Dark stain from galvanized nails in outdoor cedar trim

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Forum topic by danoaz posted 08-23-2014 10:40 PM 1224 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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219 posts in 1592 days

08-23-2014 10:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dark nail stains cedar

So I thought I was doing the right thing to get galvanized nails for some cedar trim I am putting on a building. Now I am getting the dark streaks that I don’t want. Is there any sort of sealer I can put on the nails to stop this on the existing work and anything I can do for the rest of the project that I haven’t finished short of buying stainless steel nails?

I did a search in these forums and all I got was what to do to get rid of the dark stain.

Any help would be appreciated.

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

4 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile


3481 posts in 1687 days

#1 posted 08-24-2014 02:33 AM

I did a cedar fence and gate last summer and used stainless screws from fastnel. I later heard about ceramic nails/screws for cedar. I’m sure if they are any cheaper and have never checked into them since. I really doubt that you find an easy solution to your problem. It’s the acid and resins in cedar that’s reacting to the nails. I sure wish you the best of luck.

View Woodendeavor's profile


276 posts in 2028 days

#2 posted 08-24-2014 02:54 AM

Stainless is the answer it is a chemical reaction between the nail and the wood

View skatefriday's profile


379 posts in 904 days

#3 posted 08-24-2014 04:41 AM

So this is one of my pet peeves.

I’ll be driving down the road and I’ll see a redwood/cedar fence,
cause I live out in the far west where we actually have fences,
with screw streaks down the length of it, and I’ll say to myself, but
for about $30, they could have used a coated screw and avoided
that problem all together.

I see that all the time here in California, and all I can do is shake
my head and think, “stupid contractors”. To save $30 on a project
they create an eyesore.

The coated screws that won’t cause this problem are available
at your favorite big box retailer. And if you have a contractor
come in and build you a fence and you don’t explicitly specify in
the contract that he use coated screws, he’s gonna go spend
that $30 extra dollars at the local bar.

One reason that I just don’t trust contractors anymore and decided
that I was going to build my own kitchen cabinets. Oops, fell down
a rabbit/rabbet hole.

Although I did build my own fence about 10 years ago that people
have described as “way over engineered”. But there are zero streaks.
And it survives the windstorms we have here in the San Fernando Valley. :-)

View shipwright's profile


7094 posts in 2219 days

#4 posted 08-24-2014 05:03 AM

Ferrous ions react with the tannins in the wood. You can make it work for you by making a solution from vinegar and steel wool. It will,”ebonize” tannin bearing woods. Walnut or Oak will go dead black.
Ebony on the left, wetted with alcohol. Walnut on the right with ferrous ion solution at the top.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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