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Replacing subflooring

2967 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Daniel Holzman
Everyone, I need your advice on a task I have been given by my mother... (GOD LOVE HER)

She has had a cat for countless years and over the years the cat has urinated in the formal living room and formal dining room and it has left a strong ammonia smell. On top of that, there is wood laminate floor (the cheapest crap on the market at the time) that is warped because of the urine or so we believe.

My question is.....How can I get rid of the ammonia smell? If I rip up the laminate wood flooring and the subfloor and replace them with new subflooring and wood laminate, will that kill the ammonia smell? I have also heard I need to prime and repaint the walls, in case the smell has soaked into the walls of the room.

Now for the dumb question, how do rip up the subfloor without falling 9 feet into the basement and breaking my neck on the concrete floor?
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One of one coworkers had the same problem. He bought a house (he calls it the cathouse) that had housed several cats who pissed all over the floors and walls. He wound up ripping out all the wood that had been contaminated. He tried several products that purported to remove the odor, none worked. This was a huge pain, but I have heard similar stories from others, little else to do but remove all the affected wood. He did not have any problems with the walls, I think only the actual urine is a problem.
Okay, So he didnt have any issues with the walls? Did he do anything special with them? I have heard if you prime them that locks in and kills whatever is on the walls.
Cat urine is one of the toughest challenges we see - and we're certified in odor control! Dead bodies being in the same boat...In urine cases, there is no option but to replace the affected surfaces - since replacement is by far the cheapest alternative, all things considered.

Laminate, underlayment, subfloor, wallboard and is far less 'costly' just to replace a 4'x8' sheet of wallboard (at $10), tape it and mud it ($3.50), sand it and prime it - than it is to spend the next few trips applying a variety of chemicals that may or may not eradicate the problem.

Cat urine is a complicated chemistry, moreso than dog - even in a simple case (it may contains acids, bases, enzymes, hormones, medications, dyes, proteins, organic matter and/or fats) to remove a single shot smell is sometimes a challenge. Add in an absorbent surface and/or repeated doses, the problem defies the best chemists.

Insurance companies just replace everything as they want to be guaranteed there'll be no come-backs a few weeks down the road, dragging their company name into the mud. So they go the 100% effective way and replace everything.

Ozone is another possibility - but in very limited circumstances. But requires no human presence and no plants...can destroy other things too, so it's not the best alternative.

Mostly the urine soaks the flooring and the underlayment - rarely the subfloor. But if that's an issue, replace board by board. And yes, a good paint job will have to be done too because after such a time, the walls have absorbed the smell and have taken on a funk of their own. Again, replace to be 100% sure. Are you saying you don't have a subfloor?

So, a coat of a premium sealer may get you by...but may not. :wink:
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I understand about the chemicals, I do have a subfloor, but just have never ripped up and replaced one before, I was asking how hard it is to replace. I hope it is just the flooring and walls and I do not have to replace the subflooring. only way I will find out is to rip up the wood laminate and see if any of the odor is on the subfloor.

Okay, So he didnt have any issues with the walls? Did he do anything special with them? I have heard if you prime them that locks in and kills whatever is on the walls.
All he did to the walls was strip the old wall covering, and paint, for those rooms where the cats had not soaked the studs. All of the floor and subfloor had to come out, and no that is not an easy job, but can be done by a DIY . Some of the wall studs were affected by the cat urine, they had to come out also, but most of the studs were OK.

If the cats in your place were really bad, you may need to replace all the wallboard, as noted by a previous post, it is cheaper and faster to replace rather than try to cover up a smell. Studs should be addressed on a case by case basis, hopefully the urine did not penetrate fully through the sheetrock into the studs.
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