Case study #4
A Major Rehab Effort
Click on the pictures for a larger version of the picture.
- A very old, very solid apartment building with major cat urine and spray
contamination on floor and 3 walls of a small bedroom (a real
- Tenant had 10 to 15 cats from time to
time that stayed mostly in the
- Period of contamination was more than 5 years.
- Entire apartment was wall to wall
carpet and padding which was still wet in many places when removed.
- The letters in the pictures always refer to the same area
of the room to help you orient what your are looking at.
picture shows the contaminated bedroom after the
carpeting and padding had been removed. The smell was so powerful, one of
the options considered was to seal off the room. Notice the stains
starting a few inches above the 8 inch tall shoe strip (A). That is
many many applications of cat spray! Normally you have to look very hard
to see spray on walls, but not in this case. Remember, the odor in this
room was so strong, it actually burned your eyes. Notice the
brightly colored black and green asbestos floor
This is the
same corner as above after several courses of tile have been removed.
These tiles came rather easily with the shingle shovel standing in
the corner. The fact that the area under these tiles were still somewhat
damp with urine made them much easier to remove. The glue actually released from
the wood which is why there is wood showing around the edge
of the room. The tile in the middle of the room were nearly impossible to
remove. Notice the stain to the floor below A and the long strip of discoloration below B.
The wet area along this wall was
only 1 or 2 tiles wide. Only the tiles with
urine under them could be removed. The staining at C and D do not
appear to be too severe at first viewing, but the plot
continued into the closet on the right, but to a
much lessor extent.
Notice the spray stain just below B on
the shoe strip. This has been washed several times with the
non-phosphate version of
Clearly an inferior product to the
real thing but still better than most of the off the shelf cleaners. The
staining in the flooring did not respond to the
TSP cleaning. Spraying
with OdorXit at this point reduced the odor considerably but clearly not
enough to continue with reconstruction.
||There was no sub-flooring in this room
so when the boards that were soaked with urine were removed it exposed the
beams below. They measured 4"x8". Notice the beam under and left of
D. The area next to the wall was so spongy you could scrape it away
with a putty knife and it really smelled bad! Also notice the gray
area just above the beam. It is discolored with spray/urine.
This was behind the 8 inch high shoe (trim) molding. |
This view shows that what seemed to be
a minor problem on the flooring above was much worse below the flooring.
The beam below A to the right has a section near the wall that had to be
removed to eliminate the odor. The concrete wall was sprayed with OdorXit
and responded nicely.
Although the floor staining below B
seemed to be the worst, it appears that most of the problem was contained
in the flooring (now removed). The beam and wall are obviously stained and
need treatment with OdorXit but there was not nearly as much damage as by
A and D.
Area E is on the opposite side of the
room from C. Notice that the narrow strip of flooring and the wood next to
it (the plate at the bottom of the wall) are both severely stained with
urine. The drywall was removed at E to expose the staining for
treatment and to get rid of the drywall that was soaked as well.
Because the tile was so difficult to
remove from the center of the room, and there were areas of contamination
in the center, the choice was made to replace the flooring with 4 sheets
of 3/4" plywood. Even after all the flooring was removed the entire
exposed floor area was sprayed to eliminate the odor from the urine that
had seeped between the tile and through joints in the floor boards.
The Rest of the Story
The conclusions that can be drawn from this example are quite clear.
- Long term and repeated urine
application to walls and flooring can and does cause considerable damage
which OdorXit can not reverse. Disposing of the unrecoverable flooring,
trim and drywall and spraying what remains is far more cost
effective than replacing everything that smells like urine.
- Allowing long term tenants to
have even 1 or 2 (not 10 or 15) cats requires
close supervision and frequent inspections to avoid this kind of
- This whole apartment smelled very bad
because of this room and the hallway leading to this room were heavily
contaminated with urine and hormonal spray. It was clearly unmistakable. However, when doing inspections check
all the rooms!
This study is
meant to demonstrates that urine contamination can do serious
damage to flooring and structural members. The source of this
type of staining is by no means limited to pets.
Please do not take this case study
or its conclusion as
an indictment of cats or pets in general. IT IS NOT MEANT TO
BE ONE! I have a dog and 2 cats
pictured on this site, and would not trade them
for anything. They also do not foul my house.