something to check when buying a home (pets/carpet)

kiki_redoApril 17, 2010

something i wish i'd checked out before purchasing our house - thought i'd share so someone else could benefit from my lesson ;)

when you are checking out a house you think you would like to buy - come back at dark and check the carpets with a black light to see if there is evidence of pet urine.

no one noticed any pet odors when we toured or inspected the house we just bought. the carpet in the house is 2 years old and looks pretty new/clean.

we just had the carpets cleaned by chemdry, before moving in our stuff,

today was the first humid day we've had in the new house

either way, suddenly, this week - there is pet urine odor! awful.

we got one of the black light flashlights (causes urine stains to glow) and our carpet lit up like a nebula. glowing places everywhere.

i think the PO must have been using something to mask the odor and the carpet cleaning removed it, or maybe the smell wasn't in evidence because of the colder temps and low humidity we've had up till this week. gak.

we had planned to remove the carpet and do hardwood floors in the first couple of years in the house, but that project has been pushed to the head of the list, i think.

sigh

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deanie1

Thanks, kiki_redo, this is a great pointer. Had I only known!! In our case, before we moved in I had Stanley Steamer come in and do our carpets just as a matter of course. But when we came back later in the day we were virtually knocked over with the smell. They came back and put some kind of treatment on it which worked for two days and then the smell came back full force. I kept thinking it would air out, go away, but it only got worse. After a week, with the odor getting worse every day, we pulled up the carpet and were stunned by the stains. There are no words to describe it. The urine had eaten into the padding, dsissolving it into a powder everywhere and even stained the plywood underneath. They must have had cats wtih no litter box is all we can figure out. There was hardly a square inch unaffected.

And yet -- the carpet appeared very clean! So we had to put out a couple unexpected thousand bucks. Lesson learned.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 5:58AM
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rrah

A good hint. As a follow up, I would also recommend sealing the subfloors before you have the new flooring installed. If the urine stained those floors you will still have an odor.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 8:17AM
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graywings123

The urine had eaten into the padding, dsissolving it into a powder everywhere and even stained the plywood underneath.

I kind of doubt that the cat urine dissolved the carpet padding - carpet padding does that on its own without cats around.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 2:50PM
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mariend

Sorry, dog and cat urine does do that. When we sold our house, we had the carpet and padding pulled out, sanded and sealed the floor then put in new. Tried to clean it, did not work.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 4:37PM
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thatgirl2478

Hate to disappoint you - but the black light doesn't always work! I have area rugs that have been peed on by both dogs & cats. Even after multiple cleanings (with appropriate enzyme cleaners & carpet steamers) the old spots still show under black lights.

With carpet & pets (and KIDS!) you're asking for trouble. Best to ask for a flooring allowance to rip out and replace.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 4:10PM
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brickeyee

"Hate to disappoint you - but the black light doesn't always work! I have area rugs that have been peed on by both dogs & cats. Even after multiple cleanings (with appropriate enzyme cleaners & carpet steamers) the old spots still show under black lights."

Sounds more like the "enzyme cleaners & carpet steamers" fail to clean completely and the black light works just fine.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 4:43PM
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stir_fryi

We had a cat who sprayed. When he went to heaven, we pulled up the carpet and "kilzed" the sub-floor where we saw evidence of it. Then put down new carpet.

No one has ever said they smell cat pee in our house and we've had a new cat for four years with no issues.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 2:23PM
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mdln

Agree inappropriate urination is something to always consider when buying a house with carpet.

However, many things will glow under a black light including detergents, spot removers, tonic water, and some human body fluids.

What looks like a pee spot, may actually be residue from spot remover to remove spilled wine.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 10:36AM
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jewelisfabulous

On a related note (about carpet, but not about pet urine): If the listing brags that the home has just had new carpet installed, ask for a copy of the invoice that lists the brand and style of carpet that was installed. Then, research it to determine if it was cheap "landlord" type of carpet (probably polypropylene or olefin). If so, plan on having to replace that carpet much, much sooner than if the seller had chosen a good 6 strand nylon or wool and adjust your offer accordingly.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 12:56PM
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patty_cakes42

Just my 2 cents, but walking into a house where candles are burning, air freshener has been sprayed, or cookies are baking in the oven, is a sure sign odors are 'trying' to be covered up. I personally prefer to walk into a home that has no smells, food or otherwise, just clean. The Bona wood floor cleaner I use would be a good smell, but not the overpowering smell of Pinesol, yuk!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 11:14AM
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