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Home Improvement--General/cat urine smell from vapor barrier

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Question
Dear Sir,

I had my crawl space encapsulated over a year ago. From day one it had a strong smell of cat urine and I waa told it would dissapate over time. I do not have a cat and no animals could access the crawl space.The smell is still strong and comes up through the floor into the first floor. I am having difficulty with my breathing and tightness in my chest which I think is coming from the fumes coming off the vapor barrier. The contractor is unwilling to do anything. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks, Mike

Answer
It sounds to me that the material they used in the crawlspace is offgassing.

Outgassing (sometimes called offgassing, particularly when in reference to indoor air quality) is the release of a gas that was dissolved, trapped, frozen or absorbed in some material.

Outgassing can include sublimation and evaporation which are phase transitions of a substance into a gas, as well as desorption, seepage from cracks or internal volumes and gaseous products of slow chemical reactions.

This smell should go away in time. I would install a powerful crawlspace ventilation fan that is vented to the outside. Fan will create a negative pressure in the crawlspace which will not allow the smell to enter the living space above. The new fan will need electric and can be installed through a existing crawlspace vent if you have one.

Home Improvement--General

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Jay Cipriani

Expertise

How do I select a professional remodeling contractor? What needs to be in a home improvement contract to protect the home owner? General design and estimating questions. Product selection, analyzation of bad workmanship, and expectations of a remodeling process.

Experience

Cipriani Builders, Inc., now Cipriani Remodeling Solutions, is a professional, design-build remodeling firm, founded in 1978. I got into the remodeling business largely because of his father who was also a contractor. Cipriani Builders has serviced over 3,000 homes throughout the South Jersey area. They include kitchens, bathrooms, additions, windows, siding, roofing and much more.

Organizations
National Association of Home Builders Remodelors Council (NAHB) American Institute of Architects West Jersey (AIA) Better Business Bureau (BBB) Builders League of South Jersey (BLSJ) National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) New Jersey Remodelers Association VP (NJRA) Tri-County Code Association Cherry Hill Chamber of Commerce Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Remodelers Advantage IFDA, VP 2008 ASID

Publications
I was the former Host, Writer and Producer of "House and Home" show on a local South Jersey Comcast cable station. I was featured in 1998 and 1999 on The Discovery Channel's "Gimme Shelter 2". I was featured on The Discovery Channel's "Home Matters" with Susan Powell. I have written articles for the monthly trade magazine, Builder/Architect. My expertise in historical renovation received recognition through a project featured on the cover of New Jersey Contractor Magazine. I was featured in 2007 and 2008 in a CBS Channel 10 News story on the home remodeling industry as a Home Remodeling expert.

Education/Credentials
New Jersey University of Medicine and Dentistry National Association of the Remodeling Industry Certified Remodeler Program

Awards and Honors
• 30 years of building and remodeling • Cipriani Builders has been featured in the Courier Post, Gloucester County Times, and Philadelphia Inquirer. • Professional Remodeler magazine ran a feature article on Cipriani Builders. • Cipriani Builders were featured in Design / Build Business. This magazine is used a resource among residential design / build professionals and their customers. • Qualified Remodeler magazine listed Cipriani Builders, Inc. as one of the Top 500 Companies Nationally. We continue to move up each year. • Remodeling Magazine added Cipriani Builders to their Big 50 “Hall of Fame”. • Cipriani Builders received the National Contractor of the Year Award for company image from NARI. • Cipriani Builders was awarded the Valuestar Customer-Rated Gold Seal for consistently delivering high customer satisfaction and for passing the qualification steps of insurance, legal, financial status, and state license requirements.

Past/Present Clients
Over 3000 clients in the South Jersey area.

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