Basement still stinks after removing carpet

onedog3catsOctober 16, 2008

After accusing my cats of having accidents in our basement, we discovered we had a leak in our basement that soaked our carpet a few times. We have removed the carpet and pad down to bare concrete, and we still have a musty/moldy/cat urine smell going on down there. What can we clean the concrete with? Should we seal the concrete before we lay ceramic tile?

Thanks!

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lucy

Find Nature's Miracle, an enzyme based cleaner that's made for cat urine and does work.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 10:09PM
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onedog3cats

Thanks lucy. The smell isn't from the cat urine (didn't really explain that in my OP) we think it is from the carpet being wet over a period of time. It is berber carpet, and I have read that the backing on berber carpet can cause this smell. It is close to cat urine, but slightly different. Before we realized we had a leak, I treated the carpets with Nature's Miracle, and it didn't even make a dent in the smell. Maybe I'll try it again on the concrete and see if it works.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 9:23AM
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davidandkasie

you may have mold/mildew in teh walls. one area of our office had a bad smell for a few weeks after Gustav flooded the office with between 2 and 6 inches of water. when teh walls were opened a couple weeks later mold had grown 3-4 FEET up the walls in teh cavities.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 10:02AM
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fandlil

I agree it is probably a mold/mildew problem. To correct it, you should first get a professional impartial assessment of the extent of mold infestation, and a recommendation on how best to correct it. It is important that the people you hire to do the work are not the ones who do the assessment. Otherwise there's a conflict of interest. I would not delay in getting this addressed because it's the kind of thing that can get very bad and a real health hazard and very hard to correct if it gets out of hand. If this was a plumbing leak that you didn't know about for a while, chances are the mold had lots of time to grow.

We are dealing with a similar problem in our house right now, and expect that it will set us back around $2K before we're finished. I hope your is less severe.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 9:26PM
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onedog3cats

Yep...you were right. We took off the paneling and found mold in several areas. Our plan had been to drywall over the existing walls (instead of sanding the ugly texture off). So we just sprayed microban on the moldy areas. But now we've decided to remove the moldy drywall and hang new. What a pain. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 3:21PM
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onedog3cats

Still having the smell.....We removed the moldy drywall, sprayed microban on the wood, redrywalled, painted and installed travertine floor throughout the basement. We finished this work just before Christmas. I was down there last night and smelled the same smell again!!! I could smell it by just walking over to the area. So, put my nose close to the bottom of the drywall and floor (base hasn't been installed yet) and could smell a very very strong ammonia smell. Much stronger than cat urine. I'm wondering if water is seeping through the foundation wall from above and maybe there is mold up close to the ceiling. We only cut out moldy drywall up to 4', but now I wonder if it was a combination of the plumbing leak and a foundation leak.

So what is the amonia smell...mold or mildew?? It is soooo strong...much stronger than it was before when the carpet was there.

We do commercial construction, but don't deal with mold remediation. So what kind of contractor should I call?? A basement waterproofing company or a water disaster restoration company??

haus proud....hopefully you've resolved your mold problem.

Thanks for your help....

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 5:00PM
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lucy

I think you may need a pro to get in and see what's what for sure. Ammonia isn't necessarily indicative of mold and if there is something else going on, I'm sure you want to know about it - no point in either treating for mold if it no longer exists, or ignoring whatever else might be the problem because you assume it has to be mold.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 6:29AM
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onedog3cats

Thanks lucy. I think we're going to call an environmental specialist first and then go from there. I have narrowed down the area to being about 4' of the foundation wall that is between the house and garage and about 2' of an interior wall. It is just that corner of the basement. It is making me crazy. I wonder what else smells like ammonia? DH still says it's the cats, but there is no evidence of cat urine on the floor. Thaks for your help.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 12:23PM
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dannie

Are the cats spraying on the walls and then it leaks down under the baseboard? Or maybe you have mice that have set up a nest in there and that is the area of their bathroom? Do mice do such a thing?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 9:55PM
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