Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Can See The Light...

Remember Operation Save-a-Bonus-Room?

Yes, this project was started months ago.  Approximately six months ago, to be exact.  I'll bet you thought that the project was either abandoned or long completed by now, and I had just forgotten to report back.

Well, you'd be wrong there.

This project has been nothing but a thorn in my side, and has been ongoing for what seems like forever.  And okay, in reality, a half a year is a pretty long time.  But folks, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...

Once we relocated miss kitty into the garage (which she continues to love, by the way), we ceased to deal with cat pee issues.  She uses her litter box religiously, and has the freedom to come in and out of the garage through her little kitty door as she pleases.  She never even goes upstairs anymore.  We successfully removed her presence from the bonus room.

The odor she left behind, however, was a bit more difficult to get rid of.  And by difficult, I mean almost impossible.

Let's put it this way- the couch was easier to get out of that room than the smell of cat urine.

We ripped up the carpet and padding, got rid of ruined furniture, cleared out the room down to its sad subfloor, and got to work.  We tried everything.  We tried two different types of enzyme solutions claiming to rid the world of cat urine stench.  Each time we applied this, we'd have to wait for the subfloor to dry before applying the next coat.  This generally meant waiting a week in between applications.

SHOCKING- the enzymes didn't work.

So we had a contractor come out to give us a quote on just replacing the subfloor in the worst areas.  He promptly told me that this idea was a much bigger (and much more expensive) job that I had in mind, and that if it were his house, he'd try bleach.  Bleach kills everything, right?  Seemed to make sense.

So for those of you science lovers out there- you'll know mixing bleach and ammonia produces a toxic gas.

J loves science, but apparently not enough.

Here we are, taking this man's advice, thinking that pouring bleach onto the urine soaked floorboards was going to be the answer to our prayers.  But of course, urine is composed almost entirely of ammonia.  So instead of getting rid of the smell, we created a poisonous gas, which sent J coughing and sputtering to the phone to contact poison control, and then to wake up our napping child to remove him from the upstairs level filling with fumes.

Good times.

And after all that, the room smelled like a swimming pool.  Not quite as bad as the cat pee, but not quite what we were hoping for.

Enter the last ditch effort.  J turns to- where else?- the Internet for answers.  The Internet claims that hydrogen peroxide will get rid of the bleach smell, and probably help with residual cat pee odor as well.  So we give it a go.

Again, with the week in between all of these applications of copious amounts of liquid to the floor.  Fans running, windows open, please DEAR GOD PLEASE go away smell.

This was the best we could do.  There was no other conceivable option for floor treatment, and we didn't have the thousands of dollars required to tear into walls and rip up floors and replace everything.  We threw up our hands.  And friends- we could still smell the urine.  Not as strongly as before, but an odor still remained.

We had always known that our final step in floor treatment would be to paint a sealant over the top of it.  I had hoped that there would be no residual odor to "seal in," but there ya have it.  We had done our best.  It was time to seal the crap outta that floor, the baseboards, and part of the drywall, just in case.

So seal we did.  We used two gallons of Kilz oil based primer, which promises to tackle and seal in tough pet stains.  And guess what?  It worked.

We can officially no longer smell the cat when we walk into that room!!

This past weekend, we painted the walls a sunny yellow, perfectly gender neutral and fun for a playroom.  Then we went to Home Depot and picked out carpet.  Today, the carpet guy is coming to measure the room and schedule our install.  Hopefully by this time next week, I'll be moving furniture and toys in, and the nugget will have a fun space to play in.  (Also, the toys that are taking over my living room will be out of my sight.  HUZZAH!)

I can't believe it's finally happening...

Next up, Operation Red-Walled-Guest-Room-Turned-Lavendar-Walled-Baby-Room.  No rest for the weary around here.

I promise to update (with pictures!) once we reach project completion!  Oh happy day!

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