Black light test on carpet before offer .... cautionary tale

nightowlrnAugust 3, 2014

Please - Bring a black light with you and put it on all the carpets (and walls, and corners) to look for pet urine when you tour a home for purchase. Tour again at night before you make an offer.

Take if from someone who just learned a very expensive lesson ....

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dekeoboe

A black light is not going to tell you what you are seeing by using it. Lots of things glow under a black light.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:01PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

Forty years ago, we were shopping for a house in Chicago's north shore suburbs. One was an old, lovely home, and it was a nippy day in the fall. The home was listed as having new carpet. All the windows and French doors were wide open and it was quite nippy in the house too. I kept looking at their "new" carpet. There were darkened stains where every chair leg and table leg stood. The upholstery on the sides of the chairs had a large half moon stain across the bottom edges. The walls had oak columns here and there in the woodwork, and each one also had those dark stains. I did see two older dogs with the family as we toured. The 20 something son really pushed the house decor explaining the dining room wall paper murals of early America also are found in the White House.

I kept puzzling over those stains. The carpet did not look newly laid. It was actually chilly in that house. As we drove home, it hit me. Old dogs. They were urinating on every projection in the house. Certainly the NEW carpet would have to be trashed. I wondered how badly the oak floors underneath were. They might have had to be treated and covered over to in order to rid the really nice old home of the smell. They were certainly trying to pull a fast one.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:37PM
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Acadiafun

The day my house closed was the day the carpets were ripped out of every room. I am glad their was hardwood flooring under there but it would not have mattered. Carpet is gross to me. Years of epithelial cells, dust, and goodness knows what else in those fibers. I prefer hard floors and area rugs that can be replaced quickly and easily.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:29PM
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mareda

And now we know why people say the request to take off your shows when viewing a home isn't always looked upon favorably.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:56AM
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ryseryse_2004

If pet stains go through the carpet padding to the hardwood floors, they will be forever ruined. Cat urine can't even be sanded out.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:24AM
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mareda

"And now we know why people say the request to take off your shows when viewing a home isn't always looked upon favorably."

Shoes - not shows.

UGH! I hate when I do that!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:43AM
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nightowlrn

Just a sample. Using a black light, the place lit up like a bad disco the night of our closing after we realized all to late. Urine they said? Just a few big collies and big dogs smell they said. Lesson learned ... We now know even the neighbors knew the dogs pee'd in the house. Any arbitration advice?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:47AM
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runninginplace

Nightowl, you mentioned 'the night of the closing'. There's no arbitration option now; you own the house. Pet urine also is certainly not a material defect since as you show in your images you are in the processing of removing carpet and padding after which you will clean the subfloor and replace with whatever floor surface you choose.

More like a lesson learned and some extra work on your new home.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:58AM
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evaf555

i can clean something to the point it no longer glows. That doesn't mean the smell won't come back in a day or two.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:45PM
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susanjn

Soak the stained areas with an enzyme cleaner such as Nature's Miracle. Let it dry thoroughly. Then paint the subfloor with an odor sealing primer.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:05PM
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nightowlrn

We treated/changed the subfloors. It wasn't enough. The stink was then noted to be in the walls and came out of the cabinets and closets when the doors were opened. So, the entire second floor, ceiling to floor, molding and trim, and all cabinets inside and out were painted with primer and 2 coats of paint over the last few days. We then found the master bedroom and closet were in similar shape. We had to remove the carpet and wallpaper, and painted everything to get the stink out. In a few days, we will have all the ducts cleaned. Disgusting people.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Houseofsticks

We had a dog with diabetes, she peed in one spot in the hall repeatedly. Even with my best steam cleaning and extraction efforts I thought it smelled if humid. We removed the carpet and cut out the stained subfloor.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 12:30AM
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nightowlrn

With great respect HOS, I do not understand how anyone can allow an animal to pee repeatedly in a home. Once is probably likely attributed to the owner forgetting to let the dog out, twice (to me) is an indication things need to change to prevent further occurrence or housebreaking needs to be repeated. I have raised a number of dogs and have seen most of them to the rainbow bridge. So, I am not ignorant in the matter.

In my current situation, had the owner kept a gate to prevent access to the second floor and kept the master door closed, the house would not have smelled like a poorly kept kennel that has cost us more in a week than many people earn in a year. In your situation, if you really had no other options, a simple shower curtain and cheap rug bits or towels on top would have allowed your senior dog comfort without soiling your home.

Ultimately, I am just at a loss at how people can live with the filth and caution others to use a black light to check.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:25PM
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azmom

Cat Urine is much worse than dog urine.

