Brownish or tan discoloration on the paint surface due to migration of tannins from the substrate through the paint film. Typically occurs on 'staining timbers,' such as redwood, cedar and mahogany, or over painted knots in certain other timer species.

Possible cause

  • Failure to adequately prime and seal the surface before applying the paint
  • 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



Correct any possible sources of excess moisture (see Efflorescence and mottling). After thoroughly cleaning the surface, apply a high quality stain-resistant solvent-based or water-based primer.

Solvent-based stain-resistant primers are the best type to use on severely staining boards. In extreme cases, a second coat of primer can be applied after the first has dried thoroughly.

Finish with a top quality water-based paint. Dulux recommends Dulux 1Step® Oil Based Primer Sealer Undercoat and Dulux Weathershield®.

More problem solving advice

When droplets appear on acrylic paint

Have you noticed small droplets appearing on your fresh coat of acrylic paint? Don't panic – it’s a normal part of the curing process. Find out more.


Yellowing describes the development of a yellow cast in aging paint solvent-based enamels. Find out more.


Wrinkling is a term used to describe a rough, crinkled paint surface occurring when paint forms a 'skin'. Find out more.

Surfactant leaching

Surfactant leaching occurs when the concentration of water-soluble ingredients on water-based paint creates a blotchy, sometimes glossy appearance, often with a tan or brownish cast. Find out more.