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  • flooring

    We own a 30 year old seaside condo that was completely rennovated before we bought it, (new carpet, tile, bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets and appliances,and freshly painted. We've noticed a slight chemical or strange odor in the condo that we get used to and can't really say bothers us when we're there. It is not an offensive odor but other family members do smell it. After having condo management check all air filters and replace coils and check for mold the smell is still there. Our building does not have a mold problem. We know that the previous owners did have the new carpets cleaned 2 times, I don't think it was done professionally. The condo unit was used by the old owners about 1 1/2 years before we bought it. I guess I now know why they had incense burning when we looked at the place. After we bought it we thought the smell was from the place being closed up for weeks. They had rented furniture in it, so all our furniture is brand new. We decided to pull up all the carpet this spring to make sure the odor wasn't coming from it. Under the carpet is the original vinyl tile floor that was put down with a black tarry glue. The original smell is gone now we smell what we think is the vinyl tile and residual cleaning agent that the maintenance man used to clean the floor. He said he used Spic and Span. The cleaner smell was very strong at first and has worn off quite a bit. We kept the windows opened while we were there this weekend and still have that vinyl plus slight cleaner smell. My husband seems to think the smell is from the tiles that the cleaner should not leave a residual smell. We put baking soda down on the floor and if when we go back the smell is still there. He wants to paint the vinyl tile with a sealer before we let the flooring people put the new floor down. We are having a laminate installed in the great room and carpet in the bedrooms. I think this might be a mistake. He thinks he can mask any residual smell with the paint sealer. Either way we don't want to put a new floor in if we still have a smell and to remove all the old vinyl tiles and clean up the black adhesive would be a really big and messy job. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    You could try a sealer first. Wait a while before you do any further floorcovering work to see if that would be successful. I can't imagine Spic & Span leaving an odor. I made a mistake using Murphy's liguid oil soap on the paneling in one room and the tiled floors in the baths, kitchen and foyer. It caused a real bad odor. I went back over everything with a citrus based cleaner and made sure I scrubbed well and rinsed well. It go rid of a lot of the odor, probably 90%. Is the vinyl surface crazed in any places that might show the use of a chemical cleaner that could've reacted with it?


    • #3
      Thanks Bob, I think I agree with my husband that the cleaner smell should be gone by now. We can't leave the windows open when we're not there and since it's a 2 hr. drive it's not easy to check on the place. My husband wants to paint over the tiles with a sealer, I just hope that the paint smell doesn't make things worse. Maybe the baking soda we put down helped. We'll see.


      • #4
        The vinyl tiles are not in good shape they are chipped around the baseboard and in areas you can see the black glue between them. My husband's sister took up her rug(same building) and had to take up some of the vinyl tiles because they were in worse shape than ours. She had no odor?! So maybe it is the cleaner reacting to the old tiles.


        • #5
          I don't know if this will work but white vinegar will get rid of just about any smell.

          Some gasoline had spilled out in the trunk of my car and the smell was so horrible we had to drive with the windows down to air it. After trying to get rid of the smell for a week or so, I finally called a mechanic friend of mine and asked what to do. "Use white vinegar," he said and I did. I drenched the area with it and the gasoline smell started to clear up. After a few days it was almost gone, and a week later there was no trace. My sister used white vinegar in the rinse to get rid of a moldy smell in some work clothes that my nephew had left in a bag once. Worked great. Just add half a cup to the last rinse cycle.