How To Use Self Leveling Concrete (Video Tutorial)

Amazing! How To Use Self Leveling Concrete (Video Tutorial)

Information about How To Use Self Leveling Concrete (Video Tutorial)

Phil Puccio

How to use self-leveling concrete

Self-leveling concrete is used to renew and level damaged or uneven concrete floors.

Some self-levelers, like the one I use here, can even be used for outdoor concrete repairs and a finished wear surface for pedestrians or vehicles.

Then there are some that are only suitable for indoor use as a base for other types of new flooring.

This guide will walk you through the basics of preparing your concrete and mixing and applying the self-leveling concrete.

Check out the video at the bottom of this page to see how I lay self-leveling concrete!

Recommended tools for laying self-leveling concrete

To get the best results, you need the right tools!

Below is a list of the tools I use and recommend when using self-levelers.

  1. Mixing paddle
  2. Mixing drum
  3. Heavy duty drill
  4. Spreading tool
  5. Smoother tool
  6. measuring cup
  7. Baseball or soccer shoes

Here’s a really good one Self-leveling kit That has all the tools you need besides the drill bit.

Here’s how to prepare your concrete for a self-leveling putty knife

How to prepare for self-leveling concreteI use a 4.5 inch hand sander to prepare the concrete

For best results and adhesion, your concrete must be fully cured (at least 28 days old) and free from moisture issues such as efflorescence, hydrostatic pressure, or condensation.

The surface of the concrete must be clean, i.e. no sealants, grease, oils, paints, adhesives or other materials that prevent adhesion.

It is not recommended to acid-etch the concrete, use adhesive remover, or solvent cleaners to clean and prepare the concrete.

Mechanical profiling of the concrete by either grinding or shot peening is the best way to prepare the concrete for self-leveling concrete. (You will see us dragging in the video)

I personally grind all of my concrete floors beforehand. I use either a 4 or 7 inch hand grinder with a diamond cup wheel and vacuum attachment, or a large hand-held grinder for larger floors.

I find that sanding does both cleaning and profiling at the same time. After that, I vacuum the floor clean and repair it if necessary.

Dealing with joints and moving cracks

FOR EXTERIOR CONCRETE:

You need to account for any joints or “active” cracks in the exterior concrete.

What does that mean? Well what I do is go right over the joint or crack, BUT I always saw a new connection cut right over the old one Check the joint or crack and fill it with flexible sealant.

If you don’t re-cut the existing joint or crack, even the slightest movement will be transmitted up through the self-leveler, creating a hairline crack.

PRO TIP: If the joint or crack is wider than 1/8 “, you can fill it with dry masonry sand before using the self-leveler. This will prevent the self-leveler from disappearing into the joint or crack.

FOR INTERIOR CONCRETE:

Sawn control joints must be reworked as above and then cut again.

Most of the cracks inside won’t move if it’s a heated room. In this case, the crack can be repaired and bridged without sawing it open again.

Repair damaged concrete before using a self-leveling filler

If you have deep spots, holes, or chips in your concrete, it is best to repair them before resurfacing with a self-leveling concrete.

i like to use Sacrete Top & Bond or sacreta Pro-Mix all-purpose cement mix to do my concrete repairs.

The Top & Bond is for repairs from a feather edge to a depth of 1/2 inch and the Pro-Mix repairs damaged concrete from a feather edge to a depth of 10 cm.

Both can be easily mixed and applied. Smooth it out during use or sand it down the next day and you’re ready for the self-leveler.

Do you need a primer before the flow concrete?

Do I need a primer for self-leveling concrete?I apply a primer before using self-leveling concrete

Yes, you do need to apply an adhesive primer before laying self-leveling concrete. Each manufacturer has their own primer depending on which self-leveler you are using.

The primer does a couple of things:

  1. It creates a really good bond between the self-leveling concrete and your existing concrete.
  2. It fills the capillaries in the existing concrete and prevents the outgassing of bubbles in the self-leveler.

