket of water. The most effective and safest way to remove mold is always to hire a professional mold remediation company.

Because mold grows inside the wood instead of on the surface, you must temper expectations when removing it. Killing the spores to prevent them from growing or spreading won’t guarantee that you can remove all the discoloration. In such cases, you can replace discolored pieces, or hire a fencing company to do it.


Similar to mold, mildew is a fungus that grows in damp, dark places. Unlike mold, however, mildew tends to be white or grey and appears as a powdery substance on flat surfaces. It is also dangerous to breathe; the effects are similar to that of mold. However, mildew also affects crops; remember that if your fencing is on farmland.

The process of cleaning mildew is similar to that of cleaning mold. Again, you are better off hiring a company to do it for you. However, because mold grows on the surface, you stand a better chance of removing the problem with a thorough cleaning. And you also stand a better chance or restoring the proper coloration of your fence.


Tannins are organic compounds found within the wood in your fence, especially in cedar. Over time, the tannins in your wood can leech out, robbing your wood of its natural color. If your fence has turned gray or silver, especially at the bottom, its tannins may be seeping out.

The best way to deal with this situation is to avoid it. If your wood is properly dried before purchase, you can coat it with primer and sealant. Be sure to use tannin-resistant products. These steps should help your fencing to retain its tannins and its color.

If you already see discoloration, take some photos and visit a quality fencing store. The professionals there should be able to give sound advice on products and procedures for restoring the color of your wood. They can also restore it for you.

Iron Fencing

Exposure to moisture and oxygen can cause an iron fence to rust. But, if your fence has some rust, you can restore it with proper care. However, if it’s been rusting for some time, restoration can be much more difficult, if not impossible. It is always a good idea to consult with a fence installation specialist to determine the severity of the damage. They will also help you choose the best path forward for restoring (or replacing) your fence.

First, it helps to remove rusted-out sections so that you can work on them in a safe area. If this is infeasible, do your best to create a workstation around your fence to prevent paint and chemical spillage. You will need a chisel to remove rust and paint. Use coarse sandpaper to scrape away any other paint and rough areas. Then, use a high-grade rust remover on any rusted areas; follow the directions precisely. After finishing the process, repaint the fence with durable waterproof paint. Again, follow the instructions; use a primer if necessary.

If your fence is not made of wood or metal, you can still develop fungus, algae, moss, or other challenges. Most of these difficulties can be eradicated entirely if you catch them early enough. However, no fence lasts forever. The key is to treat your fence with the proper sealants and paint to prevent these problems from taking hold.

Consult All Counties Fence & Supply

If you really want your fence to last a long time, consult with a professional fence installer before installing. All Counties Fence & Supply has provided countless homes in the Southland with quality fencing for many years. Even if you are an avid DIY’er, you really have nothing to lose.


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Jacqueline T.

Murrieta, CA

I can’t say enough about All Counties Fence & Supply!!! Chris new I needed a fence right away for the security of my dogs and he made sure the waiting time was minimum. The job from start to finish was A++++++++++++++++++++++++++ quality, cleanliness, on time and a bunch a very professional workers. I’m so happy that we went with this company that was highly recommended by a close friend!!!! Our fence looks amazing and we are so happy. Thank you!!