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Unread 01-13-2003, 05:39 PM   #1
scott anthony
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Need help with leveling a floor

Never before have I leveled a floor with any of the self leveling products out there. I have always hit the spots as I go.
Any big spots where done with thin set 1 day prior to installation.
These decisions were not mine, but am just curious on the proper procedures.
I would like to see a series of pictures of someone leveling a floor.
Hey Flat Floor, are you out there? I hear your the man I need watch.

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Unread 01-13-2003, 06:10 PM   #2
tileguytodd
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Read the entry in the library. its better than pictures
I have another one somwhere under a thread called SLC the debate in the nudbox or pro hangout. not sure which, its been awhile. You could try a search. Good luck.Or of course you could fly up here. I have a small pour of 200 ft next week.
I'll work you hard for a couple hours and all ya gotta do is buy Lunch!!!!
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Unread 01-13-2003, 06:35 PM   #3
Scooter
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Self leveling compounds are not easy. I am certainly not flatfloor, but have done my share.

I start out with with 6 mil poly (or Aquabar 500) and lathe on the plywood floor. I put dams on all doors or hallways.

I use multiple bags of Custom's LevelQuick, a gang of helpers, and a gang of drills with paddles. If you are pouring directly onto a masonry surface, Custom has a primer which helps bond the SLC.

All SLC is mixed at once in 5 gal buckets. All the solids need to be mixed, but not too much air either. Mix it only for the 3-5 minutes per the instructions on the bag, and no more. The SLC is poured all at once. Smooth around the SLC for a minute or two, and let it do its work.

The screwups I have made include mixing it too much (starts to thicken), waiting too long to pour it (again it thickens, pouring it in stages (resulting in cold joints between the pours), spreading it around or messing around with it too much (again, resulting in thickening). This stuff really sets up quick, as you might be able to glean from my post. Good luck.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 07:43 AM   #4
tileguytodd
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A 6 mil barrier between SLC and subfloor is not reccomended by Custum products. When they first introduced the product,they reccomended a 15# felt/lathe/and Pour. They changed this policy in early 2000.(direct from our SLC distributor faxed to us)Lathe and primer directly to subfloor(no lathe required for concrete substrates)Overlap lathe minimum 1" (we use 2")
They do not want a slip sheet under the SLC. Now, these are instructions from the manufacturer and will get you a warranty. I am not saying it is or is not the best way to do this.I am saying if you want a warranty on the SLC you need to follow thier instructions.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 10:57 AM   #5
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Scott, I just did this myself late last night on 157 square feet of kitchen floor and posted a pile of photos and comments about the whole process. It was the first time I've ever poured the stuff. Interesting stuff, for sure.

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Unread 01-14-2003, 11:08 AM   #6
Scooter
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Poly

The only reason I use poly or Aquabar500 is that most of my work is on doug fir T&G subfloors, cobbled together subfloors and other substrates that leak. I've did a pour where the darn stuff came through the subfloor, through the joist cavity, through the drywall, into the ceiling electrical box and onto the head of the wife in the living room below. It was really a Kodak moment.

"Gee Tom, I thought we mixed enough of this Stuff. Where is is going?" Then the scream from downstairs.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 11:14 AM   #7
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Scooter, I'd pay to look at that picture. They oughta have a disposable camera in every bag of SLC.

One day someone's gonna cut into that ceiling and find a block of cement-like stuff, too. That'd be fun to see, too!
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Unread 01-14-2003, 02:19 PM   #8
scott anthony
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That seems to cover it, pictures and all
Just one more question: Is there a minimum thickness, or do you pour until you feel you have reached your high mark.
I noticed that the mix looks as thin as barbq sauce. Do you use your own judgment due to temp and moister in the air, or stay right with the exact specs no matter what?
All other questions have been answered. That is until I do my own first pour.
Thanx to all
Oh Todd I'll be there, don't start without me.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 03:20 PM   #9
Scooter
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Doug, You Are the Man

I find it hard to believe that one buy mixed and poured 7 bags of SLC in about 30 minutes. I wouldn't have the guts to do this. So I guess I'll turn in my Man Card. I'm a weenie.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scooter
I find it hard to believe that one buy mixed and poured 7 bags of SLC in about 30 minutes. I wouldn't have the guts to do this. So I guess I'll turn in my Man Card. I'm a weenie.
Weenies are cool (did I *say* that out loud??). Well, it was 13 bags in 7 batches (2 bags per batch except the last where I obviously didn't need but part of 1 bag to finish), 52 minutes not 30... err, well, I guess that would be 7 of the bags in about 30 minutes, too. 2 bags + water was probably about 110 pounds, the thought of which didn't intimidate me much about carrying with the handles on the trash cans I was using. With a wheeled platform, and an extension handle on my 5-foot rake handle, and I could've done 3 bags per batch.

