Looking a house .... with strong smoke odor

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We are looking for a new house. In the last few days we found a real nice log home that fits our needs almost perfectly with the one exception of a fairly strong smoking smell. I thought that if we make an offer, it would be accompanied by a complete list of "cleaning", such as all carpets extraction or steam cleaned, all walls, ceilings and floors, all doors and woodwork. And all fabric cleaned. My question is, are we kidding ourselves? Can the smell be eliminated? Any ideas if this can be accomplished successfully? BTW, several walls are wood (the inside of the logs). Also, how about the insides of the HVAC ducts and system? Any personal experience with this? Thanks.
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Probably should as another poster said, get the house evaluated by a professional cleaning service (the post-fire kind of folks, not the "Stanley Steemer" drive-by guys") and get their opinion/cost.
Unless the market is really weak and the offer is otherwise enticing, I'd guess the seller will, at best, counter-offer a little off the price rather than bite the bullet. Depends on how badly they want the deal of course.
What experience I have is that if it is really strong from a long-time heavy smoker that carpets can be essentially impossible to fully eradicate. Carpet in particular is problematical in that it can also permeate the pad. Drapes can, at least in theory, be taken out and professionally cleaned, but many are unable to withstand the treatment either from the type of fabric/lining or age.
The wood shouldn't be too bad assuming it has been finished -- if it was bare wood there's a possibility of some residual but probably not a real bad problem. Ducts aren't too bad as they don't have the porosity and will eventually clear w/ new filters and a freshening.
But, the cost could get pretty high so I'd not go in w/o an estimate from a reputable firm. Truthfully, I'd think asking for a new carpet allowance might be more palatable and certainly more certain of success.
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Yes - new carpets and draperies are necessary (although are draperies not usually understood as part of the price the way carpets are?). You should be able to get an allowance for the carpets. Cleaning won't do; you'll want your own eventually anyway, right? Who wants to live too long with some other people's decor. This give you a reason to have the new carpeting allowed for.
Cleaning of the heating ductwork, too, would be good and there should be an estimate and an allowance made. I know that's done around here for forced air heating systems.
Unless this place is totally smoked up (is there a film on the windows?) and/or you're very sensitive, these measures plus wiping down the walls should do the trick. I think some of the responses here are a little over the edge.
As with many things, it depends on the particulars. How bad it is, how sensitive you are about this (not saying that's a bad thing if you are!), how much you like the house and how it suits your needs otherwise, what the market is, how cooperative the sellers might be to turn this to your advantage.
Cheers, Banty
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Yes.
No.
Depends on how sensitive you are to the odor, and how objectionable you find it, but generally -- it can't.

The smell will never come out.

Oddly, I didn't find that to be a problem.

My first house had been owned by a smoker, and sat vacant for 18 months before I moved in. I removed all the carpets and drapes, washed and painted all the walls, and replaced the bathroom and kitchen cabinets before I could no longer notice the odor.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Art Todesco wrote:

Depends how much the smokers trashed the place. Call a company that specializes in fire damage restoration and get their opinion.
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Art Todesco wrote:

Yes, had some experience and am very sensitive to smoke.
Every wall/ceiling surface will need to be cleaned and then sealed with something like Kilz. That probably applies to the logs too, though I'm no expert on their care. If you simply paint over the previously cleaned surface the smoke resins will bleed right thru.
Duct work will require extensive cleaning, not simply vacuuming.
It can be made liveable. The decision will hinge on how much you want the house.
Jim
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X-No-Archive: yes
<SNIP>

Yes:
http://medallionhealthyhomes.com/index.htm
I learned about this process when our local by-laws changed to prohibit smoking in all public places. A local Sports Pub that I frequent had been smoked in HEAVILY for 20+ years and absolutely stank of rotten stale tobacco smoke. It was actually so bad (and I'm a smoker) that it was virtually unbearable when first entering in the mornings (helped out in the kitchen part time). Upon closing on non- smoking eve, Medallion came in and performed a 5 hour 'shock' Ozone treatment. The only items removed for cleaning were the curtains. after the treatment, they steam cleaned the carpets and wiped down the furniture. When I entered the pub at 11am the next morning, there was absolutely no perceptable odor of someone having smoked inside that building. The medallion rep. happened to be a regular customer whom I had the oportunity to meet after the fact. He explained the process to me in detail which only cost me a pint. He took me out to his car which he had purchased from a pipe smoker. I know that pipe tobacco smoke is something that you'd never get rid of, I couldn't believe my nose... Again, not a trace of odor.
I stand to gain nothing from referring you to this company but if you truly love this cabin and the only negative issue is the tobacco smoke, it may be worth a consult from Medallion. They seem to have pretty good coverage in North America.
Good luck with your dream home,
Gary
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No offense intended... but that pretty much excludes you from the universe of people who are qualified to judge whether the level of odor remaining would be offensive to someone who has never smoked. You truly have NO IDEA how much that stuff stinks.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I am not a smoker but find it completely offensive the way some people bitch, whine, & complain at any little sense of tobacco in the air, like they just ate rat poison or something!
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Some people are bothered by it more than others. Apparently, you don't mind it too much, or you have a diminished sense of smell. I'm curious what you might have thought you read in my post that was bitching or whining, though.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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didn't mean to aim that at you Doug, just a general observation at people that fly off the handle on the subject. you know the type.. want to save the world but drive a 7 mpg SUV
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I didn't see anyone "flying off the handle" in this thread. Not before your post, anyway.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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longshot wrote:

don't go to bars because of smokers. I find little pleasure in having tearing red eyes and stinky clothes.
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I suspect you ARE a smoker and a liar.

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things wrong with the world we live in.
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toss carpets they arent worth the effort.... could remove and send out to a carpet bath cleaner but they will shrink and never look right.
empty completely scrub thooughly, all walls surfaces etc. logs will be tough.
coat EVERYTHING will kilz floors with OUTDOOR polyurethane
outdoor so moisture doesnt bring the odor back.
this will work and is what the fire estoration people do
they are expensive 10 grand or small home
works for all odors, smoke, fire, urine, dogs, cats etc etc.
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My experience with this topic of accumulated tobacco odor goes back a number of years. A real estate agent was showing me a potential home. When she opened the front door, we were hit by an almost unimaginable tobacco stench. From the door I could see an ash tray the diameter of a 50 gallon garbage can cover. There must have been a couple of cartons worth of butts in it. I told her to forget that one, and on to the next. The question to ask yourself is, is the cleanup worth less than finding another situation, and whether or not the clean up will be sucessful. Caveat Emptor. Joe G
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wrote:

One of my in-laws bought a home that had a heavy smoker. It came with all appliances. The smoke smell was so heavy, when she opened the refrigerator she could see traces of nicotine in the frost of the freezer. I can only imagine the coils, etc. were caked with nicotine.
-- Oren
"The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!"
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Art Todesco wrote:

Get an estimate from your local fire recovery people. Find out what they suggest you are going to need to do and what they cost is going to be. Then add in an amount for the possibility it may not work to your satisfaction and for your accepting the extra work and risk and deduct that from what you might have paid without the problem.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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