How to Pour Self Levelling Cement

 

First things first. I ate a whole can of Pringles today. They were Salt & Vinegar and now my tongue feels like I ate a ball of sandpaper.

Second things second. Why would you ever want to pour self levelling cement? Well, I’m not sure actually. I don’t know you that well.

But … you might want to level out a wonky basement floor. Or garage. Or kitchen. Or like me, you may need to encase radiant floor heating and create a super-smooth surface to lay commercial VCT tile onto.

update:  I installed my radiant floors in 2013 and at the time of this update in 2016 they’re still working great and I HUGELY recommend you put them in if you’re redoing a floor.  Easy to install, inexpensive to run and … gives you an excuse to pour self levelling cement, lol.

Whatever the reason, you don’t need to be afraid. I say that because I was afraid. Really afraid. Letter from the tax department afraid.

So I did all the research I could, tested out the product in a small area of the house where it wouldn’t matter if I screwed it up and declared it a success.

And it wasn’t hard at all. I was probably right to be afraid because it made me very thorough in my research, but having done it myself now there are a few things I discovered that weren’t mentioned on the Internet at all.

I’ll mention those things in this tutorial because I am nice. I am a nice girl who pours cement sometimes.

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Update:  This photo of me with bare feet in cement has caused fits in people. Yes, cement is caustic.  So don’t stand in cement for hours on end.  I wasn’t in cement for more than 2 minutes or so at a time and went outside and immediately washed my feet.  

 

Scrape up any loose debris from the floor. Like old tile.

 

Vacuum the surface before pouring the cement.

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Self levelling cement is liquidy.  Very liquidy. You need to build dams out of thin wood or stiff cardboard to stop it  from running into areas you don’t want it to go.

I just attached it with duct tape which worked fine.  Once the cement has hardened just give a tug upwards and the cardboard or wood will come loose.

Behind the dam I’ve built you can see I’ve also repaired holes. I used Durabond 90 for this (a drywall type compound that is very hard and fast drying).

The reason you need to fill holes and cracks in the floor is because the cement is so thin it will just run down those small cracks and you’ll never get your cementing done.  You’ll have to keep adding more and more cement and you might even go crazy.  I’m not sure. Again, I don’t know you that well or your coping capabilities.

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Your materials.

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Self levelling cement, a cement mixing paddle, a strong drill, a 5 gallon bucket, a trowel and filler (Durabond 90).

Self levelling cement may also be called self levelling concrete, self levelling floor resurfacer or self levelling underlayment.

You need to pay special attention to the self levelling cement you buy.  Home Depot, Rona, Lowes etc. all of carry different brands of cement.

The brand doesn’t matter so much as the type of self levelling cement.

There are 2 types.  Quick drying and regular.

Quick drying self levelling cement is great when the room you’re doing NEEDS to be dry enough to walk on within 5 or 6 hours. BUT, this advantage comes with disadvantages.  You only have a small amount of time to work with the product before it starts to set up.  Like 5 minutes or so.  This means if you’re new to the process or are working by yourself you run the risk of screwing things up royally.

Even though I was pouring cement into our only bathroom and kitchen I did not use Quick Drying self levelling cement.  Firstly it was much more expensive than the regular drying stuff AND I knew I needed as much working time with it as possible.

Regular drying self levelling cement gives you much more time in between pouring buckets of it.  It starts to set up fairly quickly, within 15 minutes or so but not nearly as quickly as the quick drying stuff.  Those extra 10 minutes make a huge difference when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

Primer All of the self levelling cements require that you buy bottles of primer as well to coat your floor with prior to pouring the concrete.  It is a rule.  You are told you absolutely have to do it no matter what.  You risk ruining everything if you don’t use it. Strangely I couldn’t find any real reason as to why.  No one explained what the primer actually did.  Did it seal?  Don’t know.  Did it make the concrete stick better?  Don’t know.  But you HAD to use it.

I didn’t use it.

My house did not fall into the abyss but I could feel Mike Holmes scowling from somewhere.

The reason I didn’t use it is because I bought my self levelling cement from a store mainly used by contractors, NOT a big box store.  When I asked them where the primer for the self leveller was they looked at my quizzically.  They didn’t carry it.  They had never carried it, and in all the years they’d been selling self levelling cement no one had asked to buy the primer.  The professionals just didn’t use it.

Good enough reason for me.

Besides.  It was more money saved.  I took a risk here but it was fine and nothing went wrong. I can’t guarantee nothing will go wrong for you.  Why am I so worried about the cheaper materials and saving money?  Because self levelling cement is expensive.  I got away with spending $200 on my cement.  If I had bought it at a big box store and used the primer it would have cost me $500.

How else can you save money?  Ask to buy the open bags.  Most stores have opened, ripped, unattractive bags for sale for half the price or even less. I bought a lot of open bags and saved about $120.

 

The  cement mixing paddle is NOT the same as a paint mixing paddle so if you have one of those, leave it in the basement and buy a cement mixer.  They’re between $10 and $15.

Add the required amount of water to the bucket FIRST.

