Here are a couple of answers to a very similar question:
Kilz is my short answer.
Thanks Steve G. The carpet smells horrendous, so we figure the subflooring will be as bad or worse. Putting laminate down soon and want to be SURE we don't smell any funny odors after we lay the laminate!!! ;)
@Susan Are you dead set on using laminate?
I consider laminates to be cheap temporary disposable flooring. Real hardwoods actually provide a better return on the investment due to their long lifespans.
I have yet to see a laminate floor that does not look like crap after just 3-4 years. While I have worked on dozens of floors that are 50 to 100 years old and still going strong.
This pic is a floor I just worked on earlier this week...it is 86 years old. I I just finished it with a one coat oil product called "Monocoat"
What type of animal smells are we talking about, Dog or kitty urine smells?
You need to remove the carpet clean the floor, perhaps mop with Natures Miracle found in white bottles at most pet stores. Then wait and see if the odors are gone.
If you can get your hands on a old fashion black light, the kind that we used as kids with the paint. Remove the carpet first, then at night use just that light and see what glows green. That is the areas that are producing the smells most of the time. If indeed there are any left once the carpet is gone. Be sure to check the walls also. Cats tend to spray a bit and the walls can be the issue all along.
I also agree with KMS on this, Laminates are a short term solution. Natural flooring is much better if it can be salvaged. Also another thing to remember. If the smell seemed to go away, or you think you removed it, you need to wait for several weeks and weather condition changes. As a smell may not be noticeable on a dry cool day, but if you have a damp warm one, it may come back. It would be a shame to put down any floor over something that you think has been cleared up, only to have to remove it once again.
In any case, pull the carpet, check with black light and let us know what you find out.
Dog and cat smells! No, KMS, we are not dead set on laminate but are very financially strapped right now. It seems to be our best choice for the $$$ we have to cover 1600 sq ft.
what is the subfloor made of? You might just consider painting the floor until the $$ is available for something else. There are ceramic/porcelain tiles on the market now that look like hard wood.
Susan, if your just talking about body odor smells, I would still go towards the sanding and refinishing route. The cost is not as bad as you would think. And if your handy enough to put down the laminate, you can do the job yourself in a long weekend.
If the odor is from the other end of the animal, be sure to clean, and leave area alone for a few weeks to be sure you stopped it. But a sanding with proper stains and sealers should remove most odors if done correctly.
With the size of that project ( 1600 sq ft) you would be better off breaking it down into bite sized pieces...and use a quality product and complete it over a longer time frame. This "pay as you go" method works for many folks. When I did a large addition to my home I took out a HELOC loan for the major part. This only added a bit to the monthly payments. Now for big projects we save up and complete them in stages.