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Old 04-30-2017, 10:44 AM   #1
mistake city
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SLC- Bad Pour


I'm new here and found this forum while researching the SLC pour I was getting ready to do in my bathroom. I did everything by the book and had a great pour going....until I figured out I was going to be about a bag or two short. Can't figure out even now how I mis-calculated. Hustled my wife to Home Depot just a few blocks away to get more and try to save the day....of course, they were OUT! By the time she got to another store and back home the damage was done. I went ahead and finished what was left to pour with predictable results.
My bathroom is about 15'x8', 3/4' plywood subfloor. The back half finished perfectly, but the front half did not. I was left with an are in the middle of the floor at the near end of the pour that was lower and not level. I read the directions about re-pouring and decided to try a second pour in the affected area, thinking it would level the middle area. No dice. Now I have a ridge around that second pour to go with the ridges in the corners from the original pour. So before I go and make another mistake, I'm asking for advice. Ive been reading all day about what to do next and Ive come to these 3 choice...
1- a complete, thinner re-pour to try and get it all at one level.
2- attempt to use "Speed Finish" around the edges, ridges and low spots to even the problem areas, or
3- Tear the whole dang thing out and start over...Just as soon eat glass.

I swear I did everything perfect, including research, study, primer, mesh and took great pains to get this right. If you can help me to get this straightened out, I'd be very grateful indeed. We will be going with 36" wood plank ceramic, so I know how crucial a flat floor is.

Thank you in advance for your time and suggestions.....
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:59 AM   #2
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If allowable by the product you used, follow the directions and do another pour. Or if you can feather out the problem areas go for it. If you need to knock down a high spot, a grinder with a diamond cup wheel will make short work of any ridges.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:04 PM   #3
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I would get a straight edge, maybe a 4 ft level is long enough (6 ft would be better), and check the floor. Get a crayon and mark the high and low spots. When pouring more on top, I think you'll need to apply more primer but check with the manufacturer on that. Like Ryan said, grind down the high spots and then use a trowel and straight edge when adding more SLC. Drag the straight edge over the SLC as you pour and pull the excess off.
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Old 04-30-2017, 01:32 PM   #4
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As you've found, self-leveling is a misnomer! IF the stuff was like water, even that doesn't level completely...look at a bead of water on a waxed car. The stuff needs help to create a feathered edge and all of the surface needs to be wetted before it will then level. It's MUCH harder to do a thin pour of SLC than a general area that is deeper because of the surface tension. Throw in that you don't have much time to work with it, and it can be messy. IF you can flood the whole area and move it around to get it close to level up to and including the edges, then, it will usually end up nice. They make a 'smoother' that looks sort of like a big drywall taping knife on a long pole that can help getting that final sweep over the top to perfect the pour. The last one I did, since I had a snow rake, I used that as my mover/smoother, and it came out fine, but I also was pouring it quite thick to embed hydronic heating (pex) in the floor before tiling. THicker is easier.

If you used the proper primer, it would be a major pain to get what's there off.
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Old 04-30-2017, 02:16 PM   #5
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Second Pour


So today, we took a diamond edge sanding pad on a stand up side by side and sanded the heck out of the area, trying to make it within specs for tile, without great success. While it did help some, it just isnt going to get it done to a satisfactory or workable finish. After much work and conversation with my buddy who does tile work, we've concluded the only thing to do here is attempt a second poor to try and even everything up. We're going to pour the entire thing again and hope like heck we get it right, which brings me to this question:

On a total second pour, what pitfalls should I look out for? Im going to re-primer the whole floor and then re- pour. Is there anything at all I need to do differently or is there anything Im not thinking of here. What's the one thing that can really help a successful pour this time. Thanks a lot!
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Old 04-30-2017, 02:56 PM   #6
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Like Jim mentioned you really need something to break the surface tension. A rake can work in a pinch but the best tool available is a spiked roller. You can probably get by with a rake though.

One thing I didn't see you mention is perimeter expansion. Did you use anything around the perimeter like a sill sealer foam strip to allow for expansion?

I don't know how you mixed everything last time but either have everything measured out and ready to go, or try and mix everything at once in a barrel or trashcan if you have one handy. Make sure you have enough to finish this time, you can always take extra bags back.
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Old 04-30-2017, 03:16 PM   #7
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It's really hard to mix more than two bags at the same time, but do try to do that and, have a helper mixing the next batch while you're working on the first to get it in place (three people is pretty good, as it's much easier lugging a two-bag barrel with two than by yourself). You must keep a wet edge, or you'll have problems. I did one pour with 8-bags by myself once (never again!) but it was tough. I had each mixing bucket already full of the required water, the bags opened, so all I had to do was pour and mix. It DOES make a difference if you use the right paddle at the right RPM for the designated time. Keep in mind that that timer starts the moment the powder hits the water. Too short of a time and it may not reach the proper consistency, too long, and you're eating into your working time...a kitchen timer is good rather than trying to guess.

You need to move the stuff all over the area and try to get it about the right depth, then smooth the top to help settle it. If you've done it all right, it will be nearly perfect. Cold water can help (may be tougher to find this time of year!) as it can give you an extra few minutes of working time. What you don't want is a hot day with hot water and bags that have been sitting in the sun. On the thick pour I did, after about 2-hours, it was almost too hot to touch from the chemical curing action going on. The colder it starts out, the longer it takes to build up the heat generated by the curing, and you can still move it a bit. If you haven't gotten it where you want, and it starts to set up, you've failed, and it will be nearly impossible to rectify.
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Old 04-30-2017, 04:23 PM   #8
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Smile Second Pour

Great advice guys, thanks. To answer your question, I did use silk sealer around the bottom of the entire bathroom, so good there. I looked several places for one of those rollers with no luck. Plan on using a rake in its place this time, best I can do. Going for the pour right after work tomorrow. Hoping for the best. Thanks again for the help!
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Old 04-30-2017, 06:55 PM   #9
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IF you ever plan to do a lot of this, you'd want three specialized tools:
- a gauge rake
- a porcupine roller
- a smoother
and, obviously, the right tools to mix the stuff up.

You can achieve similar results with improvised tools, but the end result may not be as good, but still acceptable.
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Old 04-30-2017, 07:35 PM   #10
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How thick is the second pour going to be?
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:01 PM   #11
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Somewhere in the 1/4" range, I think Davy. Not looking for a thick poor here, just one that will level everything up and flatten the floor for tile. What do you think?
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:16 PM   #12
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The viscosity of slc makes it hard to have it flow properly that thin...it can be done, but it takes some finesse. Think pancake batter...it doesn't flow and fill the pan, it sort of makes mounds that mostly flatten out.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:50 PM   #13
mistake city
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Failure


Second pour complete. Looks smooth, but not flat, not level, not good. It looked awesome after we poured it, but the level doesn't lie. Have no idea what I'm gonna do now. Floor is an inch higher...before any kind of tile, I'm totally hosed. Sux to be me. Guess that's why you hire professionals . Should have laid hardibacker and taken my chances. Better yet, should have left it the f alone. Thanks for the input. Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you. Out.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:13 AM   #14
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ouch, sorry you had a bad pour
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:46 PM   #15
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How thick was your second pour, and how much deviation was there in the floor before you added that second layer?

SLC can work great, but as has been said, it is not like water...and, the thicker you make it, the easier it is to get things level, but it can be done thin with the right tools and skill level.

FWIW, the viscosity of different brands can make a difference on how easy it is to achieve a good end result...they are not all created equal.
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