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How to level a concrete floor

Builders have been using concrete as an important building material because of its several advantageous features like firmness and durability. But concrete has its own problem. First of all, it may be noticed that even the best laid concrete floors get some sort of irregularities on the surface. Secondly, with passage of time the floor may develop high and low points on the surface. But the real problem arises when you decide to install some flooring material like carpet, wood or tiles over the concrete surface to renovate the floor. Sometime cracks, dips and humps may appear at the low and high points on the floor. This problem can be solved by leveling the concrete floor, it is not very difficult.

Complexity level: Moderate

Time Required: 16 – 20 hours

Resources Required:

1. Vacuum cleaner

2. Marker

3. Framing square or flat piece of lumber

4. Tarp or sheets

5. Concrete grinder

6. Face mask

7. Eye protection

8. Trowel or drywall taping knife

9. Latex bonding

10. Garden rake


1. Preparation of the floor:

The first step is to remove all the dust particles from the surface properly using a vacuum cleaner. A scraper can also be employed in order to remove the dust particles from the rough surface of concrete. Repeat it again to remove all the dust thoroughly. Then wash the surface with a pH-neutral cleanser to remove all type of grease and stains from the floor. It is then washed away with water and after that the surface is allowed to dry off.

2. Marking of low and high points:

Once the floor has been cleaned then use a framing square or straight flat piece of lumber to mark all the low and high points on the surface. For this purpose the flat piece of lumber is dragged all over the surface. For e.g. a high point is characterized by that place where the edges of the bar are above the surface but the center is still at its place. For the sake of convenience the high points can be marked as ‘X’ and low points as ‘O’ with a piece of a chalk.

3. Grinding off extra concrete:

A concrete grinder is employed for this purpose. All the points that have been identified as high are grind down with the help of a grinder. Then grind the high surface slowly in circles and use the leveling bar regularly to measure the irregularity. Remove the dust produced with the help of a vacuum cleaner.

4. Application of the self-leveling compound:

After completing the previous step, you should move on to the final step. Apply a layer of adhesive or latex bonding over this concrete surface. This layer of adhesive helps to create a bond between the present concrete floor and the self-leveling compound which is going to be laid down later. Allow the adhesive layer to dry up to the point where it is not wet but still it retains the property of stickiness.

Mix the self-leveling compound thoroughly with water in a bucket to get a smooth solution. Pour the self-leveling compound on the surface. Any irregularities observed can be removed with the help of a long handled-garden rake.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much time does the self leveling compound takes to dry?

The self-leveling compound takes around 48 hours to dry but the time depends largely upon other factors like temperature and humidity of the place, therefore it is always suggested to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Quick Tips:

1. The surface must be washed properly, otherwise, this can lead to certain complications at the later stages.

2. The self-leveling compound can dry very quickly, therefore, the process of spreading this compound must be done quickly.

Things to watch out for:

1. The process of grinding down concrete produces a lot of dust therefore always wear a face mask to avoid it.

2. Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully for best results, before making a solution of self-leveling compound.