I had some work done on a small foyer (6' x 8') that included
replacing worn vinyl flooring with vinyl tiles. The old flooring was
laid over particle board with glue, so left a rough surface when
scraped up. The new tiles were self-stick, but the old surface was too
rough, so the contractor used mastic over the self-stick adhesive.
When he was done, the foyer stunk of rotten fish. Honest to god, it
smells like bad sardines. I brought it to his attention, but he blew
it off as if it were nothing unusual and I was just complaining about
the smells of paint and turpentine. I've been doing, or having done,
home repairs for over forty years, and believe me when i say I have
never smelled anything remotely like this.
It's been three days with a fan circulating air through the foyer, but
it still stinks. I'm beginning to suspect one of the workmen left a
tuna sandwich in the air duct as a prank
Anyone ever experienced anything like this?
I don't know what product he used, but some of them are pungent. Also,
things smell different to different people--my wife complains bitterly
about things that don't bother me or I can't smell at all. If the
contractor didn't think there was a problem, then there probably isn't,
(as long as he's honest). You might simply be sensitive to a chemical
that other people can't smell.
That doesn't help you with your problem, though. Since the floor is
down, you have no choice but to air it out until the smell abates.
Since it's covered up, it will take much longer to cure. I would give
it a couple of weeks. I can smell oil paint curing for a couple of
If the problem doesn't get gradually better, call the contractor back
and ask him to fix it.
More likely the contractor has been using the glop for years, and his
nose is either fried, or he is just used to the smell. (I still
remember, as a kid, thinking the guy setting bathroom tile with brown
mastic, no respirator, and not even a fan running, was just a little
'off'. All the grownups on the construction sites gave that guy a wide
berth- in retrospect, I think the fumes fried his brain.)
I'll note in passing- the self stick and standard mastic may or may not
be compatible. If old floor was too rough, particle board should have
been removed and replaced, or covered over with 1/4 luan plywood or
something. OP is braver than me- I'd never use self-stick tile next to a
weather door in a high-traffic area. A patch that small, a sheet vinyl
remnant would have been a better solution. If the new floor has to be
ripped out, they should look into that for the rework, as well as using
a different contractor.
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