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Questions and Answers On the House

By Morris and James Carey The Associated Press
Saturday December 01, 2001

Q. Cindy asks: Could you please tell me what is the best way to get cat urine stains out of a wooden floor? 


A. Chlorine bleach kills the bacteria associated with pet urine, as do other disinfectants. Unfortunately, sometimes the urine and its associated bacteria make it to the area beneath the hardwood — the subfloor. When this happens, it might require removal of the hardwood to get to the bacteria with a disinfectant. If the hardwood flooring is tongue-and-groove, the help of a flooring contractor might be in order. However, if the flooring is square-edged (the most common type in older homes), it probably is a job that you can do yourself. Sanding out the black stains won’t get rid of the smell if the urine made it to the area beneath the hardwood. 





Q. Anne asks: We added a garage to our house two years ago. The concrete floor of the garage is slanted slightly so that when we pull our cars in during snow season or during the rainy season the water that drips off the car pools in one spot. Unfortunately, the place where it pools is right up against a horizontal piece of the wood framing for an inside wall. The framing board is sitting directly on the concrete, and it is sheet-rocked. I am very fearful of this board rotting and subsequently having to be replaced. I’m feeling if I deal with the problem now, I will minimize any future disaster. My question is, should I drill a channel for the water to run out? I don’t know how it would drain onto our new driveway effectively, without creating a whole new problem. 


A. You are correct. Continued exposure to moisture and water eventually will rot the wood in the wall and the wallboard. The fix we suggest might do the trick. However, it should be noted that replacement of the portion of the floor that slopes improperly is the correct solution.  

First, trim the wallboard an inch or so away from the floor so that it cannot get wet from the puddling. Next, drill quarter-inch holes every few inches between the floor and the mudsill (the horizontal bottom piece of wood at the bottom of the wall), so that water can drain through it. Spray inside the holes with a product that contains copper napthanate. Such a product is a pesticide and a wood preservative. 

It might also be a good idea to add ventilation to your garage. Air can help to evaporate the moisture in the summer. If the holes don’t clog with dirt or ice you should be OK. Also, don’t drill the holes if the outside perimeter is not somewhat lower than the inside. 


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