Restoration & Refurbishment Question

Bad smell appearing in different parts of the house.

We live in an old Victorian terraced house in London. Next door started a complete refurbishment about 3 months ago. Ever since we've noticed a weird smell.

At first it came from under the floor boards on the landing, then downstairs in the hallway. Now its in the kitchen near the fridge. When you open the fridge it really hits you.

I've bleached the fridge twice, thinking it could some spilt milk gone off. But it's weird how we've previously had the same smell in different parts of the house.

I've googled it and asked friends and family. People seem to think it could be dead mice or rats under the floor boards???

I don't have a clue what to do about it - I know you guys don't really deal with this type of thing but you must have come across it at some point? Any ideas what I should do - or what it could be?

Thanks for your time guys.


Out of curiosity I pulled the fridge out last night - I did find quite a few mouse droppings behind there but couldn't smell anything coming up from the floor boards.

I'll nip next door this weekend and have a chat with my new neighbour. If I can't find any evidence that they are causing the smell, I'll have to put a call into my landlady to get rentokill out.

Thanks for your suggestions guys.

8 Answers

Best Answer

hi i did a job 2 months ago and rats had been in the loft, i had to clean the entire out , and it smelt really bad as we were doing this, also we had to wear proper PPI to do this , due to rats carrying disease , we filled 2 8ton skips with insulation and mess, this alone cost the customer £1450 , but it didnt end there it turned out the rats had gone throw the entire cavity walls and had made the house there home, the rats had full access to every room, and it all started from under a manhole cover that had been concreted over , it cost them in total nearly £9000 , i'd advise you to check everywhere you can and put traps round your home so you know if you have them or not, then contact a trusted builder and a ratman

jason fletcher

Answered 12th May 2011

Fletcher's Renovations

Member since 17 May 2009

I'm no expert, but if a full refurb is being done next door, the builders may have open soil pipes ie, taken the toilets off etc. This can let the gasses from the sewers rise and we get bad smells.

Or it could simply be dead animals

Or even worse, the workers could be urinating into the sub floor if there are no toilets on site, this will smell really bad.

Or it could be something else entirely.

The above are my experiences of bad smells on re furbs, horrible I know.

Answered 12th May 2011

Holcombe Building and Restoration Ltd

Member since 12 May 2011


You may ask your neighbours as what may happen is builders who worked there may put some ugly stuff because of non payment - like eggs, meat etc
I would suggest please get deatils of builders and then try to speak with them.

Answered 12th May 2011

Magic Builders Ltd

Member since 9 May 2011

If the smell has only been noticed since builders started work next door, I would suggest, it could be some chemicals they have used ie, damp proofing or timber treatment.
Best to pop round, introduce yourself, ask what works they are doing, and what they have carried out.
Some of those chemicals are quite strong and the smell will linger for days, its possibly timber treatment/woodworm chemicals, heavily sprayed.

Answered 12th May 2011


Member since 29 Oct 2008

I once had the same scenario at my home.
I had put some bait blocks down for a mouse problem and a smell very simular to sour milk appeared at the bottom of a stairs. after much cleaning i decided to remove a floorboard to uncover this area and lo and behold was a dead mouse.
after the carcase was removed the smell disappeared. Even though the carcase was a few months old the smell had carried on.
My opinion your google was right :)

Answered 12th May 2011

KB Home improvements

Member since 19 May 2010

Dead animals are a likely cause of the smell, the best thing to do is to try and take some floor boards up where the smell seems the worse to try and locate the cause. Try speaking to your neighbours to see if they are affected by the smell.
It is also possible that during the renovation of the property next door a soil pipe or could of been broken or damaged which could be releasing the smell, or maybe there aren't any stench pipes fitted on to the toilets. Also check to see if man holes near your property are sealed well enough.
Perhaps the local council could help.
Regards, James.

Answered 12th May 2011

Bricks And Mortar

Member since 12 Oct 2010

could be a burst or clogged up sewer pipe ,without knowing the extent of the work next door hard to say

Answered 12th May 2011


Member since 7 Jun 2008

is good to check with your neighbours what kind of work they have done it could be a underground pipe or manhol;e house they have damaged during the proces and now is blocked and all the spills from the services tube my end up under your house causing the bad smell,or worst it could be a gas leak ,is worth the while to check with your neighbour first and ask him
regards peter
dead mice don,t smell that strong and particularly when the next door start the refurb
regards peter

Answered 12th May 2011

C.F.C Ltd

Member since 11 Oct 2008

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