Resene Paints - home page

surface preparation - smoke damaged surfaces

Architect's memo 24: July 1981


The chemical composition of smoke is dependent on the composition of the material that is being burnt. As well as containing particulate carbon, smoke can contain a wide range of staining substances both solvent and water-soluble. It must always be assumed that both types of substances are present in any smoke-damaged area.


Over the years, experience has shown that the most effective cleaning is achieved by the use of Resene Emulsifiable Solvent Cleaner. This is scrubbed on to affected areas where it will dissolve up most of the solvent-soluble stains. The affected areas are then washed with water, which emulsifies the stain-laden solvent and dissolves the majority of water-soluble stains.

Surface preparation

Damaged surfaces, such as flaking paint, spalled plaster, should be repaired as normal.

Selection of paint system

Not withstanding the above washing procedure, remnants of stains will be left on the surface. A solventborne paint applied will block off the water-soluble stains but transmit solvent-soluble stains; a waterborne paint works vice versa. Combination of the two types of paints in the one system is effective at blocking off both types of stain. Therefore, if a solventborne finish is required such as Resene Super Gloss Enamel, use a waterborne undercoat as first coat , such as Resene Quick Dry Acrylic Undercoat. Where a waterborne finish is required such as Resene Sonyx 101, use a solventborne undercoat first. Resene Aluminium Wood Primer is particularly effective.

Download as a pdf. (You will need Acrobat Reader).

‹ Previous
# 23 - surface preparation
interior wall linings
Next ›
# 25 - fire and the paint industry
flammability testing and ratings of paint

Architects memos
The Resene architect's memo section provides technical information on a variety of topics relating to paints, finishes and coatings.

View memos


Get inspired!  Sign up for our e-newsletter  |  Get saving!  Save with a Resene DIY Card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

View Videos

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.