How to level uneven concrete floor

How to level uneven concrete floor

Introduction

Are you looking for some helpful advice on how to level an uneven concrete floor? If so, I’m here to help!

Before you start, it’s essential to consider the floor’s intended use. For instance, if there’s a drainage pipe present, you’ll want to ensure the floor is tilted towards it so that any water can flow in the right direction.

If you’re dealing with an outdoor deck, the floor should be tilted away from your home to prevent water damage. However, for an indoor concrete floor without any drainage system, you’ll want to ensure it’s as level as possible. 

Suppose you notice any uneven spots on the surface that are several inches or centimeters high when checked with a screed or other straight tool. In that case, you may need to fill them with regular concrete and pour self-leveling compound on top.

However, it’s essential to address one scenario at a time. 

If you need help determining which scenario applies to you, please skip over the others. You never know; the information may still prove helpful!

Uneven concrete floor with drainage

Sometimes, there are areas in a building, such as balconies with water pipes, bathroom floors, and decks, that require proper drainage. The most crucial factor to consider is the area’s slope towards the drainage.

In the US, the slope should be a quarter of an inch per foot, while in the EU, it’s usually 1.5-2cm for every meter. The idea is to prevent water from accumulating on the surface and ensure the drainage pipe effectively carries the water away. 

Ideally, this should be done during the construction of the bathroom floor, when the compound is being spread and the floor heating system is being installed. However, the job may be done incorrectly, and the floor may need to slope towards the drainage. In such cases, there are two options available. 

If the drainage is lower than the rest of the floor, the floor can be ground to correct the slope. On the other hand, if the drainage is higher than the rest of the floor, the sides can be lifted with concrete or compound, allowing the floor to be appropriately tilted towards the drainage.

Solution for water drainage tilt

Here is my approach. While not the most efficient, it has worked for me.

When working in an environment that poses potential hazards, it is essential to prioritize personal protection. This can be achieved by wearing specific gear that offers different levels of protection for different body parts. 

  1. For instance, a breathing mask can help filter out harmful airborne particles, eye protection can prevent debris from entering the eyes, and ear protection can reduce exposure to loud noises that can cause hearing damage. 
  2. Safety shoes are also vital as they provide adequate protection to the feet against falling objects, electrical hazards, and sharp objects.
  3. It is also essential to wear clothes that can get dirty and withstand the wear and tear of the work environment. 
  4. Additionally, wearing working gloves with rubber hands and fingertips can help prevent cement burns, which can cause severe skin damage. These precautions allow you to avoid accidents and stay safe while working.

Tools:

I can help you clarify and improve the text you provided. Here’s an improved version:

Equipment:

  • Table saw
  • Angle grinder with dust head and diamond cup wheel
  • Construction vacuum cleaner

Steps:

  1. If the floor is bare concrete, use the angle grinder with the diamond cup wheel and construction vacuum cleaner to give it a slight grind. If surfacing occurs, remove it first and then give it a slight grind.
  2. Cut some wood to the correct length for the sides of the wall. If you need to lift the sides of the room by ½ inch or 1 cm, saw slices of wood to that thickness for all sides.
  3. Make a screed from wood or cut an aluminum screed to the correct length to work it comfortably from the drainage to the wall.
  4. Get a bucket, trowel, and spatula. Make a little compound and put it on the sides of the slices of wood you made. This will support and keep the slices in place.
  5. Mix more wet room compounds and screed them so that everything tilts towards the drainage from the highest points on the side.
Floor should tilt to the drainage, if it’s something like balcony then it should go towards water pipe.

In the future, when I have access to a more advanced drawing program, I can create a more elaborate design. However, I have done the best I can with the current program. I have included screeds on the side, which are wood, metal, or plastic strips used to level concrete or other materials. The drainage system is located at the lowest point in the middle to ensure that water flows away from the structure. 

Before proceeding with waterproofing, some float work is needed. Float work is smoothing and leveling a surface using a float tool. Once this is done, you should have the basics to start thinking about waterproofing, making a structure or object resistant to water penetration.

