How to Level a Concrete Floor for Tile

Tiles are floor coverings with the durability you can depend on, so you can expect them to last for years. However, they need to be laid on a level substrate. You cannot make the mistake of putting a tile floor on a subfloor that is perfectly flat or it will develop cracks. Concrete floor surfaces often have tiny hills and hollows, so it is essential that you know how to level a concrete floor before you install the tiles on them.

If you are wondering what to use to level concrete floor, you have a few options. Your choice is primarily based on the result you want to achieve. Nevertheless, the most effective method is using a self-leveling concrete floor compound, which ensures that the concrete will truly be flat before the tile installation.

Before you know how to use self-leveling compound on concrete floor, you will need to be prepared with a few things first:

  • Carpenter’s level
  • Chalk
  • Self-leveling compound
  • Vacuum
  • Bucket
  • Concrete repair mix
  • Concrete grinder
  • Primer
  • Soft-bristle push broom
  • Spreader tines
  • Steel smoother

Also, before you proceed, you should be aware that the powder from this compound is very fine. You should wear a dust mask, so you avoid breathing in the particles.

When you are ready with the materials, here are the steps how to level uneven concrete floor:

Step 1: Make sure the room is empty.

Whether it is a bedroom, kitchen, living room, or any space in your house, the first step is to transfer all the appliances and furniture to another room in your place.

Step 2: Find all the flaws on the floor.

Look for the high spots and dips on the floor and mark them using the piece of chalk you have so you can easily see them for later.

Step 3: Check the concrete flatness.

Levelling concrete floor for tile also needs you to use a carpenter’s level to help you determine the flatness of the concrete floor. Lay the level in different areas, which will assist you in figuring out the places that require the most levelling. Since you will be using a self-leveling compound, you can count on it to seek the highs and lows on the floor.

However, you should still know where you can find the lowest places using the level so you can begin pouring the compound there. It ensures that these areas get adequately filled.

Step 4: Use concrete repair mix.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to mix a batch. Use the mix to fill in the cracks, particularly those that are deeper than 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm. Give it time to dry before you proceed.

Step 5: Get rid of the high spots.

Use the concrete grinder to perform the job. If you do not have your own grinder, you can rent one. Make sure you wear a mask and eye protection.

Step 6: Clean the floor.

Before you do anything more, make sure the floor is thoroughly clean. Use the vacuum and guarantee all dust and debris will not be present once you pour the compound. If there is anything on the concrete – even dust – it will hold back the progress of the self-leveling compound.

Step 7: Pour the primer on the floor.

The floor should be clean and dry before you proceed. Using a push broom with soft bristles, spread the primer all over the surface. If there are any excess puddles of the primer, sweep them out to have a smooth floor. The primer can take one hour to 24 hours to dry.

Step 8: Mix the compound.

Once the primer achieves a tacky finish, proceed with this step. This fast drying self-leveling compound from Mapei is recommended for you to use. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you are mixing it correctly.

Step 9: Pour the self-leveling concrete compound onto the concrete floor.

Get the bucket that has the compound in it and holds it near the lowest parts of the floor. Begin to pour it onto the concrete very slowly and carefully. Allow it to fill in the spaces, especially the low areas, and level out the concrete floor. The compound will automatically find those high and low spots, but the spreader depth should be ¼ of an inch or 0.6 cm. This step can take about 10 minutes.

Step 10: Use the steel smoother.

Run the tool over the floor, which can help you have a smoother surface and break the tension in the concrete. It also encourages the compound to seal small marks or depressions. Expect to have a smoother finish with just a few pinholes, if any.

Step 11: Time to wait.

Let the compound take some time to settle on the concrete. Give it a few hours to a whole day before you start laying the tile.

If you follow the steps above, you can have a level concrete floor the next day so you can start installing your tiles without problems.

Read Also: What to Ask a Builder When Building a House?


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