Asked on Nov 15, 2016

I need some advice on painting after smoke damage

by Jen
The ceilings, walls and molding in this room are covered in black soot from being heated by a kerosene heater for 25+ years. The room was painted a flat neutral after construction 36 years ago. I tried cleaning with Odorcide Fire and soot cleaner but it makes a bigger mess. I think some of the kerosene soot absorbed into the ceiling and walls. I there a sealant or primer I could apply over the soot or does it have to be cleaned. Any advice is appreciate. Jen
i need some advice on painting after smoke damage
  35 answers
  • Ilona Elliott Ilona Elliott on Nov 15, 2016
    You might want to contact a firm that specializes in cleaning up after fires and such and see if they would advise you or have a product or service that might help you. Servpro is a popular one but there are many others. You could google flood and fire damage restoration to find them in your area. Sometimes if you have them come out and look you can learn enough from them during the conversation to not have to contract with them but can DIY the same process!!
  • William William on Nov 15, 2016
    I agree! The soot build up appears to be too extensive for the DIY. It can be done but it would take forever trying different products and finding something that would work.
  • Rob Rob on Nov 15, 2016
    You could try killz, or another type of sealer. I would contact the maker of kills and ask them if that would,be a suitable application.
  • Kathy Milburn Kathy Milburn on Nov 15, 2016
    I had this situation with an oil furnace that blew. I used 5 of the 5 gallon buckets of kilz to seal everything. Took forever. But it worked.
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Nov 16, 2016
    I worked for ServiceMaster for years. If the paint is flat, soot removal is best removed with the dry sponges. DO NOT WET THE SPONGES!!! The soot sticks to the sponge. If the paint is any form of gloss (semi,full, satin sheen), it must be washed down . Never try to remove soot or any dirt on "flat" paint by washing. You will end up with a bigger mess than what you started with. "Sponging" the walls and ceiling is a tedious job and takes arm and shoulder strength. Wipe first in straight strokes, overlapping each stroke. then can be wiped in opposite direction if really bad. Do small area at a time. I have cleaned walls and ceilings that were black from smoke and soot, and been able to restore them to original color without painting. You can purchase the sponges online from Home Depot. Soot and smoke HAS to be removed before being painted over. It can cause "bleed thru", and peeling of paint (especially on glossy surfaces.
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Nov 16, 2016
    The sponges are also great for wallpaper, fabric and just about anything that cannot be gotten wet. Hope this info can help you.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Nov 16, 2016
    Friend works for a contractor that goes in to fire damaged homes. The product he uses is Zinzer oil-based stain blocker.
  • Beth Newton Beth Newton on Nov 16, 2016
    Zinsser brand paint products are better for this kind of heavy duty project. You may have to look around a bit to find it, but it really is the best. I love my Kilz, but it's just not up to soot or cat pee!
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 22, 2016
      I agree. I have had water stains, wood knots and cigarette smoke bleed through Kilz, I have never had any problems with the red labeled BIN 123 by Zinsser. I have not however tried it on soot.
  • I cleaned a home that had soot and smoke damage with TSP, Tri-Sodium Phosphate, It worked wonders, took all soot away and the ceiling and walls were ready for painting. Just takes elbow grease, but well worth it! Found at your local hardware store..
  • Waterdancer Waterdancer on Nov 17, 2016
    after cleaning try painting with "Kiltz" when I cleaned Government/ HUD apartment buildings for smoke & mold damage they painted with "kiltz" before renting them back out, I am not sure what colors kiltz comes in because they always painted the apartments in white
  • Frannie Frannie on Nov 17, 2016
    Try Kilz it's a stain blocker. Home Depot Lowes carries it
  • Rudy Rudy on Nov 18, 2016
    Before paint "kilts" you must wash with TSP. LYNNE
  • Tho14449567 Tho14449567 on Nov 18, 2016
    Yes clean with tsp but then you need to prime with Kilz smoke primer you'll never smell smoke again and it will not discolour agin good luck
