Terrible Smell From Rotten Subfloor?

Old 08-24-04, 10:59 PM
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Unhappy Terrible Smell From Rotten Subfloor?

I have cleaned my home from top to bottom and had both bathroom floors replaced, yet there is a horrible odor in my home and I'm beginning to worry that the subfloor below my hardwood flooring is rotten. I have a crawlspace and live in Georgia so it is pretty hot and humid here. The smell is getting worse. How can I find out if my suspicions are correct?
Old 08-27-04, 09:33 AM
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I assume you've checked in the crawl space under the house for any dead animals? A friend of mine had the same problem in an army barracks, and it turned out to be a decomposing cat in the crawl space under the barracks.

When I was a kid, a gang of cats got under our house and left unburied droppings, so that caused a bit of a stench for a short time. My first guess would be a dead animal, especially since you say the stench is becoming worse. Even a mouse or a bird can give off a pretty decent stink as it decomposes. My second guess would be a burst sewer line running under the house (or a septic tank backing up), but I think you'd have other indications than just the odor, like wet ground around the line.
Old 08-29-04, 05:47 PM
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What kind of smell is it (pee, poo, perfume or dead animal)? If cats or dogs have lived in the house you may be in for a lot of work. I've never found anything to be totally effective in getting rid of some smells, and yes it can be coming from the sub-floor.

First, crawl under your house. Do you have the smell underneath. I know it sounds bad, but hopefully you will find a dead animal. If so, you are lucky. Get rid of the animal and air out your crawlspace. Dead animals can also be in the attic or in the walls.

As long as you are under the house... is the dirt floor of the crawlspace covered with plastic? If not it might help to cover the dirt/floor/ground with plastic. This will reduce the moisture underneath the floor. This moisture may be causing or "activating" the smell in your floor.

I've had limited success getting rid of a smell when I get down to the subfloor (remove the carpeting). You can repeatedly soak the subfloor with a dissinfectant (Clorox, or a mildew/dissinfectant). Dry the floor thoroughly and keep it bone dry forever. The slightest moisture or high humidity can get the smell going again. You can also rent a ozone generator. It's a box you plug in to an electical outlet and it makes ozone (it's three oxygen molecules). The ozone works similar to chlorine and it sterilizes and oxidizes all sorts of things. It can work into the walls, carpet, furniture and nooks-n-crannies. Follow the directions with the ozone generator. In high concentrations it's not good to breathe. It will not kill you, but it might aggrivate asthma. Ozone is surprisingly usefull sometimes, and it's nice since you don't have to wait for it to dry or clean up after it.

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