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staining over wood filler gives blotchy results

Paid someone to build new oak stairs for our basement - I sanded them and stained with a water based stain. Unfortunately the areas where the guy used some kind of pore filler do not stain as dark as the oak, giving me a blotchy look. I've given the stairs 2 coats of stain, but still the same. Before I throw in the towel and paint the risers and moldings white, leaving just the treads stained, does anyone have an idea how to correct this problem?

A. Spruce
Re: staining over wood filler gives blotchy results

Can you post a picture?

The filler may not have been a stainable type or you may not have sanded well enough - it's tough sometimes.

Depending on how bad the filler areas are, it may be easiest to just paint and be done with it, otherwise more sanding may do the trick.

Re: staining over wood filler gives blotchy results

Actually I think I just salvaged at least the treads. Using a small artist's paintbrush I dabbed and feathered a third coat of stain only on the lighter wood filler patches. It hides the patches pretty well. I will do a final coat of stain on the entire treads tonight which will hopeful even out the blotches to make them even less noticeable. As far as the risers and molding, I will paint them white and be done with it. But I'm glad it at least looks like I've gotten the treads evened out as those MUST remain wood stained - painting them would be a crime against the poor oak tree who died to provide me with these stairs.

Re: staining over wood filler gives blotchy results

Sometimes the blotchy area is bigger than the hole itself, as the filler was wiped on and left a thumb-sized patch of acrylic resin in/on the wood surrounding the nail hole.
If using a "filler", I always fill holes before sanding, so the surface gets cleaned off. On finer hardwood trim jobs, I fill the brad holes after final finishing, with colored wax sticks.

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