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Products & Steps for Sealing in Cigarette Smoke when Painting – A Guide

Whether you’re trying to get a home ready to sell, bought a home and looking to repaint, or whatever your reason, you may wonder how to seal in cigarette smoke. After all cigarette smoke can over time cause your wall to be yellow and can also embed in the walls causing your home to smell like smoke. While there are a variety of steps you have to take to help deodorize your home, properly painting the walls will lock in smoke as well as resolve discoloration issues, assuming you choose the right product to seal in the impact of the smoke prior to painting. In this guide will cover product options to seal in smoke when painting so you can be sure to have a freshly painted wall that is not discolored.

Product Options to Seal in Smoke and Nicotine When Painting

There are really three categories of products that can be effective at locking in the odor and discoloration that nicotine creates, one is shellac, the other is oil based primers, and finally you have some newer water based products.

Option 1 – Shellac Primers

Shellac primers include products like B-I-N by Zinser which is by far one of the best products for sealing in nicotine discoloration and odor prior to painting with a top coat. Some painters suggest that a product like B-I-N is more effective at blocking out the odor from smoking compared to alternative options like oil based primers. It is also a very affordable primer available about anywhere which makes it a great option, sometimes you may need multiple coats depending on the extent of nicotine on your walls.

Option 2 – Oil Based Primers

Oil based primers include products like Zinser cover stain which also can lock in discoloration of the surface, compared to shellac oil based primers can tend to be a bit heavier scent and require good ventilation and respirator use when painting. Additionally, it is generally thought shellac primers work more effectively when it comes to odor blocking.

Option 3 – Water Based Primers

While in general standard water based primers will not be sufficient enough to lock in nicotine in your walls prior to painting, there are a few new products available that are water based and are meant to lock in nicotine discoloration and odor when painting. One product being Ultra Recon Smoke and Odor Sealer.

Other important steps to seal in smoke and Nicotine

While sealing in the nicotine will help, you also have a few other pertinent steps prior to applying primer, like properly cleaning the walls to remove heavy soil prior. There are two steps that can help prepare the wall prior to applying primer, using a dry cleaning sponge and using a cleaner to remove build up like TSP. Dry cleaning sponges are designed to remove soot and build up on walls making them well suited to remove a heavy build up of nicotine and smoke from your walls. After a dry cleaning sponge next it is ideal to use a wash like TSP which will further clean the surface. After all cleaning you can use one of the primers we have discussed, ideally rolling the primer to promote maximum adhesion.

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