Unsuspecting homebuyers who purchase previously owned homes might end up
with less than they bargained for with the existing carpet and flooring. The number one
problem is the odor and damage caused by pet urine, which is at times
difficult to detect.
It could be days or weeks before the problem is
discovered and is often long after the new owners have moved in. When
shopping for a home it is very important to thoroughly inspect the carpet
for pet urine damage before making any offer to buy a previously owned home.
Pet odors may not be so obvious.
When touring a home for sale, a homebuyer may not immediately notice the
odor from pet urine if the carpet has been cleaned recently and might
therefore assume that the carpet is in good condition. Similarly, if a
homebuyer tours a home while it is unheated or when doors or windows are
wide open, odors from pet urine will be less noticeable. Pet urine odor will
be easiest to detect in the winter months while the heat is on, and also
when air circulation is limited during hot summer days.
Carpet cleaning won't solve the problem.
Pet urine is very difficult to completely remove from carpet because it
often soaks through the surface fibers into the carpet backing and may even
become embedded into the padding and flooring below. Having the carpets
professionally cleaned may help temporarily but the underlying damage caused
from pet urine will not be solved and the urine odor will quickly return.
How to protect yourself.
It's not enough just to ask the seller if there is or has ever been a pet
urine problem because people who have pets can become so accustomed the odor
from pet urine that they may be unaware of the severity of the problem. In
order for a homebuyer to know for sure if there is a pet urine problem they
will need to conduct their own investigation.
The best way to determine the presence of pet urine damage would be to pull
up the carpet and padding in a corner of the room and look for obvious signs of urine stains. A
less popular method is to just get right down on the floor and use your nose
to smell the
carpet in suspected areas. Yikes!
Pet urine (and many other biological compounds)
glow under a black light (also called a UV Light) and that may
also be a great method that could be used to locate hidden stains. The room must be darkened for this to
Cats tend to go in a quiet corner or in
closets to do their business, while dogs
will usually urinate in the middle areas of a room without any rhyme or reason. A thorough room by room
search may be necessary to discover the scope and severity of the problem.
If it is determined that the carpet has pet urine damage, the total cost to
repair the damage and replace the carpet should be considered prior to
making an offer to purchase the home. If the damage is severe it is
important to treat all affected areas with a product designed to remove the
urine with enzymes or by sealing the sub-floor with oil-based sealer to
encapsulate the odor.
In some cases, a urine soaked wood sub-floor may need to be removed and have
new wood installed. If urine has soaked into the sub floor the problem must
be properly addressed before replacing the carpet or the urine odor will
once again come up through the new carpet. A contractor should be able to
provide a repair estimate.
The Cost to Replace Carpet.
Replacing the carpet in a typical 2-bedroom home could easily cost more than
$2500. Prices for carpet vary widely depending on the quality, face weight,
type of fiber, and style selected.
There are other expenses to consider
including carpet padding, moving furniture, removing the old carpet and pad,
and professional installation.
Some carpet retailers include some of these
items in their carpet price but homeowners are often charged extra if the
job requires more than what is considered to be a simple or
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