the new stains are all different some like a leopard with heavy dark spots on some treads and others light in areas; wood filler is a whole different issue and not taking stain; contractor used stain poly and then sand/restain now the weird patterns (not wood grain) are emerging--again like a leopard. The stairs are ruined and a showcase to the whole home. Do we have to totally start over?

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    Welcome to WSE. A couple photos would help us appreciate your problem. You can edit your question and add images from the editor. Also there are quite a few questions on this site that discuss this type of problem. You can select the 'stain' tag to get a selection f them.
    – Ashlar
    May 27 '20 at 22:02
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    Hi, welcome to StackExchange. Normally I'd agree we need pics here but the problem sounds bad enough that a quick assessment of yeah, start again could be right on the money :-( The thing is though, there are many products out there and what result you want is key. You could quite easily salvage this using e.g. "gel stain" (a jellied coloured varnish) or with paint.
    – Graphus
    May 28 '20 at 9:49
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    I would add that since you've had a contractor do this, it should be up to him to give you satisfactory results. I would hope you didn't pay in full up front - withholding some money (often half) until the customer is satisfied with the finished work is a pretty standard process and not unreasonable. Whatever the fix takes, it should be on the contractor to do so out of her own pocket, not yours. I am the last person to suggest you "lawyer up", but that is something to keep in the back of mind as a last resort only.
    – FreeMan
    May 28 '20 at 12:41

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