05:06PM | 04/20/03
Member Since: 04/19/03
2 lifetime posts
3 years ago I painted one room in our house with Pittsburgh ceiling paint and MAB paint on the walls and trim. The MAB paint was latex semi-gloss on the walls and high-gloss oil on the wood. Within 1 week we noticed a very strange smell in the room. It smelled like cat pee, or amonia, but only when we opened a window and the room temperature was at least 75 degress. I figured the smell would go away when the paint fully cured, but I was wrong. 3 years later it still smells as strong as when we first smelled it. It only smells when the windows are open letting fresh outside air into the room. Turning on the central air lessens the smell somewhat by cooling the room, but it usually takes a day or two for the smell to go back "underground" after fresh air has entered the room from an open window.

I just pained another room with a brand new can of MAB paint and now it also has the smell. This room definately did not smell before the painting. Unfortuantely, I painted part of the ceiling with the old Pittsburg ceiling paint, so I can't tell which paint is causing the problem.

This smell is very strange becuase I can't pinpoint its origin. It seem to be coming from everywhere with no single part of the room, wall or ceiling smelling being the main source. Sniffing the the walls does not help.

Has anyone ever had anything like this happen? Any ideas about what the smell could be? Would painting with a non-VOC paint help?

Any suggestions on how to solve this problem are appriciated. A lot of time and effort went in to these rooms and I don't want to repaint and have the same problem.

House Age: 52yrs
Plaster & Drywall Walls
Plaster ceiling
MAB Paint latex/oil
Pittsburgh Latex ceiling
New windows and wood doors and trim in both rooms.


01:21AM | 04/22/03
Member Since: 07/28/02
1356 lifetime posts
I would reccomend you prime the walls with Zinsser BIN which in some cases can block odors along with stains, and then paint with some brand new paint, and maybe you should try one of the odorless paints on the market.


08:08AM | 04/25/03
Member Since: 04/24/03
5 lifetime posts
I agree with the othe comment. BIN in the red label cans seals in all oders. Then go back over it with the brand of your choice.


11:24AM | 04/26/03
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
It is possible that the outdoor air has more humidity, which "releases" the smell. However, from what you describe, it is more likely that some cat has marked his "spot" near that window, or that some other outdoor air problem filters in through the window when you open it.

You might also be smelling mold that is inside the windows (or in the walls next to the windows) and that only blows in when you open the windows.


10:49AM | 04/27/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1280 lifetime posts
Sometimes, if a can of latex paint has been frozen or is old and has chmically separated, the ammonia is released and will behave as you suggest. Are you buying from the bargain bin or not storing paint in a warm location?


07:25AM | 06/23/03
Member Since: 04/19/03
2 lifetime posts
Thanks for the replies.

It is definitely not an animal related smell. As I said, this only happens after the room is painted. The most likely answer is something to do with Ammonia. These were not bargain paints, they were purchased from MAB over the counter and 3 years apart, but still the same smell. The ceiling paint may be the culprit though, because this is the only paint common to both rooms.


08:08PM | 07/08/03
Member Since: 07/07/03
8 lifetime posts
The oil-based paint may be the problem as well. Oil stinks from day 1.


08:08PM | 07/08/03
Member Since: 07/07/03
8 lifetime posts
The oil-based paint may be the problem as well. Oil stinks from day 1.


04:50AM | 07/11/03
Member Since: 02/26/01
35 lifetime posts
For what it's worth, I may be someting that leached into the wall or ceiling plaster that the liquid content of the latex paint released. I have a house built in the 1930s and have a similar problem in the kitchen and a bedroom although the odor is not of amonia (the bedroom is smoke from the lifelong smoking former owner and the kitchen is unidentifiable).


02:27AM | 07/12/03
Member Since: 07/28/02
1356 lifetime posts
In reply to deford about oil based and the odor it has. Once it is dry it will have no odor and not 3 years later and oil based paint does not have an amonia smell anyway.
Click to reply button Inspiration banner


Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply choose button


Post new button or Login button

Follow banner a
Newsletter icon Flipboard glossy Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss icon