How to paint over water stains or smoke stains on a ceiling.

How to paint over water stains or smoke stains on a ceiling.

Once the water stain is dry (if it’s still wet come back when it’s dry), open up a tin of Zinsser B-I-N Primer and using a disposable brush apply the primer completely over coating the stain. Leave the B-I-N Primer to dry and then come back and see if the water stain has been blocked. For really bad stains it can take 2 or 3 applications of B-I-N Primer. B-I-N Primer is made with shellac and is alcohol based, this means that it will dry and cure within an hour or so leaving the perfect surface for emulsion.

Smoke stains.

Smoke stains on the ceiling can be caused by cigarette smoke or something catching fire. If you have had a fire or a live in chain smoker and would like a nice fresh new look to your ceiling and maybe walls then the first thing you need to do is clean. Using some sugar soap clean down the ceiling and walls as best you can. Once the area has been cleaned go back over it with clean water to neutralise the sugar soap.

The goal here is to remove as much of the smoky residue as possible, not all of it. Once the ceiling is nice and dry you can apply your primer. You have a couple of options here.

The first option is to use our old friend B-I-N Primer to completely paint the entire ceiling. It may take 2 coats of B-I-N. Once dry you can paint over with a water based emulsion for a lovely clean new ceiling.

Your second option is to use another product from Zinsser called Allcoat.


Zinsser Allcoat is a solvent based stain blocking primer and finish all in one. It’s not cheap but it is worth it. Once your ceiling has been cleaned you simply apply 2 coats of Zinsser Allcoat and that’s it, job done! It saves time and leaves a great finish, not only that but it is low odour too unlike the B-I-N primer.


Where can you buy Zinsser B-I-N Primer & Zinsser Allcoat? The best place to find these paints is at your local paint shop, if you are in Dublin then Stillorgan Decor will have everything that you need. Stillorgan Decor is a great one stop shop for everything to do with painting and decorating.

How to paint over water stains or smoke damaged ceiling  – conclusion.

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