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g_bus
Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
g_bus

Hello,
Another cat pee vs flooring question. I've seen a lot of responses to this type of question but would like some input on what might be the best course of action for my situation. I have a 1950ish house with oak floors. Had a cat that was having urinary tract problems and started peeing outside of his box. Eventually this just became habit and he stopped using his box to pee almost entirely. He was relegated to one room of the house, which he had already peed in a lot, when not being directly supervised. This became the sacrificial room in order to try to save the rest of the house. The cat is no longer in the picture and it's time to try to reclaim that room. I've pretty well soaked the majority of the floor with Nature's Miracle several times which has helped but it still has an odor, especially on hot days. I know the floor is pretty well saturated because when it was fresher I could smell it in the basement, so I'm sure it soaked through to the subfloor. There is a lot of staining and the floor is pretty much shot. There wasn't a ton of the finish left on the floor to begin with when we moved in, so not much protection to start. I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it is a lost cause to try to save it, but I could be wrong. I had originally planned to just rip everything out down to the joists, put down OSB and carpet it. I didn't want to go with wood since I wouldn't be able to match the existing wood in the rest of the house. This could be pretty labor-intensive because I think there's another layer of plankwood subflooring and a layer of diagonally placed boards as well. And that old oak is tough stuff to mess with! Other thoughts were to soak it again with an enzymatic cleaner from both the top and underneath, hit it with a couple of coats of poly or maybe an oil-based stain blocking primer on both the top and bottom (likely use paint sprayer to make sure I get all the little nooks and crannies), and then carpet over that. I might be able to get away with just removing the top layer of flooring which prob took the worst of the pee, seal, and maybe a layer of OSB over that. Or maybe I could get lucky with some sanding, soaking, and sealing, possibly a light coat of stain first just to help blend in any remaining pee stains, but I'm kind of doubting that will do the trick. I'm considering resale too, since I'll probably try to sell it in the next 2-5 years. Any suggestions as to the best/most effective/easiest approach would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

A. Spruce
Re: Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
A. Spruce

Cat odor is extremely difficult to get rid of. From the sounds of it, the oak flooring has to go, then depending on what you find under it, either keep going or seal it with several coats of BIN primer. From there, you can relay whatever type of flooring you like, adding a layer of plywood, if necessary, to maintain existing planes.

Good luck.

ed21
Re: Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
ed21

I agree the oak flooring has to go. The urine has likely soaked into the tongue and groove. After removing it I would try the enzyme cleaner on the subfloor a couple times and then seal with a good primer unless the odor is still noticable. In that case replacing the subfloor may be required.

keith3267
Re: Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
keith3267

A quart of peroxide (3%) to a pound of baking soda will remove the smell of skunk, so it might remove the cat urine. If that doesn't work, 5 to 10 years will remove the smell, otherwise you will have to remove any wood that shows stains, and that could mean having to cut out and replace some joists.

BTW, if you ever get another cat with urinary problems, put puppy training pads all around the litter box, and don't use clumping litter.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
Mastercarpentry

Cat urine odor is almost impossible to eliminate- I rate it's endurance higher than a skunk based on my experiences with both. The time-scale already mentioned is real; it takes forever to air out successfully. To address this rapidly the flooring and perhaps the sub-flooring will have to go based on how wet things got. You may be able to save the sub-flooring by sealing it with oil-based Kilz or Zinsser primers and in less-severe cases I've had success by using whatever paint I had on hand. Do the whole floor to be certain you've got it all.

I do a lot of rentals at the moment and I have worked with my biggest customer for about a decade off and on. After having to go through this a few times and paying for it, he no longer tolerates any indoor pets period- it's an instant eviction when he finds that and he makes that clear from the start. We still get a few of these from his new acquisitions though but I'm glad he implemented that policy and from what I hear it's becoming the norm with many rentals these days. You just can't charge an adequate deposit to cover this much work because nobody would pay it. I don't have a sensitive nose but I hate doing these in the winter when I can't have all the windows open and even then it's sometimes still near-torture. My dog comes in during thunderstorms so I'm not a pet-hater at all but IMHO you're better off with them outside even if you have to make them an insulated and heated house like I've done. Just my $0.02 worth, YMMV

Phil

Viensmd
Re: Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
Viensmd
g_bus wrote:

Hello,
Another cat pee vs flooring question. I've seen a lot of responses to this type of question but would like some input on what might be the best course of action for my situation. I have a 1950ish house with oak floors. Had a cat that was having urinary tract problems and started peeing outside of his box. Eventually this just became habit and he stopped using his box to pee almost entirely. He was relegated to one room of the house, which he had already peed in a lot, when not being directly supervised. This became the sacrificial room in order to try to save the rest of the house. The cat is no longer in the picture and it's time to try to reclaim that room. I've pretty well soaked the majority of the floor with Nature's Miracle several times which has helped but it still has an odor, especially on hot days. I know the floor is pretty well saturated because when it was fresher I could smell it in the basement, so I'm sure it soaked through to the subfloor. There is a lot of staining and the floor is pretty much shot. There wasn't a ton of the finish left on the floor to begin with when we moved in, so not much protection to start. I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it is a lost cause to try to save it, but I could be wrong. I had originally planned to just rip everything out down to the joists, put down OSB and carpet it. I didn't want to go with wood since I wouldn't be able to match the existing wood in the rest of the house. This could be pretty labor-intensive because I think there's another layer of plankwood subflooring and a layer of diagonally placed boards as well. And that old oak is tough stuff to mess with! Other thoughts were to soak it again with an enzymatic cleaner from both the top and underneath, hit it with a couple of coats of poly or maybe an oil-based stain blocking primer on both the top and bottom (likely use paint sprayer to make sure I get all the little nooks and crannies), and then carpet over that. I might be able to get away with just removing the top layer of flooring which prob took the worst of the pee, seal, and maybe a layer of OSB over that. Or maybe I could get lucky with some sanding, soaking, and sealing, possibly a light coat of stain first just to help blend in any remaining pee stains, but I'm kind of doubting that will do the trick. I'm considering resale too, since I'll probably try to sell it in the next 2-5 years. Any suggestions as to the best/most effective/easiest approach would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

I once had 12cats in my 1890's Victorian because frankly, I had poor judgement. No amount of cleaning will remove the smell. Even if you can't smell it, all future animals in the house will, and pee on it. I sanded down my floors about 1/4" then sealed, and it worked awesomely because the actual peed-on wood is GONE, baby, gone. Also: USE A BLACKLIGHT TO IDENTIFY OTHER PEED AREAS. They can jump on furniture, pee walls, d****s, and especially fixtures and electrical outlets( dumb cats). That will do a lot improve the smell. Trust me, it's not just the floor. Good luck

Viensmd
Re: Cat Urine saturated wood floors. Need suggestions
Viensmd

I had the same problem. I sanded the floor down 1/4" to expose all new wood, which I stained and sealed. That way you don't have to match new wood. Most importantly,GET A BLACKLIGHT. I guarantee there's also piss on the walls, d****s, outlets, fixtures. Cleaning those goes a long way. Good luck

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