(the bag will tell you how much water to cement mix to use)

 

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Add about 1/4 – 1/3rd of the bag of cement. Mix with drill.

Continue mixing in the remainder of the bag bit by bit until it’s all incorporated.  Mix for prescribed amount of time as detailed on the bag.

 Now here’s a good tip…

GO RENT AN INDUSTRIAL DRILL.

For one bucket of concrete a strong cordless drill will do the job, but if you have any more than 1 bucket to do you’re in trouble.  The battery will die after 1 or 2 buckets.  Then you’ll go for your corded drill, which will burn out and will get thrown in the garbage.

So save your anger, save your sanity, save your relationship and RENT AN INDUSTRIAL DRILL.  After one day of trying to do this without one I went out and rented a drill for $20 for half a day.  It sped things up by about 10 fold.

Pour your cement.

The cement will be quite thin.  Like runny pudding.  Self levelling is a bit of a misconception.  It will find its own “level”, but it needs some help getting there.

Trowel

 

Using a trowel push and pull the cement where it needs to go.  Push it into corners and pull it towards you.  Excuse my hair.  It appears I was having a Paul Weller moment.

This mudroom is around 30 square feet and one bag of cement just barely covered it at about 1/4″ thickness.

Clean up the Drips

You’re gonna drip.  Drip and spray and splash.  Just wipe up what you can and then don’t worry about it.  It’ll wash off easily later.

Done

 

The room was dry enough to walk on about 24 hours later and dry enough to put the freezer and other stuff back in there in 3 days.  It couldn’t have gone better.

The kitchen and bathroom were a bit of a different story.  The mudroom was the test room. It went perfectly.  The kitchen and bathroom were bigger … badder. A bigger room means you have to pour the buckets of concrete, run back to the mixer and mix up another batch (which needs to be mixed a longgg time), run through the house with a 50 pound bucket of cement and pour it where you left off.  And repeat.

I thought I bought plenty of cement but it turns out I didn’t.  By 10 o’clock at night we realized between the cordless drills, the diminishing cement and the crankiness it was time to stop.

After the first go round the Warmly Yours pads were still showing and it obviously wasn’t looking very good.

Here’s how I installed my heated floors.

Before we continue on here …. how long is it you’ve wanted to pour self levelling cement?

Do you keep putting it off?  Or is it some other project you’ve been putting off for months?

Join The Summer of Doing Stuff and finally get that project done.

You know.  THAT project.  The one you’re always putting off.

SUMMER-OF-DOING-STUFF-3

Plus in July I help you create a Backyard Relaxation Station and in August you’ll delete, ditch and declutter 4 rooms in 4 weeks. 

O.K., where were we?  Right.

So the next day I rented a drill, bought more cement and got to it.  I abandoned my rubber boots and went barefoot like the cement  pouring hippy that I am.  I recommend you go barefoot as well.  You can walk right through the cement, no problem, and as you walk away the cement just fills in your footprints. Magic.

For these bigger rooms I bought a squeegee on a long handle to push and pull the cement.  It worked great but it was a bit difficult to manipulate in the small bathroom.

 

 

You’ll find bits of unmixed lumps of cement.  Just mush them with your fingertips.

 

 

As it’s drying the floor will look discoloured and uneven. It’s all an optical illusion.

 

 

Once it’s dry you’ll be able to feel that those bits that look like ridges are actually smooth.

 

 

Even after re-levelling the floor I had issues with dips and bumps.  It was easy to correct them with a bit of Durabond 90.

 

 

My floor was now ready to lay the VCT tiles.  I’m not necessarily saying I’m ready.  But the floor is.

p.s.  I’m out of chips.

(update:  The floor has been laid so you can read the post on how to lay VCT tiles here, or you can watch a quick video of me doing it!)


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245 Comments

  1. Pam'a says:

    Wow, Karen. I can’t believe you could pour cement with your hair looking subpar.

    ::snicker::

    Serious now: I bow to your fearless, inspirational ambition and energy. It appears things came together in a magnificent way. Brava! 🙂

  2. Susan Preston says:

    Hard, huh? I mixed, my friend tried smoothing the stuff out all over my bake shop floor. Bags and bags and bags of that runny stuff. We’d come in the next day expecting a smooth surface and find another hollow! And start all over again. I mixed by hand till my shoulders felt like they were going to fall off! But the floor looks like it was worth all the work! Even if it did hold up the opening date by at least 2 weeks! And depleted my pocketbook even more! Yours is looking great! Oh by the way I wouldn’t walk in it in my bare feet either. Yuck! And I have chips if you need some more! I’ll send them over via Glynnis my chicken!

    • Karen says:

      Glynnis? Is she new? I don’t think I’ve heard of Glynnis! ~ karen

      • Susan Preston says:

        Glynnis is my Ameracuna. She’s an old girl but new to me! A “rescue” chicken so to speak. I have got two blue eggs from her. One last Aug. 25th…my oldest daughters birthday and one this last Saturday.. My youngest daughter’s birthday! Can’t wait to see the finished product! Keep working girl! The heat’s acoming!

