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So, you recently noticed some low spots in your flooring, and you want to repair them before they get worse. Using a floor leveler is a quick fix when your floor is bumpy and you have dips on the surface. Still, you may be wondering how thick the floor leveler should be?
Your floor leveler should be 2-3 mm (0.07-0.11 inches) thick, but you can pour it up to 5 mm (0.2 inches) thick if required. Millimeters may not seem like a difference-maker, but even the slightest change can make or break your home improvement projects.
So let’s level out your floor together and get everything straightened out! I’ll walk you through the steps and tell you what you need to know about the proper way to level your floor.
When Should You Pour Floor Leveler?
You should pour floor leveler if you have some low points or dips on your floor. You can test for slants and dips using a level and measure them to determine where you need to pour floor leveler.
So, if you notice that there are low points on your floor, it is always a good idea to measure them and fix them with a floor leveler. If you leave the problem for later, you may ultimately damage your floor, and it may continue to sink.
However, if most of your floor is even, but some points are taller than the rest, you will likely need to modify your flooring material. If you have wood floors, this task is simple. All you need to do is sand down the flooring.
Still, not all floors are created equal, and some pose more significant obstacles than others. You may need to remove some material from the floor’s foundation if you have floorings such as carpet or vinyl.
The Uses of Floor Leveling Compound
Though every floor leveling compound has its unique mix, they all share two ingredients: Portland cement and polymers or plasticizers. This powerhouse combination allows concrete floor leveling compounds to hold together no matter the situation and how little you use.
So what are some of the uses of floor leveling compounds? Here are a few of its many uses:
- Filling in a low area, so it matches the level of the rest of the floor
- Giving new life to a pre-existing concrete or plywood floor that is in poor condition
- Protective covering for in-floor heat systems
- Create a consistent subfloor for tile, vinyl, wood, and other floor types
- Used as a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from seeping into your floor
How To Level Your Floor
As mentioned above, most floors have variations, which is normal. However, if you have started noticing highs and lows on your floor, it is time to even them out. These differences can cause accidents, like trips and falls, leading to injury. So, if you want to avoid a trip to the emergency room, here is how to fix those highs and lows.
To start, you’ll need a level to measure the dips on your floor. If you notice drops or slants 5mm (0.2 in) or less, you can use a floor leveler to straighten the area.
For the high points of your floor, first, check for any loose flooring pieces. If there are any, make sure to nail them back down.
Once all the loose pieces are nailed down, sand down those high points until everything is even and smooth. Make sure to clean up afterward to admire your hard work and a job well done.
However, if your floor has significantly low troughs, you’ll need to fill those holes. Instead of subtracting what is already there, you have to add to it.
The easiest way to level a floor involves using a self-level compound. This compound uses gravity to smooth out any low points in the subfloor.
To use this material, you will need to remove your flooring material (such as your carpet, wood, or vinyl). Then, you can mix and pour the floor leveler into the dips on your floor. Then, you will need to make sure everything is smooth using a level and a scraper.
Then once it is dry, you can put your flooring back over the top, and everything will be good as new.
How To Ensure That Your Floor Leveler Sets Evenly
Ensuring an even set to your floor leveler is crucial for any floor leveling project. After all, no one wants to put in all those hours of hard work just for it not to set properly!
So here’s how to ensure that your floor leveler sets evenly:
- Make sure that you have removed all debris and dirt from the area. Even one tiny piece of wood can mess up the level of your floor.
- Mix your floor leveler beforehand and mix more of it than you need. If you have to prepare more of it later, the mix could be inconsistent with the previous batch, leading to an uneven floor.
- Use caulk or tape to block off the OSB subfloor or plywood.
- To fix small areas, pour the compound in 12”-24” (30- 61 cm) lateral stripes at the farthest spot from the room’s entrance or exit point. To fix larger areas, pour the entire barrel into the low place.
- Give the compound an initial smoothing with a spreader or squeegee.
- Go in for another smooth with a concrete finishing tool.
- Ensure the new surface remains undisturbed for as long as the package recommends. The standard length of time is usually 6 hours.
- Use a level to check the areas you filled in and see if they are level with the surrounding areas. If they are, pat yourself on the back for a well-done job. If they are not, apply more leveling compound as needed and repeat the spreading process.
If this does not seem like a project you can conquer on your own, talking to a floor leveling expert or contractor is a great idea. These experts can advise you on what materials to use for this project and the best way to go about it.
Do not be afraid to ask for professional advice with projects such as these. They are experts for a reason, and when it comes to leveling your floor, one millimeter can make a huge difference.
The floor leveler should be thin and should not exceed 5mm (0.2 in) thick. If you layer it too high, it may not work for long, and you’ll eventually have to replace your entire floor and possibly your foundation. However, if your foundation is slanted, a floor leveler is the easiest fix to those dips.
Making sure your floor is ready for installation is vital to having beautiful and even floors. So stop that groaning, roll up those sleeves, and get to work. Those floors are unable to even themselves out.
- Bob Vila: How To Level a Floor: What To Know Before You DIY
- The Home Flooring Pros: Floor Leveling Compound
- The Home Depot: How to Level a Floor
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.