You can apply the primer with a soft brush. Either dip the brush in the primer (in a bucket) or pour the primer into small puddles on the floor and brush around. Get it as evenly as possible.

For really porous concrete (like swept clean) you should apply two coats of primer. Let the first coat dry, then apply the second.

how to mix self-leveling concrete

How to mix self-leveling concreteWe mix 2 bags of self-leveling concrete at the same time

Each manufacturer has its own water requirement per bag of self-leveling device. Make sure you are using the correct amount of water and not more or you will end up with soft spots.

BASIC MIXING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First put the measured amount of water in your mixing bucket (usually 4.5 to 5 liters per bag)
  2. Next, dispense the bag of self-leveling while you mix at full speed
  3. Mix for at least 2 or 3 minutes (you may need to stop and scrape the inside of the bucket to remove any dry powder that builds up around the edges). Keep mixing until you don’t see any more lumps.
  4. After it’s mixed thoroughly (should look like pancake batter), pour it onto the concrete where you start.

FOR LARGE AREAS:

You may want to mix 2 bags at a time to cover more area. You may also want a second mixing bucket to speed up the process. You want at least 2 guys / gals to mix up to get a wet edge and make the process go smoothly.

how to apply self-leveling concrete

How to install self-leveling concrete

Pour the mixture from the bucket onto your concrete.

Use the spreader to agitate the mixture and bring it to the right thickness.

It’ll level itself for the most part, but it takes a little help to spread.

If necessary, use the smoothing tool to remove any lines left by the spreader.

MY EXPERIENCE: I didn’t need a smoother in the video. I just moved the self-leveler around with a magic trowel (like a squeegee) and it leveled and smoothed itself on its own. (as in the picture on the top of the page) and the picture below.

How to distribute self-leveling concrete

Work your way from side of work to the other, keeping a wet edge.

This Sakrete self-leveler Had a work time of 15-20 minutes so making this 480 square foot room was really easy.

This floor was about an inch off level and the self-leveling concrete worked wonderfully to level the floor. (The video shows you my method of leveling a very uneven concrete floor)

How thick can you use self-leveling concrete?

Different manufacturers have their own thickness specifications for placing self-leveling concrete.

This one that I use (Sakrete Fast Setting Self-Leveling Resurfacer) can be used from 1/8 “to 1 inch thick.

Some can get thicker (up to 2 “) if you add pea stone to the mixture.

You can also top it over with more self-leveling concrete after it hardens if need be. (Just use a primer between coats)

How much does a 50 pound bag of self-leveling cover?

In general, the cover rate for a 50 pound bag of 1/8 inch thick self-leveling concrete is 44 square feet.

With a 1/4 “thickness, the coverage rate is 22 sq. Ft.

For a 3/8 “thickness, the coverage rate is 16.5 sq. Ft.

For a 1/2 “thickness, the coverage rate is 11 sq. Ft.

If the thickness is 1 inch, the coverage rate is 5.5 square feet.

can you use self-leveling concrete as a finished floor?

There are some self-levelers that are designed for EXTERIOR use, like the one I use. These types of outdoor self-levelers can also be used as a finished concrete floor.

Sakrete Fast Setting Self-Leveling Resurfacer can be used as a finished floor.

Ardex K-301 can also be used as a finished wear surface.

You need to apply the correct concrete sealers to both products to protect the floor (and remember that the surface is very smooth and can be slippery when wet).

Is Self-Leveling Concrete Strong?

The Sakrete self-leveling resurfacer is rated 7000 psi. That’s stronger than most concrete floors, driveways, and patios. So yes, this one is very strong.

Ardex K-301 is rated at 4300 psi, also stronger than most concrete that is poured (at least residential concrete)

Quikrete self-leveling floor remover is rated for 2000 psi and should only be used as a base for indoor floors. (just to level the floor, then apply a finished floor over it) So not strong enough as a finished usable area, but good for leveling a floor.

Watch me install Sakrete’s self-leveling concrete


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