painting room causes unpleasant smell

Old 10-06-03, 08:09 PM
simon kenton
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painting room causes unpleasant smell

We have a house built in 1949. A few weeks ago we painted the bedroom with Benjamin Moore latex. At first it smelled like normal latex paint. In 5 or 6 days, an unpleasant acrid smell developed. It smells kind of like cat urine, but there is no cat in the house. We checked the crawl space, there is no smell of cat urine down there.
We used Nature's Miracle, an enzyme based spray from the pet store that is supposed to neutralize cat urine. No good. We tried Citrus Magic. No good. I repainted the room with Sherwin Williams paint. It seemed to have cured it, for the first few days. In 5 or 6 days, the same smell is back.
Old 10-07-03, 06:04 AM
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Stop painting and wait a little longer. Latex paint takes at least a week to completely dry/harden. The solvent that keeps the latex in solution is ammonia. It is stronger and first and you may not have recognized it untill the level went down. Air the room out while the paint dryiesa longer and see if the smell is gone. The ammonia can get into everything if the room is sealed tight and take longer to dissipate.
Old 10-08-03, 04:52 AM
simon kenton
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We have had 4 rental houses, since 1990 we have messed with these rentals. We have done a considerable amount of painting. Every 3 or 4 months we paint another room in one of these houses. So, over the years we have painted 40 or 50 different rooms. We always have used Benjamin Moore paint.
We are used to the smells that latex paint gives off. Maybe I am warped, but I like the smell of latex paint. I like it when it is fresh and I like the smell as it cures.
I don't like the smell of cat wee-wee. That is what this paint smells like. And it is the paint, there has been no cat in the house and no cat in the crawl space. I can put my nose to the wall, 6 feet off the ground and faintly get the smell.
The smell appeared on the 5th or 6th day, when you thought the paint smell would be disappearing. We put a fan in the window to blow all the air out, and leave the fan all night. In the morning the room smells fine. Then, turn off the fan and shut the room up, and in one hour the smell is back.
When you are trying to rent a house and a prospective tenant smells cat urine, they are going to walk. You tell them, It isn't cat urine, it is just paint drying. They still walk, only now they think you are a damn liar as well as a sorry landlord.
Old 10-08-03, 07:57 AM
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Crank the heat up to the high 70s for a day or two.
I usually have one night to get a rental house repainted. I always work with the windows open, summer or winter. Bengamin Moore is good paint and I have never had a complaint.
Old 10-08-03, 12:52 PM
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I use Benny Moore almost exclusively and have never had this problem. I onced smelled something similar on the exterior foundation we were painting, but I assumed it was a stray dog's favorite corner. I wish I could help you on this. I am baffled and intrigued.
Old 10-08-03, 04:14 PM
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Wow, this is certainly an odd one. I do not think that it is the paint that is causing this smell. My guess is something got into the house or the walls and did its "duty". I see that you live in N.C. and I am sure it is relatively warm and humid. Warmth and especially humidity brings a lot of strong odors to the forefront that you may have never noticed before. We have a 50 year old oriental rug that we "inherited" that was peed on by a dog or 2 probably about 40 years ago. It was cleaned countless times. Even now when it is humid out our den smells like dog pee. My guess would be that something (maybe mice, rats, squirrels etc...) got into the walls of the house and went to town. It may be a freek coincidence that the smells accompany the paint drying. Strange things happen. Check around the exterior of the home and even the attic to see if there is any evidence of a small animal infestation anywhere. Or maybe even call a pest control place. Often times they will give a free inspection. Hope this helped a little. Best of luck to you.
Old 10-08-03, 04:40 PM
simon kenton
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I am in NC but this house is in Atlanta. Same deal though, high humidity.
There is a prominent talk show host in Atlanta named Neal Boortz. Neal just built a new house and he was complaining on the air a few weeks ago about a couple of rooms in which the paint had a bad smell. He sprayed Citrus Magic and cleared it up.
His house is within 5 miles of this rental, and his house is a million dollar palace. He didn't get his paint from K Mart, rest assured. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if his paint came from the same Benjamin Moore store where we shop.
We are going to go into the attic and give the sniff test, that is a good guess. Lots of squirrels around.

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