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syogod 12-21-2010 08:00 AM

Painting soot covered walls
I was wondering if anybody had recommendations for painting interior walls that have soot on them. The previous owners used a kerosene heater (I think) and smoked and there's a fine layer of soot over all the walls. Can I just use a quality primer like Kilz or do I need to clean it off first somehow?

liquidvw 12-21-2010 09:20 AM

I had a friend who bought a house that the previous owner smoked in for 30 years with the windows closed. There was tar everywhere. They used a bucket of water and sponge to clean the walls. It took a long time and lots of elbow grease. Then they primed and painted.

hoz49 12-21-2010 09:47 AM

Wash walls with Dirtex or spic and span first. Rinse well, then prime with BIN (Bullseye shellac).

chrisn 12-21-2010 01:46 PM


Originally Posted by hoz49 (Post 554732)
Wash walls with Dirtex or spic and span first. Rinse well, then prime with BIN (Bullseye shellac).

That would be the ONLY way to go about it.:thumbsup:

Bud Cline 12-21-2010 05:10 PM

The walls MUST be cleaned first. A TSP solution of warm water also works well for cleaning this type of soil.:)

Mark Harvey 12-21-2010 10:12 PM

Painting Soot covered walls
I have a friend in the floor restoration business and I asked him for his advise because I am restoring an old railway station that has soot walls plus ... who knows what. (It was used as a tractor barn and cattle shed) He suggested a product ... I think it was Smoke Away, or something like that. I would call a chemicle supplier or look up renovation/restoration suppliers and give them a call. What you don't want to do is pressure wash the walls. Or use too much water. Either will remove the wood finish and probably leave stain marks. Short answer, ask a real pro.
Good luck.

hoz49 12-22-2010 09:41 AM


Originally Posted by Mark Harvey (Post 555214)
Short answer, ask a real pro.
Good luck.

Last I checked, I AM...

syogod 12-22-2010 09:51 AM

@Hoz...I looked up Dirtex and there seems to be a few varieties. Any particular one you suggest? And is it easy to find at the big box stores?

hoz49 12-22-2010 10:09 AM

the powder. I've seen it at different stores. But I usually buy at Sherwin Williams.

Spic and Span or regular TSP will also do the job.

Mark Harvey 12-22-2010 10:59 AM

Sorry Hoz 49, Not to doubt your experience. The concern we also had in my situation was also that of health matters. The cleaning is the easy part, making sure there isn't any residue or odor or harmful chemicles lingering is a concern to keep in mind. (for my group, anyway.) If Spic & Span work, great. We we give it a try.
Regards. Mark

Bud Cline 12-22-2010 11:27 AM

Don't rely on a big box store to have the right products or advice. What you have gotten here so far is good information.

If you wanted to take it a step further or hear it one-more-time from those that a (real) janitorial supply company that sells products used in fire-restoration and ask what they sell for this purpose.:)

hoz49 12-22-2010 11:37 AM

I worked for a " fire restoration" contractor a VERY short time once. I had finished up an exterior for him and he took me to start an interior he had just contracted. Floor to ceiling, IT WAS A BLACK BURNT MESS!

He had these dry chemical sponges to wipe the soot off. Actually when I took one look around at all the blackened, soot covered walls and he said, "BTW this clean up work only pays $5.00 and hour (this was in the mid 70's) I just handed the sponges back to him and said, "I quit".

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