Cat Urine in Garage Conversion


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Old 04-23-07, 07:48 PM
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Talking Cat Urine in Garage Conversion

I've read every post on this issue but mine is a bit unique. The affected area is actually the old garage that was finished. This means that there is the concrete from the original garage and then wood subfloor on top. We bought the house in the summer last June and never smelled it during showings or our walkthrough (though the people were heavy smokers and always were cooking something stinky when we visited, the scum). We smelled it the first day we moved in, almost a BO smell but not an obvious cat urine smell. They had a cat, though, and we immediately had the carpet replaced. Here are three pictures.

http://us.share.geocities.com/mitchellcarey/IMGP1364.JPG
http://us.share.geocities.com/mitchellcarey/IMGP1365.JPG
http://us.share.geocities.com/mitchellcarey/IMGP1366.JPG

One of the stains in the carpet and the other two of where I added killz thinking that a light coat would be enough. Any visible evidence there of where the affected areas are or obvious places where the urine was? I did not find any obvious stains and put my nose to each possible affected area without smelling a thing. My dilemna is should we pull up the new carpet and just coat the subfloor in KILLZ or pull up the carpet and the subfloor, coat the concrete sub-subfloor, then add new wood subfloor, then put the carpet back down. Keep in mind we have a baby coming in June so we have very little time to do anything major. We will be hiring someone to do this, though. More than likely will multiple coats of KILLZ do the trick and seal in the affected wood AND concrete?

Thanks for listening and your feedback is appreciated.
 
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Old 04-23-07, 08:14 PM
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Was there a vapor retarder installed over concrete before plywood subfloor was installed. Moisture emissions from concrete could be causing odor.

Only the first photo link worked. Urine odor is more noticeable when humidity levels are higher. If those are urine stains on carpet, carpet is likely a source of odor. If urine stains penetrated carpet and into cushion, cushion will harbor urine odor. If urine penetrated into plywood, plywood can harbor odor. If there is a problem beneath the plywood, there can be odor there. To get to the bottom of it would require removing plywood. Concrete can be sealed with a couple coats of penetrating sealer for concrete. A moisture test should be done. If moisture is not an issue, new cushion and carpet can be installed over the concrete. Most garage concrete floors, however, are not poured over a vapor retarder beneath the concrete. Thus, vapor emissions through concrete are highly likely.

Vapor retarder over concrete tends not to be recommended under carpet. Vapor emissions get trapped beneath plastic where it becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends 100 percent synthetic materials such as urethane or polypropylene for the pad and nylon or polypropylene for the carpet. Dampness can move through these materials from the slab into the air, but synthetic fibers and backing will not support mold and mildew. You can keep an eye on humidity levels with a hygrometer (sold where they sell thermometers). Humidity should be maintained between 35-55% year round. A dehumidifier will decrease humidity. Fans will improve air circulation.
 
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Old 04-23-07, 10:43 PM
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If the people before you abused it as bad as you say. The best suggestion i could make is to just pull the carpet and pad and junk it. Clean and seal subfloors. Wood floor may also have to be pulled and same thing done to concrete. Any topical treatments, will not remove odor and you may still smell it from time to time. I would also check the bottom foot or so of any drywall in the areas. Also, junk the tack strips and any effected baseboard. Trust me when i say you will spend more money trying to treat the areas vs replacing. If it was a small area than cleaning may work, but being it was abused i would say its done for.
 
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Old 04-24-07, 06:45 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately we did replace the carpet and pad and the smell is still very strong. We replaced it in the winter, though, so it never smelled. The smell is almost like a rotting animal at times, kind of the like the smell outside when you pass roadkill on a hot day. Does that sound like cat urine? I was thinking we could pull up the new carpet, put on 3 coats of KILLZ, then put the carpet back down. As you can tell we are grasping at straws and are very dissapointed that we might have to pull up the new carpet (we thought we were done with that room). If we have to pull up the carpet and replace the subfloor can you recommend any one company type that can do all those tasks? I'm guessing we can pull up the carpet (we don't want to damage it, though) and then let a flooring expert replace the subfloor. I live in the Indianapolis area so any recommendations is appreciated.
 
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Old 04-24-07, 07:15 PM
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Plywood over concrete may be the problem. Moisture trapped beneath plywood or vapor retarder, if one was installed, can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew. As indicated, you will not get to the bottom of the odor issue until you get to the bottom of the layers on top the concrete. Concrete in garages usually have no vapor retarder beneath the concrete. Vapor emissions pass on through to the surface, where it can become trapped and cause mold and mildew and associated odor problems.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 01:37 PM
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Thanks for the reply. It sounds like I will have to call around to get someone to pull up the carpet and help us assess the damage.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 10:16 AM
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I have 3 cats, all females and before I got the one fixed she would urinate in the strangest places. hard to get to places. I eventually found out that a solution of bleach(50/50 water to clorox) will completely neutralize cat pee odor. I usally dispense it into a spray bottle and soak it into affected area well. It's the only thing I found that truly works 100% of the time. Unfortunataly you can't squirt it on colored fabrics and such and when it comes to concrete it may take a few applications.
Be prepared to vacate the premises for a short while as the chlorine gas that is liberated during the neutralization process will choke a horse. But that's a good sign that it's working. It's kind of a radical procedure so please be careful. But it' always worked for me.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 02:22 PM
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Proceed with caution. Do not clean up urine with chlorine bleach. Urine contains ammonia. Chlorine bleach and ammonia mixed together release a toxic fumes that could not only choke a horse but kill it. Toxic fumes are not an indication that the cleaning solution is working. Enzyme digester cleaners tend to be very effective on digesting organic odors. On some surfaces, it is best to seal the odors in.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 05:06 PM
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I don't mean to put anyone in danger. Just trying to offer some advice from what I've learned over the years of being a cat owner and encountering problems with cat urine odor that don't get solved using a less aggressive approach. I've used bleach many times and as long as you don't breathe the fumes and use oroper prcautions your OK. That's why I said leave the house. After all I'm still here.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 08:33 PM
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No problem, what tweleve pole is saying is a warning. Basicly it comes down to chemistry...ammonia has a high pH 11-12...bleach has a even higher pH when mixed they just go nuts to be blunt. Cat urine 90% of the time will still be in the material if its drywall or unsealed wood subflooring. So, even thou it sounds weird...sealing in odors is the only way vs replacement.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 10:14 PM
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Sorry for any misunderstanding It just seems to permeate everything and when the weather gets damp...there it is again.

Jim
 
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Old 04-29-07, 05:02 AM
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Urine odor is more noticeable on humid days. If absorbed into carpet and upholstery padding, there is no way to clean it. Hard surfaces can be cleaned. Porous hard surfaces can be sealed. There is no way to clean beneath upholstery fabric or carpet.
 
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Old 04-30-07, 02:08 PM
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Many replies on this post. In my experience if you use a good enzyme/odor digester then soak the area daily and cover with a damp rag for up to seven days.
I have not had a situation yet that this did not solve. Might want to give it a try before you spend all that $$ on carpet removal and on and on and on.

Good luck and take care
 
 

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