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Old 11-10-2011, 06:10 PM   #1
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


Hey all,

Brand new here and hoping some of you can help me out. Here is my situation. We have a basement apartment and our tenants of the past 4 years just moved out a few weeks ago. Upon inspecting the apartment afterward we discovered their 4 cats did a number on the apartment. Cat pee all over the place and the whole place smells like ammonia.

The hallway and kitchen area are the main area where the cats were peeing. So we ripped out the laminate flooring in the hallway and all the flooring in the kitchen (big kitched for an apt, about 20X13) revealing the bare concrete. What I've been doing is dousing the concrete floor with a mixture of peroxide, baking soda and dish soap which is a remedy many people swear by. At first it smelled worse but on my 4th treatment it seems to be getting a little better and I'm going to do 5 treatments and then maybe douse the floor with a bleach/water mix. However, from what I've read you will ultimately never fully get rid of it in concrete since it is so porous and need to seal the concrete.

We will also be ripping out the carpeting in the bedroom and living room and seeing how the floor there is but hopefully will just be some minor mold elimination needed in those areas as we can't really smell or see cat urine stains there.

Here are my questions:

1.) Which concrete sealent should I use that will block out the odors. I don't mind if I cant put tile on top of it because we will be putting pergo laminate down. I want some good quality stuff that will last and seal out the urine smell and also help prevent mold/mildew too if possible? There are so many different types of sealer I don't know where to begin.

2.) Since it's a finished apartment I won't be able to seal the entire floor, only the exposed areas of the floor. For example the floor under the cabinets and under the walls obviously won't be able to be sealed since I don't plan on ripping those things out. Will this create any problems?

3.) The house is only 10 years old but the apartment is also starting to develop a bit of a musty smell, so I was debating also treating all the concrete with a product called "Shockwave" prior to sealing it. Is that good to use on a concrete floor?

4.) Before sealing the floor I need to remove the glue thats on it from the linoleum flooring that we ripped out. Whats the best way to remove it?

Between lost rent and expenses this is probably going to cost us in the $5k range and we were struggling as it was...just turning into a nightmare for us....haven't been sleeping and can hardly sleep at night. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:50 PM   #2
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


sorry for your headaches. tenants- sheesh. I hear ya.

Dont have the majic bullet for you, you did what you could with perox/soap/bicarb, but still, theres no better more effective solution than AIR. Yes, plenty of air, for days and days, if possivble. All the Lysol/Fabreeze wont compare. Although, Im impressed you went with the H2O2 (peroxide). Air does that too. Eventually, the urine/ammonia will oxidize itself spent from the airing out the place. .

good luck.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:10 PM   #3
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


wash down the area with white vinegar.
I worked on an apt years ago that had cat and dog pee in numerous corners on the hardwood floors.
the guy had a woman scrub it with stuff from the pet store that was supposed to eliminate the odor and
the next day scrubbed the whole floor again with bleach,
neither one got rid of the smell. after they washed down the floor with vinegar the smell was gone.

Last edited by DannyT; 11-10-2011 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


Also steam cleaning helps, with scrubbing the floor with dry Tide detergent.
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:32 PM   #5
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


Thanks guys but my main questions are what sealant to use for the basement/concrete floor and how best to get the glue off the floor from the linoleum we removed....
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #6
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


Once you start scrubbing & steam cleaning, the glue becomes a moot point. TSP also works in cleaning the concrete.
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


While all of the above suggestions are fine for sealed surfaces, the problem with liquid spills (ie: cat urine) on an unsealed porous surface (ie: concrete) is that they penetrate the surface.

It isn't ammonia you smell with cat urine -- it is urea. When the cat urine dries out, the urea forms crystals. Anytime even a tiny amount of moisture is present, it becomes hydrated again (gets wet) and the smell comes back.

You need to seal the concrete.

There are numerous sealants available -- some of what to use depends on on how well you can air out the apartment when you are applying it. Some of them contain high levels of VOCs (volatile organic carbons) that can be dangerous when inhaled.

The problem is that the good ones are expensive (and often come as kits for DIYers).

If you are extremely $$$ limited, there are a couple of possibilities. You could try Dry-Lok (even though it is NOT made for floors). You are aiming to water-proof the floor, you are trying to seal in messed-up areas. Maybe even try some types of primers (ie: Zinser oil, Kilz oil based primer).

Hopefully, you aren't looking at trying to cover up a huge area.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:03 PM   #8
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Need help w/basement apt - cat urine & mildew.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnsteph10 View Post
While all of the above suggestions are fine for sealed surfaces, the problem with liquid spills (ie: cat urine) on an unsealed porous surface (ie: concrete) is that they penetrate the surface.

It isn't ammonia you smell with cat urine -- it is urea. When the cat urine dries out, the urea forms crystals. Anytime even a tiny amount of moisture is present, it becomes hydrated again (gets wet) and the smell comes back.

You need to seal the concrete.

There are numerous sealants available -- some of what to use depends on on how well you can air out the apartment when you are applying it. Some of them contain high levels of VOCs (volatile organic carbons) that can be dangerous when inhaled.

The problem is that the good ones are expensive (and often come as kits for DIYers).

If you are extremely $$$ limited, there are a couple of possibilities. You could try Dry-Lok (even though it is NOT made for floors). You are aiming to water-proof the floor, you are trying to seal in messed-up areas. Maybe even try some types of primers (ie: Zinser oil, Kilz oil based primer).

Hopefully, you aren't looking at trying to cover up a huge area.
Can you give me some examples of the good ones? Here are the dimensions, roughly:

Kitchen/dining area 22x14
LR 12x13
BR 12x11
Hallway18x3

How costly can that get?
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