Uneven living space concrete floor

Undertaking this task could present several challenges, and the outcome largely depends on your next steps. Suppose you plan to install vinyl floors or any other type of flooring requiring a perfectly level surface. In that case, it is highly recommended that you engage the services of a professional. However, notice any high spots on your floor. In that case, it is advisable to even them out to prevent overspending on the self-leveling compound, which can be expensive. Previous flooring may have left some unevenness on the surface, so you may need to use some tools to achieve a level floor.

  • To complete this task effectively, we will need a floor grinder. Specifically, we need the type that is driven while standing and has a giant disc. It is worth noting that operating this tool requires skill, as many people try to use it with pure muscle power. However, finding balance is the key to efficient operation, as the tool works independently.
  • We must also have a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for construction work. The level of dust generated during the process will be intolerable otherwise.
  • We will need a big bucket with a level bottom if we deal with a large floor. Ideally, we should assign two people to this job. One person should mix the compound, and the other person should spread it around using a squeegee. Yes, that’s right, a squeegee with a long shaft can be used while standing.
  • It is also worth noting that a good spatula is necessary to roll the sides of the bucket. As some dry compound is always left on the sides, this will ensure that we don’t waste any material and do the job efficiently.

If you’re new to working with floor compounds, you should avoid buying a fast-curing one since it can be challenging. When you mix it, it hardens quickly, giving you little time to level it properly. This can result in a poorly finished surface that needs to be level and more uncomplicated. 

Instead, opting for a self-leveling compound with a longer curing time is best. This will give you enough time to pour and spread it evenly, ensuring you achieve a smooth surface. 

It’s worth noting that even experienced workers can find it challenging to work with fast-curing compounds. They can be tough to handle in hot weather conditions. 

So, to achieve the best results, taking it slowly is essential. Take your time with the process, and ensure you have enough time to work on each floor section. By doing this, you’ll achieve a professional-looking, level- and smooth finish.

You should try spread the self leveling compound from one end of the room to another, then go back at the start and do it again until you reach the end.
  1. To prepare the floor for a new flooring material, you will need to follow a few steps. Begin by grinding the floor with a vacuum cleaner attached. This will help remove any debris and unevenness on the floor’s surface. After grinding, vacuum the floor carefully to remove any dust that has settled in the concrete pores. Dust particles can weaken the adhesive, so it’s essential to ensure the surface is clean and debris-free.
  2. Once the floor is smooth and clean, you can mix the self-leveling compound according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure to stay within the recommended amount of water, which can result in a weaker compound. The amount of cement in the bag determines the water limit, so it’s crucial to follow the instructions carefully. If you add more water than instructed, the self-leveling compound may not adhere to the floor correctly, creating an uneven surface. Applying a surface with a firm suspension, such as epoxy, may also pop off the floor.
  3. To apply the compound, start from one end of the room and pour it on the floor, spreading it evenly until you reach the other end. Use a trowel to spread the compound and ensure that it is level. The compound should settle evenly thanks to gravity, but it’s advisable to check that it is evenly spread.
  4. After settling the compound, use fine-grit sandpaper to grind the surface slightly. This will help to create a smooth surface and remove any small bumps. It’s essential to be gentle when sanding to avoid damaging the compound. Once the sanding is complete, the floor is ready for the new flooring material, whether vinyl, laminate or another option.

Conclusion

The detailed explanations haven’t deterred you from attempting this task. Upon completion, you’ll experience an immense sense of pride and satisfaction. However, the most challenging aspect of this job is undoubtedly operating the grinding machine correctly and mastering the workflow of the self-leveling compound.

Regarding bathrooms and balconies, the materials usually have longer working times, allowing you to plan your work effectively. Nevertheless, one critical thing to remember is to remove any wooden benches that might be close to the wall before you begin. If you neglect to do this, the benches will become firmly stuck, and it will be challenging to remove them. I’ve learned this the hard way, and it’s a mistake you don’t want to make.

In conclusion, I wish you the best of luck if you decide to take on this task. And if you require any assistance or guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact me.