I thought this would be as far away from having my head glued to my computer's LCD panel as possible...
My wife and I closed on a house on Friday. The prior owner of the home smoked pipes and a couple of the rooms have stains on the walls from the smoke (you can tell where the pictures were hung). I'm trying to find something to get the stains off of the wall before having to resort to painting them.
Any tips/hints/sage advice?
The smoke is on more places than just the walls. The stains may be there, but hte smelly smoke residue is on nearly every surface in the home, in the vent ducts, on the window glass, on the ceilings, and it may well have settled into the insulation of the attic. It's *everywhere*, trust me. I've done quite a few jobs in smoky homes (I work on chimneys and masonry) and also on house fire repairs. You might get the smell down and someof the stains off with cleaning products, but the pros just get several gallons of Kilz and spray every exposed surface. Quick Googling took me to this page, which I agree with for the most part. You can go to most hardware suppliers, or even Wal-Mart and get Kilz tinted, just like any other paint. You can also get a product called Kilz Upshot that is designed to spray on ceilings, if you have some very troublesome spots up there.
Our house had similar problems with the previous owner smoking cigarettes. Jon is right, the smell really is everywhere. Three years later, we're still dealing with some of the problems. If you ever do want to paint, you're going to have to put on a heavy layer of primer (Kilz is the best, definitely) no matter what the underlying color of the wall is because the smoke residue seeps through new paint. So you may as well just bite the bullet and go after the good stuff right away. And get rid of any carpets that you "inherited."
The mess smoking makes is one reason that advertising a home as being lived in by a non-smoker can actually make a significant difference in the amount of real estate buyer interest generated.
A cleaner called Awesome states that it works on Nicotine stains. It actually worked very well, doing what Formula 409 wouldn't.
Price: $1/bottle at Dollar Tree.
Only a few more rooms to paint, then the moving begins!