How do you get rid of urine odor in hardwood floors — Lifestyle — The Boston Globe

How do you get rid of urine odor in hardwood floors - Lifestyle - The Boston Globe

By Peter Hotton

Q. During our most recent bout of humidity, we noticed an unpleasant odor in our living room. I was shampooing our rug and was able to determine where the odor was coming from: a corner of the room. In anticipation of removing the rug this fall, I pulled up a corner to see what condition the hardwood floor was in. The floor seems to be in great shape except for this corner area. I believe our cat (which we no longer have) urinated there and saturated the carpet down to the floor. The area is damp with a strong urine smell. I pulled out a part of the strapping holding the carpet down, and that strip is damp, black, and smells. Can the floor be salvaged? How can I get rid of the smell? In the interim, I tried to shampoo the area again, putting newspaper down in layers to absorb the moisture. A friend suggested charcoal (like what you would use in a fish tank) to absorb the moisture and odor until the carpet is ripped up.


A. Pulling out all that urine moisture is difficult because it has gone under the hardwood and soaked the subfloor and anything under that as well. So, take up the hardwood that is wet and the subfloor, too. Ventilate the room and treat the hardwood, subfloor, and the rest of the affected area with a mix of one part bleach and three parts water to kill bacteria. Make sure the odor is gone and the wood is bone-dry before replacing the floors you removed. Using deodorizers wont work if the source of the odor remains.

Q. My living room floor is covered with linoleum, then I installed Pergo flooring over it. Now the Pergo is buckling. Whats wrong?


A. When the Pergo was installed, it was laid directly against the baseboard or wall. There should be a -inch gap where the boards meet the baseboard to allow the Pergo to expand when it takes on moisture. When it dries out, the Pergo will contract. Without that gap, the expanding Pergo has no place to go, so buckling occurs. To fix this, cut a half inch off the board at the wall or baseboard to create that gap. You can cover it with 3/4-inch quarter-round.

Q. I love the varnished stairs in my house, but the constant going up and down wears the treads in the center, making them ugly. How can I keep the varnish shiny and good-looking?


A. You could put down a runner of well-wearing wool Oriental-style carpet. (No way, said In Despair.) Then you have to sand and revarnish when you cant stand it anymore. Use an oil-based urethane varnish, two coats. One more point: If your treads are fairly wide from side to side, you can install a narrower runner and enjoy the varnished part on each side. Keep the risers white; it helps delineate the stairs to ease climbing.

Q. In February 2007 I had a bathtub, wall, and ceiling installed as a complete unit all one piece. In 2011, I noticed hairline, horizontal cracks. I called the company, and they sent a rep to investigate. I was told that because I used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean the tub and the walls that this was the cause of the cracks. I was also told that because Mr. Clean Magic Eraser was not on the list of approved cleaners for the bath companys product, the warranty on my unit was null and void. I stopped using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but now I have more cracks in the walls where the corners meet and two on the inside of the bathtub as well. Also, when I step into the tub, I hear a noise.


How do you get rid of urine odor in hardwood floors - Lifestyle - The Boston Globe

A. Wow! I think you have no choice but to live with the cracks. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser has water-activated micro scrubbers designed to handle stains and marks that are difficult to remove. Its my guess that vigorous rubbing caused the cracks. Also, the noise when you step in means there is space under there and the tub is bending.

Show them the door

Heres a note we received from Laura Foote, a volunteer for Boston Building Resources: You recently posted a question from a reader who wanted to find a home for doors he was removing from his home, and you advised him to put them out on the street. Heres a better idea: Ask Boston Building Resources to pick them up and bring them to its Reuse Center. This way the doors are more likely to find a homeowner who can use them. The pickup fee is usually $25, and you can check out the guidelines on the website (for example, no doors with lead paint):

Handyman: Thanks, Laura, I should have thought of the center myself, because I haven written several stories about it over the years. In fact, the center sells all kinds of used goods and materials to individuals in need. It certainly does a lot of good work.

More from Address:

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton also appears in the G section on Thursdays. He is available from 1 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays to answer questions on home repair. Call 617-929-2930. E-mail him at .

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