  • Vaf13630665 Vaf13630665 on Nov 18, 2016
  • Kathy Aldridge Kathy Aldridge on Nov 18, 2016
    Years ago I had a kitchen fire. When the contractor did the job he used shellac on the ceilings before painting to seal in the smoke smell. We never detected the smoke again. Kilz is a much more "modern" product, easier to use, but as effective (?).. Here's a discussion including safety precautions using shellac.
  • Vickie Howell Vickie Howell on Nov 18, 2016
    You can also use dry cleaning sponges (made from 100% rubber, order online) to remove the majority of soot then a smoke primer... will reduce any smearing.
  • Chr4787838 Chr4787838 on Nov 19, 2016
    First washwith a good degreaser TSP is good then paint with Kilz. May need two coats. Then paint with your choice of colors and finishes..
  • Peggy Peggy on Nov 19, 2016
    There is oil in soot which is virtually resistant to most cleaners. I would tile the ceiling and replace the moulding.
  • Lynne Lynne on Nov 19, 2016
    Kilz should do the trick it worked for me. Good Luck!
  • Carol Carol on Nov 19, 2016
    Strip the wallpaper and that cuts down the job. Sealing ceiling and moulding.with Kilz, then paint. I never heard of "dry" sponges, but they sound great.
  • Jim Jim on Nov 19, 2016
    Chemical Sponge By Chemspec is the answer you are looking for. They work awesome for smoke, soot and oil.
  • Laurie Laurie on Nov 19, 2016
    Try Bin Zinzer to seal & cover. May need two or theee coats! I used it on dark panelling to cover cigar smoke.
  • Pat Pat on Nov 19, 2016
    Try spray nine it is for boats and gets everything looking good. My friend bought a trailer and the people smoked a lot we used this product on the walls and they came back clean as new .
  • 512181 512181 on Nov 19, 2016
    I believe the oil based Kilz or other primer like Zinsser seals the water stains and I assume smoke stains too. Of course clean the area first.
  • Sus4499217 Sus4499217 on Nov 19, 2016
    We had a house fire years ago and after the contractors gutted averything that needed to be removed he sprayed everything that was left with Kilz and we never had any smoke smell afterwards.
  • Bryan Texas Jarhead Bryan Texas Jarhead on Nov 19, 2016
    The Bin Zinzer pigmented shellac will seal so that no odor or stains will come through . It is expensive but so worth it .
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 22, 2016
      It isn't cheap but it is thin, so a little goes a long way.
  • Emt9031931 Emt9031931 on Nov 20, 2016
    I used Kilz Primer as base coat in my grandmother's house. Fifty years of coal soot and kerosene smoke was covered nicely by one coat. I EVEN used it on the ceiling and floor. Funny though, it looked so good, I never did paint!
  • Eliza Spear Eliza Spear on Nov 20, 2016
    Zinger 1-2-3 Bullseye primer covers and prevents bleed through
  • Nancy Henry Nancy Henry on Nov 20, 2016
    Shellac first; then Kilz. You won't have any bleeding then. This combo also defeats any odor trying to coe out, too.
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Nov 22, 2016
      Zinsser BIN 123 red label, is a shellac-based primer, so it would save you a step.
  • Kathy Kathy on Nov 20, 2016
    There are a couple brands (listed above) that are great for smoke/soot damage. Found at Home Depot
  • Twe2676739 Twe2676739 on Nov 21, 2016
    I would clean it first with a mild solution of white vinegar to try to cut the oils. Then use Kiltz stain cover to keep anything left from bleeding through. then primer it and paint.
  • Raul DeMoura Raul DeMoura on Nov 22, 2016
    Jen, myself, I was never comfortable with "covering" stains or SOOT! I used a SPONGE MOP to clean my high ceilings and walls. A 5 gal. Bucket of cold rinse water, and a mop bucket with this combo I came up with... "Awesome" cleaner, some "KRUD KUTTER tough task remover" (in the paint sect of wal mart) a little "pine sol", a little white vinigar, mixed with HOT WATER. You may need to adjust according to your needs. This worked wonders on my nearly 100 year old home with 2 coal burning fireplaces.
  • Michele Michele on Dec 19, 2016

    It you paint dirt and oil it will cover using contractor grade kilt but will not be smooth unless you clean it first, sand and fill with putty. We have renovated three old houses using these techniques. Take the time and do it right if you want it to look fabulous

  • Kennedy Mitungu Kennedy Mitungu on Jun 24, 2018

    hoW do I paint a smoke wall