How to Treat and Paint Over Nicotine Stained WallsWritten by Ray Munn Ltd
Stains from cigarette smoke get into almost anything it comes in contact with. It causes unsightly discolouration of a smoker's teeth, fingers and nails. But did you know that cigarette smoke can also stain your interior walls and ceilings? In fact, one of the most difficult stains to remove are nicotine stains as they are resistant to most soaps and water.
The combination of nicotine and tar present on cigarette smoke causes a buildup of yellowish and brownish stains that is more apparent on light coloured painted walls. These harmful chemicals not only have damaging effects on the walls and ceilings, they also leave behind a burnt smell that can endure along with the stains. Applying a fresh coat of paint is a great way to quickly rejuvenate affected areas but because of the oily and water-soluble nature of nicotine, stained areas need special treatment to ensure that the greasy and unsightly yellow stains will not resurface through the new layer of paint. So how can you go about treating a wall of these stains in various sizes in order to repaint it?
First, it is paramount that the surface be thoroughly made clean, dry and free of any materials that will interfere with the adhesion of paints applied. This involves removal of dust, organic growth, old layers of wallpaper and any loose and failing material by scraping and brushing with a plastic or steel bristle brush. If applicable, smooth the surface with a fine grade sand paper. It can be highly beneficial to lower the concentration of nicotine on the walls, especially around the more problematic areas. Ordinary soap is not enough to clean nicotine-covered walls but there are home remedies you can try. One popular solution is the mixture of trisodium phospate (TSP) and water. Another alternative is a solution made of ammonia and vinegar. The concentration depends on the severity of the stains but be sure to use a sponge mop when cleaning and make sure you rinse off any residue of the cleaning mixture. Once cleaned and dried, it pays to fix holes, dents and scratches like you would normally do when renovating. A good quality filler like Zinsser Ready Patch can kiss those unpleasant cracks, holes and dents goodbye.
After properly prepping the walls, it's time for the primer treatment. A good stain-blocking primer should be used to prevent any remaining nicotine stains from bleeding through the paint job. Since nicotine is water-soluble, you should avoid using water-based primers and paints as they will not only cause the old nicotine stains to leak through but also make it easier for new stains to accumulate. Oil-based and shellac primers are the best choice for this type of stain problem. BIN Primer Sealer is a shellac based primer that not only acts as a stain killer but also permanently blocks every kind of obnoxious odours (from smoke and fire damage to odours from pets and nicotine). To get the best finishing result, invest in either latex or oil based interior paints. It is also recommended to choose a durable and washable paint especially for heavy smoking areas that demand frequent cleaning to wash off new stains. Little Greene offers oil-based paints in both Traditional Oil Gloss (high sheen finish) and Traditional Oil Eggshell (low sheen finish), that are completely washable and tough enough to withstand wear and tear. What's more, these paints are formulated with an eco-oil recipe which means solvents (VOCS) have been replaced with naturally occurring vegetable oils.
Frequent exposure to cigarette smoke can cause ugly discolouration of your interior walls, ranging from dark yellowish to brownish. Get rid of these unattractive stains with proper cleaning treatment and the right choice of wall primer and interior paints.
Image Credit: honeydewpm.com
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