Hey fh -
Self leveling is pretty easy stuff to work with. If you prep right, it
won't be messy.
Keep in mind...NONE of this stuff is rocket science. And you CAN do
it. Maybe not as fast but you can do it. Having said that, it also
depends on the particular job. The real question is...do you really
want to do it, or are you wanting to save yourself a buck. Like I
said, if you are more interested in trying to save a buck, I'd
probably have a floor/carpet guy/gal come out to do it. Fairly
routine for them, they will have the right tools and they will knock
it out rather fast and it probably wouldn't cost that much. But get
an estimate, then price out the materials if you do it yourself and
if the difference is significant, give it a shot! If not, let the pro
If you really WANT to do it (I do enjoy doing this stuff, so it is not
so much of a money saving thing for me. Sometimes smaller jobs, after
you buy all the stuff you need, may not save you that much, so it
becomes more of a fun project). Buy a video or book on flooring. They
all have pix on how to put down self leveling concrete. It really is
pretty routine. Mix it in the bucket to specific consistancy, pour
out a small amount and trowel it smooth feathering the edges. Do all
the prepwork before you get started. Goggles, gloves - rubber medical
type, hat if your hair is long, knee pads, old clothes, 5 gallon
painter's bucket, drill with a long mixer attachement, trowel and
your mix. Pull up your carpet, roll it up, mark where you started.
Run a string from one corner of the floor diagonal to the next. Find
something like a cinderblock (or someone) to hold it down to the
floor in one corner while you hold it down on the opposite corner.
You will see the dip. Walk up to the point of the dip that is closest
to you. Take the string in your hand (while the other end is still
secured) pulling it taught and leaving it level to the ground. You
should be holding the string down on the outer edge of the low spot.
Then begin dragging the string across the low spot from left to right
marking the perimeter of the low spot. Thus you will draw an outline
around edge of the dip. I know this sounds like a pain, but this
will take about 5 minutes. Once you outline the perimeter of your low
spot. Mix your concrete, then pour the concrete in the center. Let if
flow out naturally. Depending on the flowability, if it is a little
thick, you may need to trowel it outwards from the center to your
perimeter lines. Lightly drag the trowel from the top of any high
spots pulling the concrete to the perimeter. Start out pouring less
until you get a feel for the area, the viscosity of your mix, where
the concrete flows, etc. You can always add more concrete. Keep in
mind it should flow more than you will have to spread. But if not, no
big deal, just spread with your trowel. Once it is smoothed out and
level by the naked eye, and it begins to harden slightly, do your
string test agian. It doesn't have to be perfect, but if its within
about 1/4" to 1/8 of inch, you will be fine. Then walk away and let
it dry. Once dry, roll the carpet back over and you are done. Now, I
have never tightened carpet but again...it ain't rocket science. But
read up on it first.
Remember, if you pour too much too soon, it may naturally spread
beyond your perimeter lines so start out with a small amount. Let it
flow naturally to test then use the trowel to spread. It may result
in you spreading beyond your original lines. But that's ok.
Like I said, I enjoy some of this stuff. But, if the cost to have
someone else to do it is within your budget, get someone to do it.
Let me know how it goes!
BTW, I hope this makes sense! It really is pretty routine. Especially
since you have a specific low spot.
Whoa, what a reply. I can't thank you enough for your time and
Sounds like this project would be pretty hard to screw up. I'll let
you know how it goes.
- posted on May 19, 2005, 3:15 am
One more thought. I would take a half day or so and research the
construction supply places in your area. See if your more local,
commercial type lumber/home supply place (not necessarily Home Depot
or Lowe's) carry a more commercial grade leveler. Keep in mind the
higher the viscosity of your mix (watery) the less durable. Easier to
apply perhaps, but it may not be as durable in a high traffic
situation. You should be fine with a carpet/carpet pad over the top,
but I might errr towards a thicker mix and better product. I am not
saying that the Home Depot/Lowe's type stuff is bad, it may be great,
but do some research. Sometimes, when buying this type of product,
paying a little more may be a good thing...And try and ask a nuetral
source, not someone who stands to "make a sale" by boasting their
Also, you may need a type of etching primer to put down on the
concrete slab before your pour the leveler. It's a matter of rolling
it on with a paint roller. Like I said, the mix should naturally
level out, and if it does, all you will need to do is trowel out the
edges to try and create a smooth transition. Even if the product you
purchase states No primer needed, do it anyway. Not that big of a
deal and will help the mix bond to the slab.
take a look at this link for an idea...