nicotine-stained wall


We just purchased a home from a smoker and have been cleaning it up. We have scrubbed it down, replaced the carpets, cleaned the ductwork and repainted every square inch of the home and, thankfully, the odor is gone. Unfortunately, we are now getting some discoloring in the paint finish. Is this from nicotine? And what can we do to stop this from bleeding through?


You are correct that the discoloration is from the nicotine bleeding through your fresh coats of paint. We suggest you prime all the affected surfaces with a product called KILZ. It is an oil-based primer that is designed to keep previous layers (be it nicotine, darker paint, or pen and marker doodling) from showing through a new layer of paint. It is a classic and trusted stain blocker.

Do not use the latex version of KILZ; we consistently get the best results from the original, oil-based formula. And it is absolutely fine to use a latex paint over the oil-based KILZ.

After applying two coats of this stain blocker, repaint as you normally would. If you are only experiencing this issue in a few places I would suggest concentrating only on those walls to avoid the expense of repainting the whole house.

If you have more questions or would like help painting your home, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact us here. And for answers to other frequently asked home improvement questions, visit our Home Improvement Library.