Quote:
Originally posted by scott anthony
That seems to cover it, pictures and all
Just one more question: Is there a minimum thickness, or do you pour until you feel you have reached your high mark.
I noticed that the mix looks as thin as barbq sauce. Do you use your own judgment due to temp and moister in the air, or stay right with the exact specs no matter what?
All other questions have been answered. That is until I do my own first pour.
Thanx to all
Oh Todd I'll be there, don't start without me.
The only photo I took during mixing was of just the first bag of SLC mixed into the water needed for 2 bags, so that makes it look a whole lot runnier that it is with all the SLC mixed in. I meant to snap a picture after the second bag went into the trash can but forgot.

I mixed to the directions on the bag exactly. I figure any variations needed due to moisture or temperature, if that would matter that much at all, would not really matter much except when pouring in unfinished space. "Normal household temperature and humidity" seemed like what they'd generally expect with such instructions. And as they do say to ensure it's over 50 degrees fahrenheit, any variation is probably within the products ability to work, just affecting the time it takes to become walkable (walk-on-able?).

I poured the whole batch down at whatever point I thought was about right for it to spread for the thickness I wanted, but the first pour was too close to the wall, so it headed that way en masse, moved up the wall a bit then came back down, leaving a pretty brown layer up my wall 4 inches (it washed off with a wet rag and very minor scrubbing this morning).

The main thing, even though it's like thick BBQ sauce or thin pancake batter, is that it does seem to slow its spread at some point, so using a guaged rake (it's just a piece of 1.5"/2" L-shaped metal of some sort with two adjustable legs shaped to glide over the floor -- it's in some of the photos -- the one with the 1.5" strip of metal, not the big spreader that has about a 6" strip across) lets you shift the bulk of the SLC that exists above the height you want it to be. When you pour the next batch you want to do so such that the next batch meets with the edge of the previous batch, it then tends to flow to the highest point of the previous batch and then further towards the lower points at its edges. And you just keep repeating. I think I shared your concern beforehand about this, thinking in terms of how water flows. The thickness slows it so it's controllable. I think there is a 1/8" minimum, though you can feather edges out to nothingness.

If your floor is generally level, this works since it'll spread out on its own pretty well across everything as you go. It took a couple hours before the top of the surface seemed to get more than just a bit thick (runny jello?), I didn't touch it, just judged by its appearance. If you were leveling some sloped floor then I think you'd work it in layers or try to do larger batches at a time. Just me guessing on that one though.

I think the important consideration is to get the batches out as fast as you can, so you can work the area where they meet. If you go a little too long and the edge starts to set up, you'll have to help the newer batch feather out over the previous one's edge.

After experiencing it myself in this project though, unless there's something about the curing process that would be damaged, I'd expect the SLC to remain pretty workable for longer than the 10 minutes everyone mentions... at least 20. Any cement experts here who can talk about this subject??

It was neat to see the floor temperature rise during the curing, though. It was back to 61 degrees when I got up this morning, about where it all began.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 05:40 PM   #11
flatfloor
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Hi, looks like these guys have you covered.

Doug, remember I said 10 minutes minimum, many brands take
longer to start to set up, 10-15-20 minutes, to my mind the longer the better. BTW great job.

Scotty, no plastic do it Todd's way. Caulk those seams.

No matter the temperature, water to powder ratio remains the same.

Most mfrs have a maximum depth pour listed on the bag. You must reprime if your doing a double pour.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 09:29 PM   #12
tileguytodd
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Ah yer not a weenie scooter, Youve just never been on a big pour with the big dogs
Now, if i could just coordinate a 700 s/f er while yer up here fishin. we could have breakfast do the pour and be on the lake an hour and a half later.

If you have a real bad shiplap subfloor, try putting a 1/4" Plywood(birch) Underlayment down first.Caulk the seams caulk the perimeter.Tack your lathe and spray prime.Have lunch and go man go.

By the way,I had missed a hole on a job once and had it find an overhead light recepticle.And while the lady was not home, the carpet was brand new and managed to catch most of it. My insurance lady was really impressed with the floor when she came to look at it.She wasnt on the otherhand impressed with the carpet i ruined!! Ah well ,it pays to be insured!!
Homeowner picked out a new rug at the shop and we had it installed within 3 days. She was very satisfied and in fact called me back to do her cabin.Said something about hoping for more new carpet
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