Seal The Odor Out

Does sealing the odor out work? I found the following statement that I will quote and then post a response to it.


Sealing or painting a surface to stop odor may seem like a good idea  with one coating company in paticular promoting the idea.    However, the idea  is really bad and will not work.  Once the science of odor is understood, sealing or painting a surface to  stop odor is just physically impossible.

This has to do with the size of the molecule your nose detects as odor and how paints and sealers dry.

The odor molecule is a gas molecule produced by the odor causing bacteria eating urine residue deposits.    It’s size is in the 2-5 micron size range.  A very small particle.

However, when a coating such as a sealer or paint  is applied, the solvent in the coating (water or oil based) needs to evaporate for the coating to dry.  The evaporation process leaves very small holes in the coating usually in the 25-45 micron size range.  This also is a very small hole  (cannot be seen by the naked eye), but compared to the 2-5 size micron odor molecule, it is indeed, very large.

Consequently, when the odor causing bacteria (eating the urine residue under the coating) release the odor molecule, it finds its way through the holes in the coating to your nose.  And thereby telling you, you just wasted your time and money coating the floor or wall.”


I agree in part with the statement. There are indeed some openings in any sealer that will allow gas to pass through. This gas can include odor molecules.  I would never suggest sealing as a total or stand alone treatment for odor. However, there are coating designed to greatly control emissions of odor. These are best used following cleaning or some other process to remove the source of odor.

If the cleaning removes 90 or 95% of the odor and the coating allows only 10% of what remains to escape, you have reduced potential odors by 99% or more. Usually to a degree that cannot be perceived by most people. If you had only applied the coating, it would still be 10% of the original odor.