Self leveling compounds are
ideal for smoothing out the dips in a concrete floor or wood subfloor.
Concrete Floor or Wood Subfloor
In order to properly apply a
self leveling compound to a subfloor you first need to make sure the subfloor is
both stable and spotless. It is important to note that self leveling compounds
will not add any stability to the subfloor. If the wood subfloor flexes, the
self leveling compound will break up and cause the ceramic floor tiles to become
loose and damaged. Consequently it is important that you have a solid subfloor
surface before you use any self leveling compounds.
Subfloors also need to be free
from dust and grime before applying self leveling compounds. Otherwise the self
leveling compound will not adhere well to the subfloor. Use a shop-vac, such as
Shop-Vac 962-16-00 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum, to first
pick up all the loose material on the subfloor. Second use a damp squeegee, mop
or sponge to lightly wash the subfloor.
In order for the self leveling
compound to adhere well to the subfloor, it is important that you roll or brush
on a special latex primer first. It is critical that the primer get into every
nook and cranny of the subfloor to ensure a good bond of the self leveling
Once the primer has been
applied let it thoroughly dry before applying the self leveling compound.
Identifying the low Areas of the Subfloor
a framing square or straight edge, such as a level, slide it over the subfloor
looking for valleys. Use a pencil to mark / circle the low areas. This is where
you will want to first apply the self leveling compound.
Preparing the Self Leveling Compound
First, self leveling compounds set up extremely fast. You will have only about
10-20 minutes of total time to mix, pour and feather out the self leveling
compound, once you mix the product with water. Consequently make sure you have
ALL the materials and tools you will need to mix, pour and spread the self
mix the self leveling compound read the directions first for the particular
product you are using. Make sure you follow any safety procedures while working
with the product, as it is usually unsafe to breath in the self leveling
mix the material it is best to use a power drill, such as the
DEWALT DC759KA Heavy-Duty 18-Volt Ni-Cad 1/2-Inch Cordless Drill/Driver Kit, with a mixing hook as this will
help speed up the mixing time. You will want to mix the self leveling compound
with water in a clean bucket. Typically it is best to use cold, or even ice
water (without the ice), when mixing in the self leveling compound material.
This will help to extend the working time of the self leveling compound mixture.
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properly mixed, the mixture will have a loose soupy consistency. If it is too
thick, it will harden very fast and it will probably be unusable. Make sure when
mixing that you scrape around the inside edges of the bucket to ensure the self
leveling compound material is fully mixed with the water. Note: you should limit
the mixing time to just 2 to 3 minutes to ensure you have enough time to pour
and spread it.
Applying the Self Leveling Compound
the mixture is of the right consistency pour it into the low areas that you
circled with your pencil. Allow the mixture to fan out a little bit, then use a
trowel or squeegee to lightly smooth it out. Again you will only have 10 minutes
or so to spread and work the mixture, so time is of the essence.
not attempt to add additional water to the mixture to try to loosen it up. This
will cause the self leveling compound to cure improperly and will lead to it
breaking up. Again, focus on working quickly with the spreading of the material.
about 30 minutes or so, the self leveling compound will be pretty much set.
Typically within two to four hours you will be able to walk on it. The ceramic
floor tile can usually be applied over the self leveling compound within 12-24
hours after the self leveling compound has been applied to the subfloor.
spreading out the self leveling compound remember to immediately wash out your
bucket and tools with water. Otherwise your bucket and tools will permanently
have self leveling compound glued to them.
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