Cigarette smoke smell

12 Replies

So we want to make an offer on a house in our target area but it has brown stained walls and popcorn ceiling and a sting odor of smoke. I have heard 

Get you some Kilz and strip out all the carpets.

Continued.., I have heard of painting walls etc with Kilz and running an ionizer and stripping the popcorn ceiling but what about the AC ducts? Can they be cleaned enough or is it replacement only? What else can anyone recommend? Is it ever necessary to go down to the studs?  thanks in advance. 

-Will

You didn't finish your thought but Id confidently say that hitting the walls, ceiling and subfloor with Kilz primer will take care of the stale reeky smell of cigarettes. 

You could have a duct cleaning service clean them. If you want to go that route then do it before you Kilz the place.

We use a product called Vital Oxide in our flips to neutralize odor and disinfect. Pour it into a fogger and spray the whole house. Knock out the smell and disinfect at one time.

http://www.unionspringspro.com/vital-oxide/

Good luck with it.

Pending how bad the staining - i.e. how long the smoker was resident.  Painting with Kiltz or Zinsser BIN will seal the smell, stain and chemicals for a while, but they may eventually come back.  We were helping a friend renovate a house which had been home to a heavy smoker: one room was so bad - owner had smoked in the same chair for 30 years - that we had to replace the sheet rock on the walls and ceiling.

There have been some studies in the past few years showing that the chemicals from cigarette smoke, even when encapsulated with paint, eventually come to the surface exposing future residents, in particular young children.   There has even been a dialogue here about making it mandatory to disclose if a property was previously home to smokers.

Slightly off topic..NEVER allow smokers as tenants. I refuse to allow the ones that smoke even if they claim they will only smoke outside. They can do lots of damage to your property.

@Ryan Burkart thanks for the info. Good to know. 

@Roy N.  Thank you. I bet the house we are looking at would be similar to the 30 year smoker's house. I am afraid I may Kilz it and then in the Texas heat if AC is off, that odor will sneak back in when I have a great tenant in place. I think I will budget for Sheetrock in main living areas that are most affected when putting together my offer. 

@John Thedford  good idea. Not a protected class. And protect the investment. 

Use the "search the site" feature of BP and you will find a wealth of good info on the topic of "smoke odor".

We remove carpet and pad. Then we wash all hard surfaces with vinegar. We follow this with a TSP wash. Paintable surfaces, such as walls and ceiling, and the subfloor will get a coat of an oil based odor/stain blocker, such as that made by Kilz or Zinsser. Woodwork, trim and cabinets get either a deep cleaning or are changed out. Fabrics and blinds are washed with vinegar too. The whole HVAC system, including ductwork will be professionally cleaned. Take apart everything to clean it thoroughly.

I love white vinegar! It's not toxic and is very effective at neutralizing tobacco smoke odor. Works even in an occupied home... Put white vinegar in pans around the room and in closets where smoky clothes are hanging.

@Will Pritchett , we just had this same discussion a couple of weeks ago at our local REI group meeting.

Fabuloso, which comes in all sorts of colors/scents, placed in a bowl under the filter at the furnace should take care of the smoke odor.  One investor stated that he had a small fire in one of his rentals and new tenants were supposed to move in the next day.  Someone suggested this to him so he did it and shockingly, the next morning, there was no hint of smoke smell at all.

Originally posted by @Julia Blythe :

@Will Pritchett , we just had this same discussion a couple of weeks ago at our local REI group meeting.

Fabuloso, which comes in all sorts of colors/scents, placed in a bowl under the filter at the furnace should take care of the smoke odor.  One investor stated that he had a small fire in one of his rentals and new tenants were supposed to move in the next day.  Someone suggested this to him so he did it and shockingly, the next morning, there was no hint of smoke smell at all.

 So it removes the odour, but the residue of toxic chemicals remain?

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