Can You Paint Over Fire-Damaged Walls?

Friday 10th March 2023

Ellen Warren

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Wallpaper damaged by fire CONTENTS


Following a fire, you might be tempted to get things back to normal by covering up unsightly fire damage with a lick of paint. But before you even consider redecorating, you must bring in professional fire damage cleaners.

At ICE Cleaning, we are a fire damage cleaning company with rapid-response technicians accredited by BICSc and IOSH. We can be on-site within a matter of hours in an emergency if your property has been affected by a fire, and we may additionally offer smoke odour removal.

Read on to find out if you can paint over fire-damaged walls.

How do fires start in homes?

House fires often occur due to carelessness or factors that are out of your control, mostly because of common household items or appliances we use in our everyday life. These include:

  • Cooking equipment
  • Heating appliances
  • Unattended cigarettes
  • Faulty electrics
  • Candles

How to prevent a fire from starting

We recommend that you have a Gas Safety engineer test your gas appliances and your electrics PAT tested to minimise the risk of fires. You should follow the steps below to help you identify any hazards that may be present around your property:

  • Unplug or switch off outlets you are not using 
  • Use extensions with surge protection
  • Keep flammable items away from heat sources
  • Never leave your cooking unattended
  • Smoke cigarettes outside and extinguish them in water or sand
  • Keep your home tidy
  • Remove dryer lint and change filters
  • Turn off heaters when you finish using them
  • Never leave open fires unattended
  • Address faulty electrical items immediately

What to do if a fire starts

The best way you can act quickly in the event of a fire is by having a fire detector fitted into areas of your home and testing them regularly. To prevent a house fire, you should be proactive in your efforts and continue to remain vigilant.

Create an evacuation plan to prepare for a fire and ensure all bedrooms have a means of escape. Any children living in your home should be made aware of these plans and know what to do when they see or smell a fire.

You should always leave behind any belongings to keep yourself safe, and ensure you have helped pets and children evacuate the property. Either yourself or a neighbour should then call emergency services, and remain away from the flames at all times.

How fire damages the home

When a fire breaks out on your property, there are three types of damage that can affect your home:

  • Heat damage: caused by the flames that burn and char structures.

  • Smoke damage: the smoke left behind becomes black soot that damages and stains all surfaces.

  • Water damage: extinguishing solutions firefighters use cause water damage and stains that encourage mould growth.

You should not remain in a fire-damaged home and instead find temporary housing due to the hazards present. If you remain in a fire-damaged home, you will continue to breathe the fine particles created by the smoke.

A house fire will also produce chemicals that can release asbestos or lead into the air. All these particles are invisible, and either touching, breathing, or ingesting them could lead to long-term health difficulties such as:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer

Can you paint over fire-damaged walls?

When a house fire has stained and damaged your walls, you might assume that a few coats of paint will trap the smell and particles, and cover up the unsightly damage. However, paint is a porous substance, so the odour from smoke could still emerge later.

You might also risk damaging your walls if you use abrasive products, and the soot could mix with the paint when you apply it. When your walls suffer from water damage due to extinguishing solutions, painting over the stains may cause them to bubble or peel, too.

Instead, your home needs to be thoroughly ventilated, repaired, and cleaned of any smoke damage before redecorating.

What to do if your walls are damaged

Do not try to clean the smoke and fire damage by yourself, as the structure of your home will be severely weakened, and the remaining smoke particles can be harmful to you. In the meantime, you can follow these steps to begin the process of restoring your home:

  • Contact your insurance company to report the incident
  • Do not try to turn on gas, water, or electricity – leave them off
  • Ventilate the property
  • Dispose of affected food and water
  • Clear storage areas like cupboards or closets
  • Dispose of any affected clothing and furniture
  • Find temporary accommodation
  • Call a fire damage cleaning company

Get in touch

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer fire restoration and fire smoke odour removal solutions. Our qualified technicians use air blasting, steam cleaning, and air scrubbing technology to restore your home.

We operate round the clock, 365 days a year and work closely with local authorities to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the process. Call us at 0208 066 0360 or email us at for a free, no-obligation quote today.

Sydney Bowell

Sydney Bowell

Operations Assistant

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