Share to:

How to Paint After a Fire

Painting materials

A residential or commercial fire is not anything anyone hopes for. Next to emotional damage, you end up with all kinds of smoke damage, not excluding soot, odors and those notoriously hard to remove stains on your wall. So, you might be thinking, why not just paint over it and get it done with? Well, you can. But it is impossible to paint over these stains without the odors and stains seeping through. Your best bet would be to start by removing the stains and then proceed with the paint job. In this article, we shall show you exactly how you can deal with the aftermath of a fire and perhaps even restore your walls to their original glory.

Always Start by Dry Cleaning

A dry cleaning sponge is hands down one of the best tools you can have in any wall cleaning process. And it’s even handier after a fire. You see, they are made using natural vulcanized rubber which is able to pick up and absorb soot residue into its pores. The best part is, it does all this without smearing it. Remember that soot is easy to smear due to its oily nature. By using a standard sponge, you risk pushing the soot deeper into the wall and producing a permanent stain. And you don’t want that. Dry cleaning sponges may be found everywhere from construction supply stores and hardware stores, to cleaning supply and online stores.

When you’re ready to begin, simply follow these steps:

  • Start by spreading out plastic sheeting over the floors and furnishings in the room where you’ll be working. The aim is to prevent damage from falling soot.
  • Wear old clothes, gloves, and eye protection because this can be a messy job.
  • Begin at the top (ceiling) and work your way to the bottom.
  • Use straight, parallel strokes with the dry sponges that overlap slightly when wiping. Do not scour the surface with the sponges.
  • After each pass, inspect the sponge. Remove the surface layer with a razor blade.
  • If you’re cleaning up a larger area, keep extra sponges on hand so you can complete the job.

Do a Wet Cleaning

If the discoloration or soot on the surface persists after you’ve used the dry cleaning sponges, you’ll need to do a second wet-cleaning procedure. Now, not just any home cleaner will suffice for wet cleaning. If possible, go for Trisodium phosphate (TSP). TSP has been tried, tested and proven to be the most effective solution for heavy-duty cleaning. It is usually sold as a powder that you mix with warm water in specifically prescribed ratios. When dealing with TSP, make sure you have your protective gear on.

Prime the Wall Before Painting

By following the steps above, you should be able to get rid of a majority of the surface material. However, if it was the smoke was too much, it is likely that you’d still have a bit of staining and odor. Naturally, you might be thinking of covering it up with paint, but as we mentioned earlier, the stains might bleed through the paint. For this, you want to go for a stain-blocking primer and then add a pigmented shellac primer to get rid of the odors completely. The main disadvantage of pigmented shellac primers is that they tend to be messy to work with due to their thin nature. However, they are extremely effective in preventing the smoke stains from seeping through.

Finally, Apply Your Paint

Finally, after thoroughly cleaning and blocking the stain, you are free to apply your paint. For best results, make sure you follow all the standard interior house painting procedures. This includes doing all the necessary prep work or patching.


As you’ve seen, it is entirely possible to recover after a fire and get a satisfactory paint job on. By following the steps above, you should be good to go. If it all seems like too much and you need a more professional hand, Painter Bros is here for you. We have the skill and ample experience dealing with these kinds of issues. Thanks to our vast set of equipment, we can get the job done in no time. Call us today (844) 509-2313 to get your free estimate.


Let’s Get Started

  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • *Indicates Required Field
Step 1 of 2
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your zip/postal code.
  • *Indicates Required Field
Step 2 of 2