why is my new fence wood black and mouldy -is this okay?

Hi there, I'm looking for a little advice since I'm very new to all things gardening! I'm having my garden fenced in. Yesterday the builder dropped off the wood for me to start staining. Only problem is that most of it is black with a white mould on it. It's soaking wet also. My builder is a bit of a nightmare, but that's another story, but he assures me the wood is pressure treated and says I'm being ridiculous to expect clean wood. So I have a few questions I hoped you can help me with... firstly, is this wood okay to use? Is it normal to have black mouldy wood from the timber merchant? Secondly, how do I get rid of it? Will it come good if I pressure wash it? How long does the wood need to dry out? I live in Scotland so it could be many months until I see a sunny day, but generally speaking how long would i need to allow for a fence wood to dry out? It's a water based stain so does the wood need to be bone dry? Thank you in advance for your help.


  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,098

    Sounds like its been left to get damp for awhile and isn't treated.  I would ask for new panels, they're not cheap are they. Fence panels usually need another coat of preserver aswell tho. I would say wood does need to be dry.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,095

    I would reject it and ask for it to be replaced.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,900

    It shouldn't be mouldy if it's been pressure treated. If it's gone black then it's stained and may show through your wood stain. I would reject it too.

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    My panelling is old and now rotting a bit, but it's never been black or had mould on it. I can't see how it can have been pressure treated. I agree reject it.

  • Thanks so much for your response so far. When I called about the wood he made me feel so silly for saying I wasn't happy with the black stuff so I'm glad to hear you all would reject it too. I will take a photo so you can see what I mean... I'm sure he got it from a merchant, but it must have been outside for years! I assume the pressure treatment means that it should be mould resistant? My plan was just to stain it not to start pressure washing and retreating it all.

    I should say it's timber, not actual panels
  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 11,098

    I'd still ask for it to be replaced.  We have fencing down one side of our garden and a couple of panals are quite old now , there's no mould on them and only need replacing because of next doors large shrub growing through it!

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    The merchants I've been to have their wood undercover. I'd tell the builder it isn't "fit for purpose" you ordered wood that was for fencing that would be stained when delivered, this is not suitable for staining and might never be. It might even be 2nd hand and the builder has obtained it from another source.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Hi Natalie. This is part of a batch of timber I got a couple of weeks ago for a bit of fence. It looked blacker than this, but once the pack was opened up it lightened as it was able to breathe. 


    I used it while it was wet and the following day it was dry, and I painted it :


     Most big timber merchants who are turning out loads of timber don't have the capacity to store it under cover, and it's often soaking wet when it's lifted and transported. I personally wouldn't be worried about using it, but, if you're not happy with it, contact the merchant and discuss it. Opened out, fencing timber will dry out quite quickly even at this time of year and will take paint. image 

  • image

    here's a small section of what it looks like if this helps?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Doesn't look any worse than mine Natalie image

    We've had horrible weather in the last few days but you'll find it'll dry out a lot today assuming your weather is like mine - I'm a bit further east than you in central Scotland image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,788

    I wouldn't accept mouldy woven panels, but I think timber posts with a bit of black slime/mould on them are acceptable.  You'd pay a lot more for posts that had been stored under cover, and if they've been pressure treated they'll be fine - the mould will be on the surface only.  

    As Fg says, contact the supplier if you're not sure about it. 

     I would also ask the builder for a copy of the invoice for the timber, as this should carry the statement that the wood has been pressure treated - therefore if it rots too quickly you'll have  some come-back.  

    Edited to say:  I suppose I should add that I'm from a farming family and an ex smallholder - also my ex was a builder, and quite a good one even if he is my ex.  He'd have been happy to use posts with black slimy mould on them as long as they'd been pressure treated.  He used a small supplier who didn't have undercover storage for everything, and therefore was able to charge less for his timber.  Never known any complaints.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Happy to be wrong, less upset for Natalie. I thought Fairy would know with her experience of fencing.  imageimage

  • image


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,788

    I think they'll be fine, with a bit of elbow grease and a wire brushing when they're dry - and that'll only take one sunny day.  

    But lay them flat - you don't want them to dry out bendy!!!!

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Some of mine looked exactly like that Natalie. As Dove says try and lay them flat if you can. I laid a lot of mine on supports (old garden chairs) to keep them level and to let air round them, and also because I painted a lot of mine before attaching which made life a lot easier. Make sure they're properly attached too - if you think the builder is lacking - keep an eye on everything he does!

     If you can get a coat of paint on them while the weather's decent it'll help. Let's face it - they have the onslaught of the  Scottish weather over the next few months ! image

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Be aware that 'pressure treated' doesn't mean much.  If you examine the wood carefully or cut through one of the lengths you will see how little the treatment has penetrated.  You will probably have to apply preservative yearly or every two years depending on what you use.

  • I'm sorry I'm late to the thread But I wouldn't expect to pay for them would you 

    I would reject them as if you would be collecting them your self you would sort them out or go to a diffrent supplier wouldn't you??

    why not go with the builder and select them with him??


  • I have my own "new" fencing in the garage where I'm staining them before they get put up as it's a double sided fence and I want it to last.

    A little bit of time now before they go up will pay you later and in the  end it's your money and decision isn’t it 


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