Other things glow under black light but it is easy to differentiate by location and shape of the glows.

We thought black light is the only way to tell pet urine, may be someone could suggest other ways?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 3:40AM
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tinan

That is disgusting - poor dogs, something was not right for them to be urinating in the house :(

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:34PM
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nikkimagical

Gross! That pee carpet looks nasty! Sorry that you had to go through that.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:27PM
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pixie_lou

I'm amazed with that amount of pet urine in the rugs and the subfloor that there wasn't a smell in the house.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:13AM
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nightowlrn

re: smell. The first time we toured, the rugs were still wet from being cleaned and there was a candle burning. We did note an odor and asked because the seller disclosure checked pet stains but did not list more specifics in the required box. We were told they had big collies and they were very dog smelly dogs. The second time, we noted the odor and also noted a mattress upstairs were a small child slept was urine stained, so we attributed the smell to an incontinent child. The sellers refused to leave the house before close and we did not have an opportunity to tour the house empty prior to close. Had we had that opportunity, we would have noted the smell remained, and was actually worse once their things were out and candles weren't burning, etc. Upon sending photos to the RA, we learned the family confessed to knowledge the dogs urinated in the home. A neighbor was even aware of it .... So, we are just saving receipts and will explore our options.

There are other things -- they removed television mounts from the walls, took a basketball hoop bolted to cement in the ground, removed other items that were screwed or bolted into walls.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:07AM
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ryseryse_2004

HUGE mistake not touring the house before closing once everybody is out. Even if it happens a few hours before closing, you need to be sure the house is 'broom clean and free of debris' and that the kitchen sink is still there!

If things aren't as they should be then the closing is delayed. That may be inconvenient but the alternative can be devastating.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:30AM
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nightowlrn

Ryse - I agree. It was not the plan. We were, in a way - tricked. I am by nature a suspicious, by the book person who gets feedback I need to be more trusting. So, the one time I loosen up and try to believe in the goodness most people have, this happens. Ha!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:57PM
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kirkhall

NightowlRN,
I hear you. We were not "allowed" to see our house before closing after the POs moved out either. I thought that odd, but it was treated that way by the REAs on both sides, and so I passed it off. They did a few things they shouldn't have, but nothing like what you are going through. However, next time I buy a house, I will insist on a "showing".

Sorry.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 4:09PM
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stir_fryi

I would be hesitant about buying a house that had dogs (especially small ones or multiple dogs). All my family members that own dogs seem to have an occasional problem with soiling in the house.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:36AM
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nightowlrn

stir_fryi -- we have always had at least one dog, more often two. They never have the run of the house until 100% trained. And, as they required retraining, aged, or had other health issues, were confined and/or watched closely as needed. It isn't rocket science. But, yes, we will be MUCH more aware when we buy again. It just really didn't occur to me people in the type of house we purchased ($$$) could be so filthy ....

These are our current pups -- Papillons. About 3 years old. Wonderful companions. 4 and 8 lbs. But, we have had 100 lb labs and other sizes in between over the last 30 years.

This post was edited by nightowlrn on Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 18:39

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:33PM
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ClassicD

I work in the construction flooring business and when a customer needs us to lay new carpet, vinyl or plank, we seal the floors before putting any new material over the top. The seal stops the smell. You can get floor seal @ any home improvement store. Before I knew about Floor Seal, when I pulled the carpets in my mobile home when I bought it, I painted the floors to stop the urine smell. They masked it by burning a lot of candles the day I viewed it. But when I moved in, I was really ticked off. So paint over the floors or use the Floor Seal. Good Luck. But I really like your black light idea. My daughter is getting ready to move into a rental in a couple of months so I will take the black light with me so we can be informed before she signs a lease. Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:11PM
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dekeoboe

My daughter is getting ready to move into a rental in a couple of months so I will take the black light with me so we can be informed before she signs a lease.

FYI - many things show up under a black light, including many detergents. That means that a spill of any kind that was cleaned with a detergent may glow under a black light.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:24PM
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violetwest

around here, we black light for scorpions!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:18PM
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niteshadepromises

Animals get old. And Just like you when you get old..they will have accidents. Even the most responsible pet owners get to deal with this, assuming you are a caring pet owner that doesn't have your pet put down at the first indiscretion. Dealing with a cat at the end of his days with renal failure during a house sale has been challenging for sure and in a house full of carpet...my poor pet has ended up imprisoned in a bathroom. I've found Natures Miracle as someone else suggested seems to work where we couldn't contain the oopses. We planned a different flooring for our new home so next time we end up with the inevitable decays of control due to age in our pets, its more manageable.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 4:17AM
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