For leveling and finishing your concrete floors, everyone can consider thinking of using floor leveling compound starting from now. This way, there are two types of products described with the different names. Those are floor leveling compound and self-leveling compound. Practically, they are nearly similar, making them used interchangeable very often.
The minor difference between the two lays on the use of tool in doing the projects. Floor leveling compound can be finished using tools while the self-leveling compound uses no tools at all.
This time, this article is going to discuss more about floor leveling compound especially about the types and other related information.
You will comprehensively discover what kinds or the materials, how to use them and the best floor leveling compounds that are available at Lowes and other home improvement stores.
Pros and cons will also be included along with the frequently asked questions.
Floor Leveling Compound and Its Usage
The materials of floor leveling compound basically combines strength for the permanency with the liquidity level that is required for the finishing process using only minimal tool or even no tools.
Each floor leveling offered by Home Depot and other retailers typically comes with a unique mix. This way, they share two ingredients; Portland cement and polymers/plasticizers.
This mix provide the concrete leveling compound with the compressive strength of thicker and traditional concrete along with the ability to stand out though poured in a thin layer of material.
Floor leveling compound is almost used to make a consistent and level subfloor for not only wood but also tile, vinyl and other flooring types. It offers a low area of concrete floor up to the level of flooring around.
You can also use this compound on the subfloor with the radiant heating system. Further, this compound is able to form a smooth and level the top over your existing concrete in a poor condition.
Preparing, Pouring and Finishing Floor Leveling Compound
If you are wondering how to work with the floor leveling compound project, this section will get you covered. For whatever projects, reading the instructions clearly is primarily important.
Thus, you must also clearly read on the instructions in purchasing any bag of leveling concrete.
Here are the tools and supplies you must make them ready for the need of preparation:
- A mop or shop vacuum.
- For DIY floor leveling compound application, it is recommended that you prepare a 15-gallon of mixing barrel.
- Measuring pitcher to help you add the mix to the barrel before you add the water.
- Mixing paddle along with the shaft of 20” or more. Plus, an oval mixing head should be ready with.
- Standard drill for driving the paddle for small batches along with the mixing drill for 10-gallon or the other larger batches.
- Squeegee or spreader to push the floor leveling compound into its position and smooth it.
- Finishing trowel to create a smooth finished surface on the floor.
- Spike shoes that can be used to walk onto the leveling compound that has been already poured during the troweling process of the flooring surfaces.
- Concrete surface primer that you can apply on the concrete surfaces, ensuring a good bond between the leveling material and the existing floor. However, this depends on the size of the area, a brush, a broom or roller for immediate cleaning.
If you want to use a floor leveling compound kit, you can purchase it at most of the home improvement stores or on online retailers.
The common popular kit is usually the 7-piece of Kraft Tool self-leveling tool kit. This tool is currently sold at Home Depot with the price of $149 without a drill.
How much floor leveling compound you will need actually depends on the size and depth of the dips you are going to fill as well as the thickness of the topping you want to install.
Here is a rough guide based on the 100 square foot leveling along with the various depths:
- 1/8” – 100 to 120lbs of mix
- ¼” – 200 to 240lbs of mix
- ½” – 400 to 480lbs of mix
- 1” – 800 to 960lbs of mix
This calculation is featuring the TEC brands only but the leveling compound brands are similar in their coverages.
It is recommended that you purchase more bags of mix than the actual amount you need in order that you can finish the project when the compound is still wet.
In this case, most DIYers are surprised at how thin the materials resulted when they are mixed in an appropriate ratio to water.
Well, this is just common. You will feel amazed at the materials toughness and durability when it thickens and cures.
Here are the full directions from the early steps to the finishing ones. Follow them carefully and correctly in order to get the best result of floor leveling.
Most of the directions come with the basic steps for doing the project.
- Clean the area by sweeping and mopping to free up from dirt and debris.
- Tape craft paper to any wall adjoining the floor you are going to level.
- Tape over the seams in OSB subfloor or plywood.
- A cardboard collar must be installed around the vents and drains so that the liquid can out.
