Using concrete floor leveling compound

Using concrete floor leveling compound


Since you’re here, there is a high chance your concrete floor needs to be leveled, and you’re wondering how to level uneven concrete floor. There might even be a situation that sags or tilts toward one side of the room.

Depending on how it happened, the situation might feel overwhelming. The more money involved, the worse it feels.

No worries, this article will teach you how to level a concrete floor with the self-leveling compound. Leveling concrete floors isn’t rocket science, and a spirited person who doesn’t fear mixing and spreading the compound can handle it with proper planning.

Before leveling your concrete surface, 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 clean the surface thoroughly. Take a stiff-bristled boom and sweep the concrete floor. Sweep in the corners to remove dirt and other debris.

The surface must be clean before applying the primer and self-leveling compound, or it will not adhere properly. What doesn’t adhere properly will come off with time, and for me, that means wasted money and time even more if you process the floor further with floor coatings, etc.

Now, there are at least two ways to go about this, depending on where your floor is: washing and grinding. Both will work out fine; I prefer grinding, depending on how uneven the floor is.

Tips before starting

As always, there are some tips for easy success that people new to working with cement products might not think of.

  1. The self-leveling compound bag must be dry. If it’s not dry, there is a high chance of cured bits mixing in that will mess up your pour. Usually, these moist bags are at the bottom of the pallet, near the ground at the store.
  2.  Get a big bucket that comfortably fits the mix of dry bags and water needed. It has to have a level bottom so it will mix well, and it must be able to handle the mixing. These usually cost little as they are consumables in construction.
  3.  Use warm, clean hand warm tap water for mixing. Unclean water will make a nonoptional compound mix.
  4.  You only mix the product once. The cement-to-water ratio is a must to follow for strong cement bonding. If you combine more water after using the compound, it will have more water than the part you used before so that it will be weaker.
  5.  Have all your tools ready before you start mixing. You have a time limit that you want to avoid using time searching tools.
  6.  Your time limit is unforgiving; after a specific time, the product is unusable. For that reason, plan the pour well so the compound will level.
  7.  For broad areas, a trowel might not be as good a tool as a wide plastic squeegee for spreading the compound. I use that for all sizes of rooms as it enables me to stand straight.

Plan A: Wash The Concrete Floor

Once the surface has been swept and there are only a few uneven surfaces, it is time to clean the surface of your concrete foundation. One way to clean it is to use a TSP mixture or trisodium phosphate.

Combine 1/ 2 cup of TSP with 2 gallons of hot water. This mixture will remove all the grease and dirt the broom missed or could not remove.

Scrub the concrete floor with a mop. It is essential to wear gloves when using TSP. This is a powerful cleaner that will burn the skin if it comes in contact.

Wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes is also a good idea. If the concrete is in a room in your home, ensure adequate ventilation. Turn on a fan and open the windows and doors to carry the fumes away.

Once the entire concrete floor is 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 contaminated water, or you won’t accomplish anything other than spreading the dirt around.

Let the concrete dry now.

Plan B: Grinding concrete floor with a hand grinder

Another way to prepare the floor is by grinding it with the machine. If this route is chosen, it’s best to have a good construction vacuum and a floor grinder that can bite into the concrete.

There are many kinds of floor grinders, so it’s good to check the floor’s size and decide based on that. The more giant grinders need a little practice, so I don’t recommend that if you haven’t touched one before.

When should we choose this route? I’d do mechanical grinding when there are a lot of uneven surfaces. There are bumps on the floor and other things like that.

The self-leveling compound is fast to use, but it’s no miracle maker and can’t cover spots much higher than the rest of the floor.

After you finish 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 must fix any holes or cracks in the existing surface. There is more than one way 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 no bumps will distract us when 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 it stays 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 less time and be easier on your back. Read the manufacturer’s directions to know how long the primer needs to dry before proceeding.

Not all products need the primer; you should check what your self-leveling compound manufacturer says about their product.

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 good color that can be noticed on the concrete when marking.

Concrete self leveling products will help you with making a very level ground

Apply self-leveling adhesive compound.

Attach a mixer hook up to your drill. Read the directions for the proportions of the self-leveling adhesive compound and water to use.

Pour some water into the adhesive and mix with the drill attachment. Only pour some of the water in at a time. 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 a few minutes and let it sit for a few more minutes. It will feel thicker after a while, but when you combine it once more quickly, it should have all the needed properties now. Check the bag instructions as I’m giving notes on general memory.

NOTE: Check your product to avoid using a curing self-leveling compound. These are not for beginners as they must be mixed and spread fast.

When the self-leveling adhesive compound is the right consistency, pour the floor-leveling compound over the concrete. 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 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 uneven areas. You can maneuver and smooth it using a concrete trowel or rake.

If you’re doing the whole floor, leveling those extreme unlevel spots first is good. Then you let it cure, and, depending on the curing time, do the floor the next day. It all depends on the properties of the self-leveling compound and how thick it can level.

If the area size is something you can handle and the product label says it can level that much, you can also do it in one go. It can be a little more challenging, though.

All that’s left now is to wait for the floor to harden and cure. This takes several days, and no one or nothing must walk on the surface until it is scorched. 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.


Having uneven floors can be a major problem, especially with older floors. But even if you have new floors, you may encounter issues due to unprofessional pouring or accidents that occurred during the pour. 

The good news is that you can use self-leveling compounds on new concrete to create a level surface. This is an excellent solution that can save you money, especially if you need to install floorings that require level ground, such as vinyl. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that self-leveling compounds are made of cement. As a result, they cure into a rigid surface that cannot be sanded conveniently. If you need to smooth out the surface, you’ll need mechanical tools to do so. Planning the project properly before starting is highly recommended. 

If you decide to do the project yourself, planning can save you time during the working phase. So, take your time, plan it out properly, and enjoy your new level flooring!