Have you ever seen this? (smoker damage)

24 Replies

This apartment was occupied by smokers for 16 years. I I bought an apartment last year that had smokers for 30 years straight and it still didn't look this bad. Nasty!

This is my favorite. It looks like an actual confederate flag hanging on the wall but that's just the way the wall stained. It a very detailed pattern and even includes folds! My wife saw the picture and thought it was still hanging there.

What's your worst smoker unit? What are your tips for cleaning it?

That one of the flag is cool looking!

I've had a few in my day as well.  I'll post a pic of one with 12' ceilings.  They smoked in it a few years then power was cut off so....they

grilled in the living room!

To clean this one I used a garden sprayer with vinegar and water 50/50, a sponge mop and another guy with a towel.  Mostly cleaned, then ran an ozone machine forever.  Then primed and painted.  1250 sqft, 12 ft textured ceilings throughout.

I don't rent to smokers anymore, whether they say they only smoke outside or not!   Bonus pic of the way another smoker left my apartment...

@Chris Szepessy it would be neat to cover it in plexiglass and frame it like a piece of art. But most tenants don't want a confederate flag hanging on their wall.

@Steve Vaughan my process was similar. I hired a cleaning company to steam-clean the walls. It was fast, inexpensive, and did a really good job. It helped that the walls had an oil-based paint underneath. The paint was almost 30 years old and still in good shape!

After everything was clean, I pulled the flooring. Two layers of industrial carpet (this was a converted motel) and then tile. The backing of the bottom layer had to be scraped/sanded off.

After the flooring was out, I ran my ozone generator and washed windows (three times each). Then the smell was finally gone.

I had a similar situation with a duplex I recently bought, which was also my first investment property. One unit had a smoker for years, we cleaned the walls and ceilings multiple times and the yellow stain kept seeping through. We finally sealed all the walls, ceilings and floors with Zessner odor killing sealer which helped a lot, purchased an air purifier, and kept the house open as much as we could. At the same time we cleaned down everything with bleach and other cleaners like TSP. The smell is finally gone, but I did notice all the smoke smell and stains are trapped in all the outlets, so they all need to be replaced too. We repainted the walls and are getting all new flooring installed.  The trick of leaving coal or white vinegar sitting out did not work for us. 

@Corby Goade it would cost approximately $60,000 to build a comparable unit. Cleaning and renovating cost me about $3,000 and a little elbow grease. I think I'll stick with cleaning and renovating! :)

@Nathan G. , I was just being kidding, but man, that's a mess. I have a house that I bought ten years ago that a smoker had lived in, and it was not THAT bad. I did all of the stuff that people recommend; a thousand layers of oil based primer, replaced a bunch of drywall, painted, new carpet, refinish hardwoods, etc. Ten years later, there's still just a hint of that smell....These days, it's a no go for me, even if the money is right, it's just too gross. You go get it- best of luck!

The flag stained onto the wall is pretty cool. This is the worst smoker house I've dealt with, not the best picture but you can see where the pictures were hung even after I peeled off the old grasscloth. It stunk. The whole house did, really. Scrubbed with TSP, coat of Kilz and some paint...no more smell.

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

That one of the flag is cool looking!

I've had a few in my day as well.  I'll post a pic of one with 12' ceilings.  They smoked in it a few years then power was cut off so....they

grilled in the living room!

To clean this one I used a garden sprayer with vinegar and water 50/50, a sponge mop and another guy with a towel.  Mostly cleaned, then ran an ozone machine forever.  Then primed and painted.  1250 sqft, 12 ft textured ceilings throughout.

I don't rent to smokers anymore, whether they say they only smoke outside or not!   Bonus pic of the way another smoker left my apartment...

I think my guys used Killz as the primer.. been in many a foreclosure were someone lived there 10 to 30 years and well walls were yellow

and we wonder why folks get lung cancer..   that's why in the old days working in smoky bars was bad.

I used to go watch Monday night football at a cigar bar and had to take my cloths off in the garage before coming in the house.. 

@Nathan G.   I would accept that if that tenant paid for 16 years without a turn over.. that's a nice run.. turn over kills landlords.. 

That looks pretty comparable, @Dawn P.

Here's an apartment I bought last year. It had the same paint for almost 30 years and a smoker lived in it the entire time. You can see how the walls glow yellow.

This is the same place after cleaning and painting.

@Nathan G. Looks great after the make ready. I went into one almost as bad Monday. Walls and ceilings completely yellow from smoke. It had been vacant for months and I had to leave because my eyes started burning! Didn’t buy It because of that. Well that and the floors were falling in.😂
It’s amazing to me people still smoke in 2018 . Look at the walls then think of these peoples lungs . It’s incomprehensible to me someone would spend 10$ per day for decades only to give themselves a painful drawn out terminal disease .ive heard it said by physicians that when you see a healthy lung compared to a smokers lung it’s shocking . Apparently a smoker lung looks way darker and the tar is so thick In It that when you push on the tissue wIth your thumb, brown goo comes through the surface
Originally posted by @Dennis M. :
It’s amazing to me people still smoke in 2018 . Look at the walls then think of these peoples lungs . It’s incomprehensible to me someone would spend 10$ per day for decades only to give themselves a painful drawn out terminal disease .ive heard it said by physicians that when you see a healthy lung compared to a smokers lung it’s shocking . Apparently a smoker lung looks way darker and the tar is so thick In It that when you push on the tissue wIth your thumb, brown goo comes through the surface

...and that's why I stick to chewing tobacco. ;)

I am dealing with the same issue in my first rental and I am sooo thankful for these posts guiding us newbies. Thank you all for taking he time to post about your experiences!

Originally posted by @Martin Pulrang :

I am dealing with the same issue in my first rental and I am sooo thankful for these posts guiding us newbies. Thank you all for taking he time to post about your experiences!

 I'm glad you were able to find it and that it helped you out. Good luck!

Originally posted by @Jill F. :

@Nathan G. Yikes! How long did they live there? 

16 years. They were there for six years before I took over management so the damage was done and we kept them as long as possible, knowing we would have to gut the place when they left.

 

@Nathan G.

Hi Nathan. I bought a smoker house to move into. It was almost that bad! We scrubbed everything with TSP, Dawn soap, and degreaser in the kitchen. We ripped out all carpet and replaced with laminate. We primed everything with Kilz, including ceilings, and painted everything with a high quality paint. Painting with the right stuff is really took care of the smell. Cleaning alone barely touched it!

Originally posted by @Patricia Taveras :

Hi Nathan. I bought a smoker house to move into. It was almost that bad! We scrubbed everything with TSP, Dawn soap, and degreaser in the kitchen. We ripped out all carpet and replaced with laminate. We primed everything with Kilz, including ceilings, and painted everything with a high quality paint. Painting with the right stuff is really took care of the smell. Cleaning alone barely touched it!T

That was my experience, as well.