- Add rubber strip dams or wood at the doorways when you pour the floor leveling concrete in the whole areas.
- Prepare the dry mix bag for the large project. Do it by cutting the bag’s opening and pour it fast into your mixing barrel.
- Add amount of water for your batch based on the prescription.
- Use paddle and drill to completely blend the material.
- Pour the compound in small areas which is 12” – 24” strips starting at the spot furthest from the exit point. Later, in your large area, pour an entire barrel into the low area.
- Push the compound into its place and smooth it. Use this steps with spreader or squeegee.
- Finish the surface using a concrete finishing tool.
- Stay off the new surface for at least 6 hours depending on the recommendation on the packaging.
- Clean all the tools as soon as you finish the project to prevent the compound from hardening on those tools. Once the compound dry, it would be very difficult to clean.
- In a large area, use a level to check whether the surface is level. Mark the areas that are still low and add additional material to level them.
If you level your floor using the self-leveling compound, one thing to concern bigly is that you must not pour at more compound than is needed to fill the space.
Otherwise, excess can be scooped up with a flat shovel and potentially fail.
Types of Floor Leveling Compound With Pros and Cons
As we have mentioned, there are two types of floor leveling compound. Each of them comes with the pros and cons as you can check out as follows:
Floor Leveling Compound
Floor leveling compound is any mix used to fill not only the low areas but also some imperfections. It can also be used as a top coat to the existing flooring. Using this kind of leveling requires the use of tools.
It is more superior than the self-leveling compound due to its finish layer that is smooth and acid-stains. It can be used as underlayment as well.
Finishing the concrete need a high skill and tools. For most DIYers, this kind of leveling compound is not too attractive.
Self-Leveling Floor Compound
This leveling compound is considered easier to install since there is no tool used in doing the jobs. Or, only minor tooling will be required to finish the floor leveling. The materials are usually called as self-leveling concrete and self-leveling underlayment.
Self-leveling floor compound comes with the easy use as a DIY underlayment. This compound is better to use for covering the radiant heat tubing.
The resulted surface will not be as smooth as you wish since you use no tool in finishing the concrete surface.
The Best Floor Leveling Products, Cost and Where to Purchase
Once you feel interested to use the floor leveling compound to finish your concrete floors, the next information you should grab is about the best floor leveling you must purchase, the cost and where you purchase it.
So here are some best products that are very much recommended:
LevelQuick RS Sel-Leveling Underlayment
This is water-based product that can be used under the tile, stone, vinyl, carpet and hardwood flooring. It is priced at about $32 per 50lb bag. You can buy it in Home Depot and ACE hardware. You can also purchase it online at Amazon.
MAPEI Self-Leveler Plus
This is also a water-based product to use as underlayment. It will be ready for tile in 24 hours and for wood in 48 hours. It is priced at about $30 per 50lb bag. This product is sold at Lowes and some local flooring stores.
TEC Gray and Silver Indoor Leveler
This product is not a self-leveling product. You can pour this compound up to 1.5” and finish it in 16 hours. This is a water-based TEC product sold at Lowes in $37 per 50lb bag.
Henry 555 Level Pro
Henry 555 Level Pro is one of the best floor leveling compound product used as underlayment over wood, tile and concrete. The cots is around $37 per 40lb bag at Home Depot.
Akona Self-Leveling Floor Underlayment
Akona comes as another water-based powder mix to use over concrete and plywood. No primer needed. It is available at Menards with price at $35 per 50lb bag.
Rutland Floor Level
One more product that is the best for your floor leveling is Rutland Floor Level. It is packed in a premixed tub. It is available at Amazon with the price of about $11 for 3.5lb bag and at Wal-Mart with the price at about $57 for 25lb tub.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
There is not information about the installation cost since the floor leveling compound projects are typically carried out in DIY options.
Concern whether there is still low area. So you must fill it with the compound to make it level.
Floor leveling compound will result in smoother surface than the self-leveling compound. So it depends on your choice. If you want a smooth result, you can choose the floor leveling compound.