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Discussion Starter #1
We just moved into a brick ranch built in 1960. The previous
owners recently painted all surfaces, replaced carpeting in the one small
room that has it, refinished the wood floors and replaced the
kitchen counter top - yet it reeks "old house".

A relative who once worked for a cabinet maker, said some
types of wood hold odors, so I went about purchasing Zinsser Cover
Stain oil based primer to seal all the wood inside all
the cabinets and closets since it was all bare.

I only got the interior of two upper kitchen cabinets
painted before I was blown away by the primer
odor. I chose this Zinsser Cover Stain because
it was the only one I saw at Lowes that specifically
states it blocks odors. I have small children and I cannot
continue using this product. Is there an alternative water based
product that blocks odors??

Incidentally, I was searching this site before posting
and saw a suggestion to have an HVAC cleaning, but I was
disheartened by one that suggested the old house smell
was also absorbed by the walls/frame so that anytime
the AC is on or doors/windows are opened and closed, the
odor continually "puffs" out from between the walls
through the outlets, etc. So all the painting
is to no avail?

Thanks!
 

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I'd be trying to locate the source of the smell not just trying to cover it up.
Lack of ventilation in the attic.
Roof leaks.
No exhaust fan in the bathroom, or it does not have a line that runs to the outside.
Dryer vent problems.
No vapor barrier on the ground if there's a crawl space.
Drainage issues in the basement or crawl space from no gutters, no slope away from the foundation, no waterproofing on the foundation, mulch piled up against the foundation or flower beds forming ponds.
Water leaks in the siding causing mold.
 

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What Joe said ^^^^

I would just ad that you should check the ductwork too.
 

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BIN is a pigmented shellac. I haven't used it yet but you might want to research the new synthetic pigmented shellacs. I know Sherwin Williams makes one.

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/pai...hetic-shellac-interior-stain-blocking-primer/

I don't disagree with what joe said and that's worth looking into, however if it's true that the wood in your home is "holding" old odors, then that will be a dead end and you need to cover with something like BIN as you are doing.

p.s. I kind of like the smell of BIN although most do not. It does dissipate more quickly than an oil-based odor, so if you can do it while your family is out, it dries very quickly and you can run a couple fans and it should be OK within a few hours.
 

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BIN will be potent in an enclosed space. I'd recommend a respirator while working with it, but it will dissipate very quickly. Within a couple of hours it should be pretty well gone. Oil odor will last far longer than that. The new synthetic shellacs like BIN2 are heavy bodied oils and just as potent as Coverstain. In my experience with them, which is only a couple of jobs, they do not perform as well as real shellac.
 

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I just looked up the sheet for the Sherwin Williams synthetic shellac, and that is mineral spirits cleanup as well (not alcohol), so that is probably not the way to go.
 

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Truth is, there's NOTHING out there that will do the job without the odor and/or fumes. As ChrisN alluded to, even the "odorless" BIN products put out fumes that are more potent because you don't necessarily smell them, but, the fumes are still there.

I don't think sealing up the interior of the cabinets is going to do much to eliminate the overall house smell. When you consider attic space and other areas where odors can be absorbed, well, I think this is going to be a losing battle.
 
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