Liquid vinyl or epoxy floor covering for plywood floor in "cat room"?
May 30, 2011 1:15 PM   Subscribe

What options can you suggest for replacing carpet in a "catbox room" with something moisture-resistant and easily cleaned? Some of the cats occasionally get confused and miss the boxes. The sub-floor is plywood. I've been thinking along the lines of the 2-part epoxy coating I applied to the concrete garage floor several years ago, but don't know if it works well on wood, which flexes. Flooring companies have pointed out problems with conventional floor coverings either absorbing or being etched by cat urine. The room has a wood-burning stove in it, so something that won't burst into flame if exposed to an occasional ember would be best. X/
posted by Death by Ugabooga to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We ripped the carpet out of our "cat room" and put in cheap vinyl flooring tiles over the plywood. It doesn't have a stove in it, and it's only for feline use. But it's easy to clean.
posted by luckynerd at 1:22 PM on May 30, 2011

How about tile?
posted by j at 1:24 PM on May 30, 2011

Every time I move house I buy a big piece of vinyl remnant and plop it down (not glued or anything) and on top of that a piece of cheap carpet (either remnant or walmart whatever industrial carpet mat) and litterbox on top of that. throw them both out when I move.
posted by The otter lady at 1:37 PM on May 30, 2011

Why not just get cheap vinyl sheet flooring? I'd skip the tiles as they will have seams (and seepage) between them. We had (industrial) vinyl sheet flooring with underpadding in my classroom when I taught; it held up and cleaned up beautifully and I cannot believe your cats pee more than a room of 20 potty training toddlers.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:39 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding tile. Try the larger sizes in order to minimize the amount of grouting you'll need (as the areas between tiles will wind up absorbing crud, whether or not the grout has been properly sealed).
posted by thomas j wise at 1:40 PM on May 30, 2011

Tile would be great for this; it'd be great to put some newspaper or something under the litter box, but the tile should clean easily, and it'd be fine with embers.

Linoleum seems good for the kitties, too, though might get singed from an ember. (But I don't really know about that part.)

Linoleum would be cheaper. Tile would last longer (if installed by someone who knows what they are doing.)
posted by bluedaisy at 1:53 PM on May 30, 2011

If you want to keep the rug - (I'm assuming there's carpeting over the plywood.) - cheap vinyl painter's plastic is sold in different sizes and grades wherever they sell paint. The noise and feel might cause them to use the boxes more and if they miss, just spray and wipe the plastic or discard it.
posted by longsleeves at 3:23 PM on May 30, 2011

Well, the flooring stores all said that the grout between tiles would absorb cat urine and odor, and that the glossy coating on linoleum would be etched by the urine and discolor and/or absorb odors.

As for putting newspaper under the box... There are three "regular sized" cat boxes and a 4-foot plastic kiddie swimming pool filled with 80 lbs of litter, distributed around the room. The cat who "misses" most doesn't just miss by an inch or two; she misses by several feet. Thus the desire for something to cover the whole floor. I don't know _why_ she does this; I'm just forever thankful that she restricts it to that room. It's weird; if I pick her up at random times and carry her to the cat box and put her in it, she will immediately pee at least a token amount. I praise her and help her cover it up, and she seems to get the idea for a day or two, but then she's back to "missing". She's not scared of the box; I've actually seen her poop in the box and then _get out_ and pee on the carpet! I really don't get it.

I'm tempted to try linoleum, though, even though the flooring places didn't recommend it. The reason I proposed some kind of epoxy or elastomeric coating was because I could extend it up onto the trim around the floor, so as to prevent urine from oozing down through the crack where the floor meets the wall, and wicking up into the drywall or down into the plywood sub-floor.
posted by Death by Ugabooga at 3:56 PM on May 30, 2011

commercial grade vinyl tile.... not vinyl sheets. no space between the tiles. it comes in lots of not so bad colors. give it a good "waxing" (there are lots of "wax" products, or you could just use regular old bowling alley wax) and i bet the cat urine isn't going to etch.
posted by at 4:23 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Adding to the giant roll-out vinyl... Don't stick it down with glue, maybe just tape it or something similar. It's cheap, so replace it periodically when it's too ruined to clean.

I've done a ton of renovation projects and I have cats, one who misses the box. I can't think of a better solution other than having something fairly disposable lining the entire room.
posted by jbenben at 4:44 PM on May 30, 2011

Just checked in with my husband, who was a professional tile installer for years and is now a carpenter who sometimes does tile. He says yes, the flooring guys are right, the grout could absorb the urine, but sealing the grout would help a lot with this.

The good thing about the linoleum is that it's not so expensive you couldn't just plan to replace it in a few years.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:09 PM on May 30, 2011

I have a cat who, like yours, uses the box to poop, but doesn't use it to pee. She'll get out of the box and squat next to it. So, after much experimenting and fretting, I went to Home Depot and bought a washing machine drip tray (it gets put under a washing machine, so it's quite large but shallow, maybe two inches deep?) and it seems to work a charm. I line the drip tray with a large puppy training pad, then put the regular cat box smack in the middle of the whole thing. She hasn't missed the tray yet. Change the pad regularly, all good.

Cricket doesn't seem to like to pee in the LITTER, I think, but she's ok with the pad. YMMV, obviously, as cats are weird. But maybe try it? Then you don't need to replace your flooring at all.
posted by clone boulevard at 11:05 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Though not recommended by the manufaturer, we used an epoxy floor kit (the type made for garage floors) in our large family room over particle board. It is not a permanent solution but we had company coming (almost a year ago) and could not afford the tile the space at the time. This is a HIGH traffic area where a dozen active dogs (including not-yet-housebroken puppies) and several cats live, play, sleep, eat, etc.

The epoxy covering was economical, VERY easy to roll on and has held up exceptionally well. Good Luck!
posted by labwench at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Epoxy will work on plywood if you prep the floor properly. I can vouch for this. If you want to know the whole DIY process that I followed, you can message me. :)
posted by fiasco at 12:40 PM on June 20, 2011

I ended up tearing out the carpet and padding and putting in sheet vinyl flooring. It's all one big piece (about 12' x 12') and isn't fastened to anything. It just lays in place, and the mop board around the edges of the room cover the edges. I did it myself, and with two doorways, a stairway, and a multi-sided brick earth-stove surround, it was kind of a pain, but it fits nicely. So far, my "problem" cat has missed the box a couple of times, but I've been able to wipe it up easily and kill the odor with some "Nature's Miracle". It doesn't seem to have bothered the vinyl, which is good, because although I thought vinyl=cheap, it still cost about $375 for the material alone (and that was a "mid-priced" vinyl!) so I hope I'm not going to have to replace it any time soon. I checked out the puppy training pads at the pet store recently, and... wow... those damn things are like $30-$50! Aren't they just like a giant disposable diaper? I can wipe up a lot of cat pee with paper towels for $50, so I'm going to pass on that option for now. But I think this will work - the place smells _much_ better. So - thanks, folks, for all the good suggestions. :-)
posted by Death by Ugabooga at 4:37 PM on July 16, 2011

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