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Brown stain on shingles: patience or sandblasting

Q. My house is covered with hand-split wood shakes which were treated with a white primer before being installed in 1941. Seven years ago the shakes, which had weathered to a beautiful tannish-whitish gray, were stained a dark brown and they look terrible. How can we recover the earlier color of the shakes?

Fredrica S. French, Long Grove, Ill.

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A. It is surprising to learn of a brown stain that, after seven years, has not largely faded away. It may eventually wear away and expose the pleasing color underneath. Meanwhile, you may have to put up with the brown shakes.

Of course, you might experiment by using a semitransparent wood stain over the brown in a small area to see if it is satisfactory. Our guess is that you wouldn't like it.

Otherwise, the only immediate answer lies in sandblasting the shingles down to bare wood. Then apply whatever treatment best suits your color taste.

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