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Unread 12-26-2008, 02:19 PM   #1
Edzed
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Poured SLC over in-floor htg - cracks, bubbles, help pls!

This is my first bathroom project. 100 year old home. Gutted bathroom. Sistered new 2x10's to old 2x10's. Releveled the joists in the process. Tied new joists into brick exterior for further strength. Put 3/4" subfloor over top.

I will skip the rest of the bathroom details, as it is not relevant and already done.

I installed the in-floor heating with no problems.

So today, I decided to be a hero and mix not one but two 5 gallon buckets of SLC (EZFlow) and carry them up two flights of stairs (trying to minimize dust as we are living here with small children). The first bucket was already sticky and heavy as I poured it out, so I trowelled it around as best I could The second one flowed nicely.

Three hours later and there are already small cracks forming in the area where I poured the first bucket. I used primer and it has adhered well to the subfloor. The second bucket set well, but I clearly overmixed it because it has quite a few small bubbles in it.

The whole thing is completely unlevel. Can I pour another batch of SLC over the top, or is this the end of the line?

Thanks in advance,

Ed
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Unread 12-26-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
Davy
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Hang tight, Ed. I don't know much about SLC but others around here use it all the time.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 07:52 PM   #3
Jhereg
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yeah 1st was so thick it did not self level. Might just setup an area right next to the floor with a big tarp, work clean, not have to walk up the stairs with each batch. Always best to mix and pour right away, get a nice flow. You can add more to it if height is not an issue, I've never had problems with it bonding to itself. long as the area is clean and the new pour is nice and wet (follow directions for the amount of water, its very specific.

If its not too bad, or dry, you could always just get a nice new scraper blade and scrape down the high areas.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
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hey ed as chad has said a second pour will be fine. nice and watery.BUTTT DONT SCRAPE THE HIGH SPOTS, there heatin wire in it chad. u cut one of thse and well no heat. i just did three bath floors with sun heat system before the holidays.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
Jhereg
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yeah sorry. Got my baby in my lap and didn't see that part. always better safe than sorry
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Unread 12-26-2008, 09:55 PM   #6
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you can pour another layer just make sure you prime it again
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Unread 12-26-2008, 10:50 PM   #7
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lefty why would you pour another layer, if the one down now is cracked?

You need to see if it has adhered or not.
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Unread 12-26-2008, 11:58 PM   #8
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good point scott. after ed said he putdown the 3/4" subfloor. he skiped the details of the rest. my last three were over a concrette foundation. and the one before was done on top of a sub floor and then hardi then heating system, leveler, then tile.
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Unread 12-27-2008, 03:12 AM   #9
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Another layer

Thank you guys for your ideas and encouragement. To back up a little bit, I was extra careful in vacuuming and scrubbing the floor before applying the primer.

I waited six hours (manufacturer's instructions), and then checked carefully for hollow spots. It was solid.

I poured another bucket of SLC on the area with good consistency. Ideally, I would mix it right next to the bathroom, but one of my kids has a chronic cough, so dust is an issue.

I will check in the morning to see how it went. I was able to smooth out most of the hills and valleys, except for a low area right in the doorway.

I found a thread in these forums (thank you, John Bridge) from four years ago where someone using the same product had the same microcracks. He said things turned out fine. I did not have a lot of them, maybe 5 or 6. I think it is because I basically poured two different materials (bucket 1 and bucket 2) and mixed them together.

So knowing very little about concrete, I am hoping someone can tell me if I should worry about those microcracks. Also, I am wondering if the second pour with its small regular bubbles (1/8") is worrisome. Once it is level, will a layer of Ditra cure all of the ills, or just hide them?


Btw, going backwards is NOT an option at this point, as my wife told me I should check her into the Looney Bin (insane asylum) if I jackhammer the floor and start again.
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Unread 12-27-2008, 03:58 AM   #10
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What's underneath the SLC

So I actually laid out the heating wires directly on 3/4" exterior grade plywood and poured the SLC over top. (The details I was leaving out were about electrical, drywall, insulation and plumbing).

Height is an issue as I have only 1/2" height difference between the subfloor and the hall floor. I will probably have a 3/4" transition up to the bathroom when I am done.

I am planning to use Ditra and then install a fairly standard 1/4" ceramic floor tile over top.
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Unread 12-28-2008, 02:51 PM   #11
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Cracks and more cracks

The whole thing is cracking in the area where I did the first SLC pour (the thick stuff). I am going ahead anyway as our other bathtub is leaky and probably mouldy behind the surface. (We have three small children so we need to have a working bath). If the tiles start popping, I will have to jackhammer it up. Call it a $600 lesson.

In the end it is still better than hiring someone to do the bathroom, which in Toronto costs an arm and a leg.

And besides, I have learned so much that I am now ready to do the master bathroom!!! I also have all the tools that I need.
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Unread 12-28-2008, 07:56 PM   #12
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Scott. I was just answering the question as to if he could pour another layer on the first slc pour. did not see that it was cracked.
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Unread 12-28-2008, 09:23 PM   #13
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Might as well scrap the project now before you throw the tiles thinset and ditra away too.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 07:43 PM   #14
jadnashua
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How thick is the pour over the wires of the heating mat? Over a wooden subfloor, most want at least 1/2" thick over the highest point. If it is thinner than that by more than 1/8", an additional layer should probably help. Mixing the proper amount of time with a drill with the specified RPM is important. Use a timer...start it when you pour the SLC into the water. Do NOT overmix and pour immediately. You won't get much dust if you pour slowly into the water. Some plastic sheets around the area would contain it. You really don't want to wait and pour it out as soon as you finish mixing it up. The working time starts when it first hits the water. Cold water will slow it down a little bit.
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Unread 12-29-2008, 08:00 PM   #15
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I'll add my 2-cents to the mix here, since we seem to be adding layer upon layer of SLC.

I'm an amateur DIY'er that put electric heat (WarmlyYours) in my bathroom. WarmlyYours (WY) recommends a MAX height of 'stuff' (tile, thinset, SLC) above their wires to be 1".

Since WY has close to the highest energy density allowed (? 12 W/sq.ft? ), I assume this guideline would also be true for other electric radiant heat systems.
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