Apparently these days, so called experts will say ANYTHING to help their business sell more. Take the cat pee smell in crawl space debate for example. If you haven’t heard about this yet, sit tight, I’ll fill you in because I don’t want you wasting thousands of dollars (perhaps more).
So, you have a cat pee smell in your crawl space. You just encapsulated your crawl space. Is your crawl space vapor barrier the CAUSE of the cat pee smell? Drum roll please…….”NO!”
I can’t vouch for all crawl space vapor barriers, but if you used the SilverBack, GuardianLiner, I can say 110 percent confidently that your crawl space vapor barriers are not the cause of this smell.
The cause of this infamous cat urine smell in your crawl space is your SOIL. Unfortunately, if you already encapsulated your crawl space, getting rid of the smell is going to be hell. You have to remove the vapor barriers and get down to the soil to balance it out.
One of the industry leaders in the crawl space industry published a full true explanation on why this happens, you can read it here.
If You Have A Cat Pee Smell And You Haven’t Encapsulated Your Crawl Space, Pay Attention Now
DO NOT encapsulate your crawl space, you need to treat your soil first.
If you go ahead and encapsulate your crawl space, it won’t get rid of the smell. Save yourself the time, money and effort. TREAT THE SOIL first.
Truth of the matter, less than 5 percent of all crawl spaces get the cat pee odor after encapsulating their crawl space. Yet, that’s not where the smell comes from. Instead, the odor originates from the decomposition of plant material in the ground under the home.
How To Prevent The Cat Pee Smell
Now, what can you do to prevent the cat pee smell in your crawl space?
First things first, you don’t want this smell showing up after you encapsulate your crawl space. That’s going to cost you some money.
Instead, you need to test and pH balance the soil as needed prior to encapsulating. You also have a second option, installing a soil gas mitigation system that will remove the ammonia smell (cat pee) from your crawl space once it arrives. Either of the two will work and help you get rid of that terrible smell.
If you don’t know the pH scale, no worries, it’s pretty straight forward. The pH scale has a range of 0-14 with 7 being neutral. Ammonia lives around 11 on the pH scale. Since 7 is neutral, that’s where you want to get your soil to before you start your encapsulation. This will help you prevent the cat pee smell.
Despite What So-Called Expert Ninjas Say, Cat Pee Smells Don’t Come From Polyester String
Let me fill you in on the industry right now. There’s one crawl space ninja out there that’s trying to scare homeowners like you into buying their products. We feel you deserve to know the truth.
This expert released a video explaining how reinforced vapor barrier is glued together and when this glue gets wet it falls apart and then the string in the middle gets wet and smells like cat pee. Say what?
That’s the same thought I had when I watched this video. That’s just crazy, sorry but it is. The cat pee smell in your crawl space is due to the soil, not a string on a vapor barrier.
The level of ammonia in the soil is so strong, it can permeate polyethylene and make the plastic smell as bad as the crawl space. That’s true, but it’s not the source of the cat urine smell.
Rather, it’s your soil and if you listen to this crawl space ninja, you’re going to be left with that same smell and be out a lot of money.