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Old 01-30-2008, 09:27 AM
 
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How do you prepare walls and trim for painting in a house where smokers have lived? My mother, a heavy smoker, moved out of her house 6 months ago and the interior needs painting before we put it on the market. Do you wash the walls first? If so, with anything special? If you wash them, do you need to prime them as well?

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 6,486,407 times
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Wash the walls with a solution of warm water and TSP (trisodium phosphate) and then when they're dry, give them a good coat or two of Killz. Then you can paint as normal.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
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We had this problem in our house in CA. Smokers lived and smoked there for at least 100 years. The colors were not identifiable. TSP mostly smeared the muddy goo around. we painted with Killz or the other shellac based primer and it sometimes bled through. More importantly, the smell did not go away.

Lucky for us, most walls were wallpapered several layers and then painted over. we removed the wallpaper down to bare plaster and the smoke goo went with it. However most ceilings and some walls were painted right over the plaster. These rooms were a problem.

What we ended up doing, I do not know if it was the best method, but it worked.

Spray Dow Scrubbing bubbles on the walls. Let it sit for half an hour or so. It will foam up a brown bubbly paste, this is really gross. Wipe it off with a cloth soaked in TSP that you rinse and/or replace regularly. Spray again with scrubbing bubbles. repeat. After three or four treatments the muddy paste went away.


Do not forget to replace all of the carpeting and padding or just throw it out if you have hardwood underneath.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 6,486,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
We had this problem in our house in CA. Smokers lived and smoked there for at least 100 years. The colors were not identifiable. TSP mostly smeared the muddy goo around. we painted with Killz or the other shellac based primer and it sometimes bled through. More importantly, the smell did not go away.

Lucky for us, most walls were wallpapered several layers and then painted over. we removed the wallpaper down to bare plaster and the smoke goo went with it. However most ceilings and some walls were painted right over the plaster. These rooms were a problem.

What we ended up doing, I do not know if it was the best method, but it worked.

Spray Dow Scrubbing bubbles on the walls. Let it sit for half an hour or so. It will foam up a brown bubbly paste, this is really gross. Wipe it off with a cloth soaked in TSP that you rinse and/or replace regularly. Spray again with scrubbing bubbles. repeat. After three or four treatments the muddy paste went away.


Do not forget to replace all of the carpeting and padding or just throw it out if you have hardwood underneath.
Ew, I think I'm going to be sick. You definitely had a worse smoke problem than I've dealt with in the past.

Oh, but that scrubbing bubbles stuff...works GREAT to clean the brick around a fireplace.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 2,529,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoaminRed View Post
Oh, but that scrubbing bubbles stuff...works GREAT to clean the brick around a fireplace.
do tell........do you just spray it on and let it sit........scrub it off? What?
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Oz
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Originally Posted by Historic Bessemer View Post
do tell........do you just spray it on and let it sit........scrub it off? What?
Yep, spray it on, and after it sits for a while it gets all black with the soot, and then you just simply sponge it off with warm water. You could use a soft bristle brush too if you want, but just sponging it worked great for me.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:58 AM
 
Location: At the lake house in sunny Florida
16,125 posts, read 16,236,695 times
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We once bought a house where the previous owners were heavy smokers. We learned a few lessons. First of all you need to prime first, Kilz is fine just make sure it is "oil" based. We didn't use oil base and we had to prime and then put on about 3 coats of paint. The tar kept coming throught and our white walls had a yellowish tint. On the doors I used a mixture of bleach and water and sprayed it on. It was so disgusting to watch the tar running down the doors.

The paint will help the smells on the walls but you also need to treat or change out any material like carpet, drapes or curtains. AIR out the house as often as you can.

Also with a heavily smoked in house the smell will linger in the a/c, heating, and ducting system. Change all filters, keeping running the heat and a/c, and spray lysol through the system. That should help. If not you may have to have some kind of duct cleaning(?) service.

Good luck.
Lisa
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Old 01-30-2008, 12:05 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 23,874,869 times
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Why I will NEVER buy or even stay at a house that a heavy smoker lived in. YUCK!!! If it does that to the walls just think of what lungs look like after living with that even the ones that did not smoke . My inlaws were a prime example of this. They kept saying it would not harm anyone by his smoking. Yet the pure white paint of the walls, ceilings, cabinets, EVERYTHING turned this NASTY yellow and it was AWFUL after he passed and she had to clean EVERY surface of that house and repaint to try and get rid of it.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 6,486,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momof2dfw View Post
Why I will NEVER buy or even stay at a house that a heavy smoker lived in. YUCK!!! If it does that to the walls just think of what lungs look like after living with that even the ones that did not smoke . My inlaws were a prime example of this. They kept saying it would not harm anyone by his smoking. Yet the pure white paint of the walls, ceilings, cabinets, EVERYTHING turned this NASTY yellow and it was AWFUL after he passed and she had to clean EVERY surface of that house and repaint to try and get rid of it.
I would. You can get good money off the purchase price for houses that have some sort of "defect" like that, because nobody wants to deal with it.
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:48 PM
 
7,673 posts, read 8,116,669 times
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Thanks for all the good info. Now we just have to get it done....
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