Cigarette Smoke Removal

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  #1  
Old 08-01-19, 02:53 PM
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Cigarette Smoke Removal

My children and I have just spent 8 weeks and over $30k to get their late mother's house ready for sale. She was a heavy smoker. The walls and ceilings were professionally cleaned, sealed and painted. The carpet replaced and the sub floors also sealed. Every hard surface has been washed. Ducts were cleaned. We ran ozone generators for two days when work was complete, about a month ago and the odors seemed gone. However, now that it has been closed for that time with A/C running the smoke smell has gradually returned.

Any suggestions on proceeding would be appreciated.
 
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Old 08-01-19, 03:34 PM
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My first thought is that the "professional" cleaning and painting might not have been thorough enough. Do you know what sealer and paint was used? I find that you must use an oil based stain blocking primer like Zinsser Cover Stain. It must be oil based as water based just doesn't work.

Ozone works well but I find it takes a high concentration. I don't think running one or two generators is good enough for a whole house. I have a pretty large generator and seal off one room and set it to run for 4-6 hours. Then come back a day later and move on to the next room.
 
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Old 08-01-19, 04:50 PM
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If you've ever had a fire in a house you understand why there are restoration companies, as dealing with soot and smoke odor is very difficult. You say sealed, painted, cleaned, ... but no specification as to how. As Dane said, oil based primer if not shellac on the walls and ceilings would have been a minimum. I would also re-do the ozone treatment with the HVAC system in use to make sure it the O3 got through it as well.
 
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Old 08-02-19, 02:18 AM
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Assuming the walls/ceiling were sealed correctly [solvent based primer, latex primers aren't adequate] it's possible the odor is returning because of the HVAC system.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 12:46 PM
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Fogger

Don't know anything about it, but children hired ServPro to do a "fogger" treatment. Today, smell seems gone again, but history says we need to wait few days. "Ground Zero" is the master suit toilet (closet sized room). I wondered about running my small ozone generator in that 24 sq ft room for a day. Can too much ozone cause any harm?

I am also wondering if all of the above fails to replace drywall just in the toilet room.
 
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Old 08-03-19, 02:37 PM
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If I have a tough room I nuke it with ozone. Put the machine in there and set the timer for 4-6 hours, close the door and come back a day later. You've got nothing to loose.

If that doesn't work I'd consider painting the room with a oil based (very important) stain blocking primer. Then top coat with the latex of your choice. I wouldn't go to the extreme of replacing the sheetrock.
 
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Old 08-13-19, 12:07 PM
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Update

I finally found the sealer product we used; Enviro Shield Odor and Smoke Blocker. It is water based and that may have been the error. To their credit the painter recommended shellac, but my daughter intervened, thinking this was a safer, more enviro product. I am an old timer and would have gone with shellac. I have not been back since the fogger treatment 10 days ago, so don't know if that treatment was lasting.
 
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Old 08-15-19, 08:15 PM
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Yeah, I think you have this one figured out. Latex products have improved significantly in some areas but they still don't seal like oil or shellac.
 
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Old 08-16-19, 12:08 PM
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Smell Remains

Our next step is to reseal and repaint the master suite rooms which were decidedly the worst. Besides, these have 10 ceilings, so it can be DIY. We will roll it. Are there any preferences between shellac or solvent based KILZ? What are opinions on how much appliances can retain smoke? We have the old dishwasher, refer, and laundry pair. These are 13 yr old appliances and don't add much to the house market value.
 
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Old 08-16-19, 02:01 PM
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Pigmented shellac is the ultimate stain/odor sealer but oil base Kilz is often adequate.
Hard surfaces like the exterior of the appliances won't have the smoke odor sink in and can be washed, it's the areas that you can't readily clean that might pose a problem.
 
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Old 08-16-19, 03:44 PM
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Thanks

If you think pigmented shellac is the best, I'll go with that. This has proven to be very arduous and expensive. I'm no pro painter, but have done a lot in my life. I haven't worked with shellac since the 80's and have some vague memories of it being somehow a little spooky to work with. Any tips? It is an alcohol based product I think.
 
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Old 08-17-19, 12:05 AM
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BIN is stinky stuff but with a little ventilation, it doesn't last all that long.
 
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Old 08-17-19, 02:30 AM
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For it to be effective you need to apply a full fluid coat - no dry rolling. If you think the fumes will bother you while applying the pigmented shellac you could wear a respirator.
 
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Old 08-17-19, 07:17 AM
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Thanks Mark and Stick

I speak the language. Full contiguous wet coat with no roller tails. This time of year easy to open all windows for ventilation. Be generous cutting in corners and base. It's had being 74, but this forum makes it easier.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 04:20 PM
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I don't speak the language. What are roller tails?
 
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Old 08-19-19, 02:54 AM
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Roller trails are 'ridges' left by the roller from not rolling the paint out smooth. Doesn't affect the primer's ability to seal stain/odor but can be unsightly. Minor roller trails can be fixed by sanding and another coat of paint but extreme trails need a light coat of mud to smooth it out.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 05:52 AM
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trails not tails. ok I didn't know they had a name. I just called them beads. A sign of an amateur.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 06:39 AM
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They are also often called roller marks. .... don't think I've ever heard them called beads
 
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