level quick that didn't self level [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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jeff ferguson
04-26-2005, 09:33 PM

pulled up 4 layers of flooring from slab (sheet, sheet, 12" self stick, and 16" adhesive troweled) INCLUDING using floor stripper as late as 10:30 at night - neighbors will complain, by the way - in preparation of installing Mannington laminate slabs.

Found slab had numerous low spots (must have been a Friday afternoon pour), so after identifying all the low spots, it's off to Home Deephole to get the level-quik. Primer on slab, mixed according to directions, and start to pour. Some low areas are larger, so knew would have to squeegee in those areas. Smaller low spots were pour and squeegee level with rest of slab.

Pour was done in dining room, which led into kitchen, which led into breakfast area, then into hallway and foyer. Made sure any squeegee marks were not visible as left a room and started next one.

Next morning, the level-quick turned into a nightmare - I now have numerous ridges and high spots that were not there before. It simply did not flow out as it should have. Even though I made sure the squeegee marks were not there when I left a room, oddly enough the new ridges are approximately the same width and length as the squeegee blade......infuriating......

Questions for you pros out there:
1. What happened to the level quik that this problem occurred?
2. What is best way to bring down the high spots? will hand belt sander and 36 grit belts take care of it? (dust creation is least of my concerns now)
3. what is best way to handle the remaining low spots that the self-leveler didn't fill? Would using thinset to fill manually with a trowel be appropriate?

I'm planning on setting up a series of plywood straitedges over the entire series of rooms (including overlapping into the other rooms) to find the true high and low spots of the entire field, as we'd wanted all 5 areas to be a single continuous field of the laminate floor.

Thanks in advance for your help.........

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04-26-2005, 10:09 PM
Hi Jeff,
You can work the ridges down with a CLEAN masonry rubbing stone (Home Despot carries em). To fill in the remaining low spots, you should probably use a product like Ardex to feather out the low spots and bland the rooms. If your local flooring supplier can't help you find it, White Cap construction supplies carries it and their nationwide.
Is it possible that your Level-quik continued to flow to level and that's what caused your ridges? If you flor isn't *level*, the level-quick can sometimes create a problem such as you experienced.
Good luck,

John K
04-27-2005, 05:30 AM
Sometimes the slab sucks the moisture out of the Levelquick before it has a chance to flow. It has happened to me. Mine was also primed..

04-27-2005, 06:07 AM
Ridges are generally caused by 2 things
#1-too little water in the mix.(6.5 qts is used for each bag as a general rule-However, once in a while you get a bag that just doesnt thin properly at 6.5 qts and adding a small amount gets the consistency you need.It happens once in a while,not often but when you do alot of SLC work you get a feel for knowing when to add a little additional water(sometimes alot of dry material is stuck to the bucket and when the next is mixed it makes it too thick.Mixing 2 minutes per bucket and running up and down the bucket sides eliminates most of this)

#2- Wet edge time exceeded.5-10 minutes depending on temp and humidity is all you have to pour and keep a wet edge.Many times 2 area's need to be poured and brought together.each of these must have a wet edge maintained.this means you are really working to get things mixed and poured.Timing is everything with SLC.
A large pour is a lot of work in a very short time period.
A 20 bag pour for example should take under 1 hour with 1 drill mixing 1 bag at a time.(40 minutes in mixing time and 20 minutes of carrying and pouring.water for all bags should be ready.if you are trying to mix,get water ready or are running for water you will have a hard time keeping a wet edge.
I use a large barrel and a jug marked off at 6.5 Qts and dip this into the barrel.I have on a large 25+ bag pour 3 mixing pails.Water is always in 2 of them.A large 20+ bag pour cant be done properly by 1 guy unless he's a real bulldog.I am good for 12 bags alone and thats it.

Incidently, I have poured over the years in the neighborhood of 60 - 80 full pallets at 50 bags per pallet.My largest pour at 1 time was 156 bags @ 1/4" nominal

04-27-2005, 10:07 AM
Good God, Tod, thats some SLC pour.

My thoughts are similar--either overworked the SLC or it wasn't poured fast enough.

I just set it and forget it--very little squeegie work for me. I have found that my putting on rubber boots and smearing it around, I compound the problem I'm trying to fix. I do try to dump all the SLC at once, even if if I have 6 bucket full. If you put enough in the room, and it is fairly thin, it will self level fairly well. It does start to set up within a minute or two, and once you get in there and start moving it around, well, its like moving pancake batter around a griddle. It just sorta stays in place.

04-27-2005, 11:38 AM
Was this Levelquick RS or ES?

Custom docs say 1/2" min (1" max) Levelquick for wood subfloor, joists up to 24 oc.

04-27-2005, 06:30 PM
How thick or thin was your pour? I have seen jobs where the applicator (who was an epoxy guy) tried to skimp on material and left ridges all over the place. You may have waited too long to squeegee. BTW what did you use as a squeegee?

John K, if you're running into that problem you probably need 2 coats of sealer. Wood always requires 2 coats and depending on the porosity of a concrete slab it may require 2.

jeff ferguson
04-27-2005, 09:24 PM
Thanks to everyone for their replies.

In looking back on it, and reading your suggestions, I'm gonna plead guilty to probably trying to do waaay too much by myself - entire 800ft pour was done by myself, from mix to pour to squeegee. I think I may just have pushed my DIY limits for one person. No, she wasn't home - and would not have been able to assist anyway.

Primer: used it straight out of the bottle, no dilution, as this was unsealed slab. Didn't want to take chances (that is mildly humorous to me now).

Thickness of pour: in the selected places where it DID self level, varies from feather to just over 3/8". Don't get me wrong, where it DID work I'm a happy camper, but where it didn't I'd just as soon put carpet down......but the spousal unit/"customer" begs to differ. One thing that I have noticed is that some of the areas at the walls, where it didn't completely flow out, looks similar to a puddle of dried paint, if you know what I mean. Is this indicative of too thick of a mix?

Squeegee - 3 foot rubber bladed floor squeegee robbed from the garage that I normally use when I mop the floor out there.

I think at this point, I'm gonna continue with my plan to create a plywood straitedge (6" strips joined together to span entire distance both ways" and try to see just how far off I am. I can see a couple of bad areas that there's no doubt about, but those may just be throwing me off, too.

Next question, if you'll indulge me: If I should decide to attempt a second pour over the entire floor, would it create more problems to overthin the level-quik by about 10%? Would it do any harm other than creating a longer set time? Or would it affect the integrity of the final surface (crumbling, dusty, etc)? Or would it be best for me to just do spot pours in the known low spots?

By the way, I forgot to mention in original post - some of what I found that had been used as leveler in the past.........DRYWALL MUD. Needless to say, that was the easiest stuff to bring up.......and it seems very tempting right now........ :-)

Having done automotive bodywork in the past, I find this far more frustrating so far........my hats off to all you pros out there, wherever you are.....

04-27-2005, 09:42 PM
Drywall mud (likely was actually a product called dependable.Its a gypsum based floor levelor used by vinyl and carpet guys.)

Did you use expansion material at all of your walls or did you pour up to the walls??
Did you read the reccomended practices for doing SLC work in our (liberry)