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URGENT: PLEASE HELP..Pet Urine in Subfloor

Hello everyone. My husband and I purchased a home about 4 days ago. When we first looked at the home prior to purchasing we notice a pet odor, but thought simply removing the carpet would fix the issue. WRONG! Our carpets are scheduled to be installed tomorrow, and for some reason something told me to take a peek under the current carpet. We discovered numerous pet urine stains through the home. It as if the previous owners just allowed there pets to run wild. 


 anyway...we now need to determine whether we should replace the subfloors through out, or is there some form of chemical treatment we can use to penetrate the stains and remove the smell. If we need to replace the subfloors what type of subflooring would you recommend??


Any help you can offer would be AMAZING!!!

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Posted 2012-07-28T03:47:18+0000  by Jaybryce18 Jaybryce18

You can prime the subfloor with Zinsser B-I-N primer. It's a white pigmented shellac-based primer and will completely block the pet odor. This is not to be confused with their new B-I-N 2 product.

This will probably be the most effect way of blocking the odor without replacing the subfloor. If you decide to go with this, don't be alarmed by the smell. It will disapate as the alcohol evaporates.


From Wikipedia:

Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes, which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze (think - "melts in your mouth, not in your hand" :smileywink:) and wood finish. Shellac functions as a tough natural primersanding sealanttannin-blocker, odor-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good insulation qualities and it seals out moisture.

Posted 2012-07-28T23:05:47+0000  by Paul

Hello Jaybryce18.  Welcome to the Community!


+1 Paul.


I agree that the Zinsser B-I-N primer will do exactly what you need to seal the pet odor.


If I envision your project correctly, you will be applying this product using a paint roller over virtually all your floors.

This will create a high volume of ethanol vapors as the product quickly dries.  Please make sure that you keep all your windows open, and run what fans you have available to dissipate these vapors outside.  This product is highly flammable both as a liquid and vapor.  I recommend that you shut down any natural gas appliances, including the pilot lights, while priming your floors.


Please understand that I think this product is a great solution for you, BUT that I want you to avoid any unexpected consequences.  Let me provide you a link to the Technical Data Sheet for this primer here.


I hope this helps,




Posted 2012-07-31T15:40:26+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

This post outlines my problem exactly!! Thank you for the informative information! I have just bought a house in rural Newfoundland and it is in need of some TLC to say the least! And the subfloors need something to seal the pet smell and musty smell in. But with the subfloors being sealed after using this product is there a problem with moisture and "breatheability"?

Posted 2012-10-02T18:21:36+0000  by Bown

Hello Bown.  Welcome to the Community!


Since you are only sealing the "top" of the floor, I would not think that moisture would be a problem.  If it was, then the moisture would be coming from below.  This would occur whether or not you sealed the floor and would rot it in either event.  Does your northern home have a basement?  What's under the floor in question?  I assume you are talking about a wood subfloor on joists.


I hope this helps,




Posted 2012-10-02T18:30:06+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

It's got a dirt (actually its built on a rock plateau) basement that is practically inaccessible but there isn't any mould anywhere so perhaps moisture isn't a problem there afterall.


It's got the wooden joists and  then a layer of wide planks and then 5/8 plywood over that. I am not a carpenter but I don't think that is a regular practice and I am assuming the person who renovated the old salt box had a purpose for this after they made a new foundation under the house with new sil and joists. lol.....

Posted 2012-10-02T18:42:53+0000  by Bown

My guess is that you will be fine with primer on the floor.


No mold is the news I was looking for.  Maybe it's just too cold in Newfoundland most of the time!


It sounds like you have an older home.  Planks over joists used to be a common construction.

It's too expensive now since plywood works even better for less $$$.


Take care,




Posted 2012-10-02T18:53:16+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

If you're near the coast, the salt air would leave you with the disadvantage of salt deposits on your cars, but the added advantage of not having mold to deal with... :smileywink:

Posted 2012-10-03T00:36:41+0000  by Paul

I never thought abou the salt spray helping with the mould. I certainly know that it helps clear up mould related sinus and respiratory problems. :)


The house is a 100+ year old salt box that has been stripped to the studs to prepare for renovation. The previous owners never completed the renovation and just walked around on the bare floors and let their pets do whatever all day! How gross!! But they did do some nice work in preparing for the interior finishes. There is a new concrete foundation and the floors were reinforced I guess with the extra plywood. The house is going to make a lovely bed and breakfast someday hopefully, but as long as I can smell the pet smells I am not going to be happy. lol. And thankfully this post has given me hope that my plan will be accomplished! I'm probably going to end up painting the floors, walls, and ceilings with the stuff!!


As for the temperature, anyone from the south may be surprised to know that the island portion of Newfoundland has a very moderate temperature level as compared to other northern areas. Our temp ranges from -10 (rarely) in the winter to +20 in the summers. Actually this past July and August it was frequently over 30 degrees Celcius! (Gross, anything over 15 makes me miserable!!)


Thanks again guys, you've made me very happy and hopeful!! :)

Posted 2012-10-03T18:15:58+0000  by Bown

I had the exact problem. My top layer of the sub floor was particle board and the urine caused the particle board to rise up in the areas peed on. I am switiching to tile. I have been advised to pull up the particle board however there is a product Killz, or something like that that is supposed to mask the odor.

Posted 2012-10-06T02:46:23+0000  by Floorguy

Also make sure there are no cats getting in the crawl space of your house.

Posted 2012-10-06T02:48:53+0000  by Floorguy
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