I live in Ottawa in 15 year old house. The room above garage smells like wet wool or rubber. I removed the carpet and a foam padding to examine. The padding and plywood smell as described above (rubber and/or wet wool). All other rooms also have the same carpet and padding but do not smell. Room has no sink or toilet. Garage is not heated but isolated with painted drywall as a ceiling. Garage does not smell. Plywood is dry. What can cause this smell? Should i replace the plywood? Any suggestions please.

  • Does this room have appropriate HVAC ducting?
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


If the smell remains after you have fully removed the old carpet and padding and you let the air circulate through room and the window by using a box fan or two then you may very well want to consider replacing the plywood as well.

The original problem could be caused by cold moist air rising from the garage into the living space above. It could even have been aggravated to some extent by car exhaust and other oil/paint/chemical usage in the garage by the former owner.

Before you put down new plywood you may want to investigate whether a vapor barrier under the plywood would be a reasonable thing to do. It may very well require a consultation with an expert in your region and such decision would also be dependent upon if there is already a barrier installed such as poly, foil backed insulation or even foil backed drywall on the garage ceiling.

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