How to Treat a Plywood Subfloor for Urine Before New Carpet

How to Treat a Plywood Subfloor for Urine Before New Carpet

When preparing to install new carpet in a room that has previously been affected by urine, it is essential to treat the plywood subfloor properly. Urine can seep into the wood and cause unpleasant odors, stains, and even structural damage if not addressed promptly. To ensure a clean and odor-free space, follow these steps to treat a plywood subfloor for urine before installing new carpet.

1. Remove the existing carpet and padding: Start by removing the old carpet and padding to expose the plywood subfloor. Dispose of them properly, as they may also have absorbed urine and contribute to the odor.

2. Clean the subfloor: Thoroughly clean the subfloor using a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Scrub the surface with a scrub brush to remove any dirt, debris, or remaining urine stains. Rinse the area well with clean water and allow it to dry completely.

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3. Inspect for damage: Carefully inspect the plywood subfloor for any signs of damage caused by urine. Look for discoloration, soft spots, or warping. If you notice any severe damage, it is advisable to consult a professional to assess the extent of the problem and recommend appropriate repairs.

4. Treat with enzymatic cleaner: Apply an enzymatic cleaner specifically formulated to break down urine molecules to the affected areas of the plywood subfloor. These cleaners contain enzymes that digest the urine, eliminating odors and stains effectively. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and allow the cleaner to sit for the recommended amount of time.

5. Rinse and dry: After the enzymatic cleaner has had time to work, rinse the subfloor with clean water to remove any residue. Ensure that the subfloor is completely dry before proceeding with the next steps. Moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause further damage.

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6. Seal the subfloor: To prevent any lingering odors or stains from resurfacing, seal the plywood subfloor with a stain-blocking primer. This will create a barrier between the subfloor and the new carpet, ensuring that any remaining urine odor is trapped beneath the surface.

7. Install new carpet: Finally, you can proceed with installing the new carpet. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a quality carpet pad to provide additional support and cushioning.


1. Can I skip treating the subfloor if I plan to use a carpet pad?
No, treating the subfloor is essential to eliminate urine odors and prevent them from resurfacing.

2. Can I use regular household cleaners instead of an enzymatic cleaner?
Regular household cleaners may not effectively break down urine molecules, and the odor may resurface over time. Enzymatic cleaners are specifically designed for this purpose.

3. How long does the enzymatic cleaner need to sit on the subfloor?
The recommended time can vary depending on the specific product, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

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4. Should I replace the plywood subfloor if it is severely damaged?
If the subfloor is extensively damaged, it is advisable to consult a professional to assess the situation and determine if replacement is necessary.

5. Can I install new carpet without sealing the subfloor?
Sealing the subfloor is highly recommended to prevent any remaining urine odor from permeating the new carpet.

6. How long does the subfloor need to dry before installing new carpet?
Ensure that the subfloor is completely dry before proceeding with carpet installation to avoid moisture-related issues.

7. Will treating the subfloor completely eliminate urine odors?
Treating the subfloor properly will significantly reduce urine odors. However, in severe cases, additional measures may be required, such as professional cleaning or applying odor-eliminating products.

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