Is your concrete floor not level and you’re wondering how to level uneven concrete floor? Does it sag or tilt toward one side of the room? No worries, this article will run you through how to level a concrete floor with the self-leveling compound. Leveling concrete floor ain’t rocket science and DIY spirited person can handle it with proper planning.
Before you can begin leveling your concrete surface, you need to remove the clutter and wash the concrete floor. If it isn’t nailed down, remove it, otherwise, you may end up with a big mess. It’s always best to have enough room when working on the floors. Everything on it is most likely on the way.
Once you have everything out of the room or off area, it is time to thoroughly clean the surface. Take a stiff-bristled boom and sweep the concrete floor. Sweep in the corners to remove dirt and other debris. The surface has to be clean before you can apply the primer and self-leveling compound or it will not adhere properly.
Plan A: Wash The Concrete Floor
Once the surface has been swept, it is time to clean the surface of your concrete foundation. One way to clean it is to use a mixture of TSP, otherwise known as trisodium phosphate. Combine 1/ 2 cup of TSP with 2 gallons of hot water. This mixture will remove all of the grease and dirt that the broom missed or could not remove.
Scrub the concrete floor with a mop. It is important to wear gloves when using TSP. This is a powerful cleaner and is not will burn the skin if it comes in contact. It is also a good idea to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. If the concrete is in a room in your home, make sure you have adequate ventilation. Turn on a fan and open the windows and doors to carry the fumes away.
Once you have the entire concrete floor cleaned, it is time to rinse it. Fill another bucket with clean warm water and then use a mop to rinse the TSP off the foundation. When the water becomes dirty, change it. You don’t want to rinse the floor with dirty water or you won’t accomplish anything other than spreading the dirt around.
Let the concrete dry now.
Plan B: Grinding concrete floor with hand grinder
Another way to prepare the floor is by grinding it with the machine. If this route is chosen, it’s best that you have a good construction vacuum available and a floor grinder that can bite into the concrete. There are many kinds of floor grinders so it’s good to check the size of the floor and make a decision based on that. The bigger grinders need a little bit of practice to use so I don’t recommend that if you haven’t touched one before.
After you are done with the grinding the floor needs to be cleaned carefully with the vacuum. All the dust in there will only weaken the adhering of the concrete self-leveling compound.
Repair concrete cracks
Before you can level the concrete, you need to fix any holes or cracks that are in the existing surface. There are more than one ways to do this, but I’ve chosen two options again.
The first option is to use a latex concrete caulk that fits into a calk gun. Fill the holes or cracks with the caulk and then take a trowel to remove any excess. Apply and leave it to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.
The second option is to use a mortar mix to fix the cracks and holes. We mix a little bit in a bucket and go through all the cracks and holes with a trowel. Remember to leave the concrete surface level so there are no bumps there that will distract us when we do the leveling.
When the latex concrete caulk or mortar mix on the concrete has dried, it is time to apply the concrete primer. Stir the primer well before using it to ensure that it will stay on the cement. The primer is applied with a paintbrush or roller. If you have a large area, a roller will do the job in a shorter amount of time and it will be easier on your back. Read the manufacturer’s directions to know how long the primer needs to dry before proceeding.
Find the low areas
Discover the areas where the floor is unlevel. This is done by placing a leveling bar on the floor and moving it across the cement. Make a mark on the low or uneven sections, so you know where to pour the self-leveling adhesive. Red is a pretty good color that can be noticed on the concrete when marking.
Apply self-leveling adhesive compound
Attach a mixer hook up to your drill. Read the directions for the proportions of self-leveling adhesive compound and water to use. Pour a little bit of water into the adhesive and mix with the drill attachment. Do not pour all the water in at once. The amount of water needed is different with every bag. It also depends on the amount of humidity in the air.
You need to mix it for few minutes and let it sit after that for a few minutes more. It will feel thicker after a while, but when you mix it once more quickly it should have all the needed properties now. Check the bag instructions as I’m giving notes on general memory.
When the self-leveling adhesive compound is the right consistency, pour the floor leveling compound over concrete. Try to pour the mixture evenly and in straight lines across your concrete floor. Don’t dally in this step because you don’t want the compound to set up before you finish.
You usually don’t have to spread it out too much because gravity will cause the compound to flow and fill in the uneven areas. You can maneuver it and smooth it by using a concrete trowel or rake.
If you’re doing the whole floor it’s good to level those unlevel spots first. Then you let it harden and depending on the hardening time, do the whole floor over the next day. It all depends on the properties of the self-leveling compound, how thick can it level.
All that’s left now is to wait for the floor to harden and cure. This takes several days and it is very important that no one or nothing walks on the surface until it is completely dry. Consult the label directions for the length of time you have to wait. After the time is up, the floor is ready to be used.
Uneven floors aren’t only the problem of the old floors. Sadly some new floors are poured unprofessionally or there might be some accidents during the pour.
The good thing is, we can use self-leveling compound over new concrete as well. It’s really a saving product if you have to install floorings that need to be installed on level ground like vinyl.