LESLIE: Susan in Arkansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SUSAN: I have recently purchased a home and there are three areas in the home that seem to emit a cat-urine odor when it gets very …
TOM: Eww. Yuck.
TOM: Alright. So, is it on – is it carpet? What kind of flooring you got there?
SUSAN: Actually, I’m finding it in the garage, on concrete.
TOM: Oh, OK. OK.
SUSAN: And around the front door – which there’s a brick exterior and it’s a metal door. But then it also – have discovered that there’s an area in the bedroom. It seems to be under a window. So maybe on the drywall? The carpeting has been replaced.
SUSAN: The home – and when I purchased the home, the carpeting had been – all had been replaced.
TOM: Well, here’s the thing. Let’s take it one area at a time. If it’s the garage and you have a concrete floor there, that could have absorbed some of that unpleasant liquid. What I would suggest you do is take the opportunity to add a new epoxy garage-floor paint to that surface. Very easy to do. Comes in kits. Made by lots of different manufacturers. QUIKRETE makes it, Rust-Oleum makes it. And basically, you mix up the paint and the hardener and it takes about 45 minutes to apply it and then a couple of hours for it to dry and probably the next day, you’re moving the car back in.
SUSAN: Wonderful. That’d be a great idea.
TOM: So I would definitely put an epoxy paint down. That will seal in any type of odor that’s there.
Now, as far as that bedroom is concerned, my fear is that they pulled up the nasty carpet, put down new carpet but didn’t fix the problem underneath. But if there was dog or cat activity on that floor underneath, it should have been primed with an oil-based primer.
LESLIE: And it could be that the padding wasn’t replaced, as gross as that sounds. But I mean that’s a possibility; you never know that.
But Tom is right. If you have an odor issue associated with the carpet, when you pull up that carpet, that subfloor, whatever it is, does have to be painted with an oil-based primer just pretty much to seal in whatever is there.
Now, at this point, I hate to tell you you’ve got to go back down to that point and do it but that’s really probably going to be the only way. Because come cooler months, you’re not going to notice it as much but add moisture, high temps, humidity, you’re going to get that scent back again.
So, it’s possible that the same piece of carpeting can be reused but I would definitely look into making sure that that padding was replaced. If not, do it – and painting that subfloor.
TOM: I would think that the carpet could definitely be reused. You basically just have to pull it back up, pull the padding up. If the padding is not new, it should be replaced. And if it is new, just peel it back, prime that whole area of the floor and then put it back together. So you’ll need a carpet installer to help you with this, because it has to be tacked in properly. But you can absolutely do it without damaging the existing carpet, OK, Sue?
SUSAN: OK. Can I use just any oil base or do I need to use like a …?
TOM: I would use KILZ – K-I-L-Z – or B-I-N.
SUSAN: OK. Oh, OK.
TOM: As long as it’s oil-based, I think it will do a good job of sealing it out.
SUSAN: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: Sue, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
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