We have an 18 year old cat who unrinates on or near doors that lead outside. I'm looking for solutions to make it easier to clean up/eliminate the odor. We do eventually plan on replacing the carpeting the room he's targeting right now, but not until he crosses the rainbow bridge. One thought I had was to install tile in front of the door, to provide an impermeable surface we can easily clean (especially if we put a rug right there that's machine washable, much easier to wash a rug than carpet).

Below are pictures of the space, including a paint outline of where the tile would go.

An entryway. A blue quarter circle, slightly larger than the swing radius of the door, is shown to demonstrate where tile would be installed. A closeup of an entryway. Carpet runs up to the base of the door. A baseboard heater is visible on the right-hand side.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Is this a good idea?
  2. Is there a specific phrase to describe what we're trying to do that I can Google for information?
  3. Assuming the floor beneath is level (and there isn't wood under the carpet), my plan was to cut the carpet away from where we intend to install the tile, then treat the subfloor directly with cleaners before sealing the area with stain-blocking primer. Would you recommend installing or treating with anything else prior to following instructions for installing tile? Removing the tainted subfloor would probably be better, right?
  4. Is there a better idea for how to turn this pee zone into something I can clean up after?
  5. What would be the best way to handle the curved transition zone?

My husband and I are moderately experienced DIY'ers but we haven't done tile before.

And as is required on the Internet, cat tax. The jerk in question. His face isn't blurred for his protection, it's because he was mid-meow asking why I was taking pictures.

A brown and white tabby cat. The jerkface culprit.

  • 1
    Welcome, Marisa. I've attempted to simplify your question and make it more objectively about home improvement. You're still asking many questions, though, some of which are quite broad and some of which are discretionary (and therefore off-topic here). Please take the tour to better understand our Q&A format, and revise further as needed to ask just one clear question.
    – isherwood
    Jul 27 '20 at 12:46
  • Have you soaked the carpet and then used a wet vac to suck up the water/cleaner? I did that for years and it worked pretty good for odor control. I tried the tile solution but the cat just went to the edge of the tile and got the carpet.. lol
    – JACK
    Jul 27 '20 at 12:49
  • @JACK Oh yes. Many times. I've used at least 2 bottles of enzyme cleaner in an attempt to remove the odor. I might give it one more go with the wetvac specifically, but I think it's just so deep in the floor it won't come out.
    – Marisa
    Jul 27 '20 at 14:33

It's not clear whether you'd like to keep the hard floor after your friend departs, but you might consider vinyl plank flooring. It would be much quicker and simpler and can be quite beautiful. You'd simply remove the carpet, install 1/4" underlayment plywood, and stick down the vinyl.

Modern vinyl plank flooring is quite durable and attractive. Don't let the name make you think it'll look cheap. Select a product that's self-sealing at the joints. You can cut it with a knife (straight single cuts) or a jigsaw (curved or compound cuts) and it doesn't require grouting.

If you do want to use ceramic or porcelain tile you'll probably need to add at least 1/2" to your subfloor. You need a minimum of 1-1/4" to prevent cracking of grout joints and the tile itself.

Also, I'd consider a full rectangle. You'll find that your carpet suffers less wear and soiling if you have enough room to enter and remove footwear before making contact. This is a common strategy in snowy climates. You could also do a clipped corner if it protrudes into your space too far. That would still be easier than cutting curves and fitting your carpeting to it.

  • 1
    After talking it over with the other half, we decided to just go for broke and replace all of the carpet with vinyl flooring. When we looked at the work and math involved it just was less of a headache. In addition, when we cut back the carpet to allow it to dry prior to install, we found tile (!) beneath the carpet! So luckily we had that waterproof surface protecting the subfloor for us. Plus it was very easy to clean up what had been hiding beneath the carpet pad so we have a clean slate for the new flooring.
    – Marisa
    Jul 28 '20 at 15:15

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