Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

February, 2003

Painting Over Smoke Residue

Q. Need to paint a house interior where walls have been contaminated for years by heavy smokiing. Suggestions?

A. I don't have a definitive answer since this is not a situation that I've faced before. However, if I had to repaint the interior walls, I would first wash them down thoroughly with trisoduim phosphate (TSP) and then rinse off the walls with clean tap water. Thereafter, I would apply a primer sealer to prevent smoke stains from bleeding through to the toopcoat. Finally I would apply the acrylic latex topcoat and hope for the best.

Actually, rather than hope for the best, I would first experiment on a small area that is not generally visible to others.

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