      • Tasos says:

        Hi good job,
        i wanted to share my experince if priming or not, yes if you primer the plywood you will get a better bond and also if you going over tile, if you dont use the primer eventually it crack and peels off.

  3. Auntiepatch says:

    I’ll say it again; you’re my hero!

  4. Lori says:

    Nice job!! wish I had the gumption to do that ! Please keep up the good work cause you are very inspiring! Maybe I’ll get the gumption to do this in the near future.

  5. stephbo93 says:

    I’m a little creeped out by the photo where the vacuum seems to be moving all by itself but overall, I’m really impressed. Thanks for showing us how to use this stuff! And I totally feel your pain on those chips. I love them, but my mouth always feels like one giant pucker afterwards.

  6. Judy Bickford says:

    You forgot one thing. Do not let your husband ( or fella) help. Had to level two bathrooms last week due to moving a few walls around. We mixed 2 bags and poured. No problem, but needed another bag for the first bathroom. Since I was mixing, I kept telling him to stop adding more water, but, of course, he did. When we poured that third bag, the consistency was thinner and it dammed up against the first pour. Then, he tried to smooth it around but because it was thinner, it just kept getting worse. Butterscotch ripple without the butterscotch. Thankfully, our friend does ceramic and rescued the floor. Otherwise, we’d have to pour more cement and our toilet would be teetering on top of extensions on extensions. Second floor went much better.

    • Stephanie says:

      Boys will be boys…mine decided to suck up CARPET PADDING CHUNKS with the vacuum cleaner. “Don’t do that” I said. “You’ll burn out the motor” I said. *sigh*

    • Suzie says:

      How, exactly, did your ceramic friend rescue the butterscotch problem?

  7. Sebrah says:

    You make it look so easy! I feel ready to tackle anything now.
    I mean yesterday I even weeded a whole massive patch in the garden. I don’t weed. In fact I don’t garden and people like you Karen make me actually kind of want to do this stuff!
    Loving the progress, great work 🙂

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Thanks for letting me know Sebrah. That’s the point of this whole site. 🙂 But you don’t have to do everything I do. Just do what you like. 🙂 Mind you … nobody likes weeding and that needs to get done so … do what you like .. .plus the few things that *have* to be done. ~ karen!

  8. Laura Bee says:

    I’m hoping I can get away without this step before I put down my tiles. But if I do, I’m doing it barefoot!

  9. KimS says:

    I have SO done that Pringles thing with salt and vinegar chips! I’ve never done the concrete thing and hope I never have to, but I’m sure I’ll do the Pringles thing again…for some reason I can’t stop until it’s too late! Love your posts!!!

  10. Terry says:

    Karen,

    Is that cement actually thick enough so that it will not crack if the floor deflects when something heavy goes over it. Or you jump up and down when the muffins turn out perfectly. Just curious. But you did a great job. Looks amazing. Did it ruin the nail polish on your toes??

    • Karen says:

      Terry – The self levelling cement is made to be poured from a consistency of 1/8th an inch to over an inch. It’s not the same as concrete, it’s a different mix. So yes .. it’ll be fine when I jump up and down. But it would never be for muffins. I might jump up and down for the perfect pizza. ~ karen!

  11. Reg says:

    Holy smokes. Job well done. Did you have enough time to get the cement washed off your feet before it dried? I have visions of you not being able to tilt because you’ve been self levelled. 😉

  12. Maureen Locke says:

    You’re so brave !!!

  13. Ana the Hated (@ParrotTalkBack) says:

    An incredibly daunting project completed with aplomb. Makes me feel shitty I’ve put off hanging the curtains for so long…

  14. Colleen says:

    You are brave! Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  15. Ruth says:

    Wow! Just….. wow. *awestruck*

  16. Nicole2 says:

    Oh wow, I’m so impressed! Is there nothing you can’t do?? I don’t think I know anybody else who can eat an entire can of Pringles!!! Way to go!

  17. Kim says:

    Damn…gravatar didn’t work. So bummed. Took FOREVER to find that post *lol*

  18. Meagan says:

    Impressive! I will never tackle something like this myself but I really enjoy learning about it. It makes me more knowledgable for when I talk to contractors I hire to do this stuff 🙂 I’m curious as to what the reddish flooring is that you are putting the cement over in the mudroom? Did it contain asbestos…is that why it was left intact?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meagan – It’s just old vinyl sheet flooring. It’s glued down to plywood underneath and there just wasn’t any reason to go to the effort of removing it. ~ karen!

      • Mary Allison says:

        Karen,
        I poured over asbestos tile and the leveler cracked. I used Henrys Pro. I dont like the way it worked. Is Quickrete any better for the asbestos tiles. I know what you mean about being afraid! Yikes I looked at the floor and looked at every youtube for weeks but took the plunge. It looked great until the next day when I saw the bubbles and cracks. I am looking for a new product to try it again.

        MA

        • Karen says:

          Hi mary Allison. Well firstly I’m definitely not a self levelling concrete expert. I’m someone who did it once and it worked. 🙂 Having said that if you had curing problems I’d say my guess would be the room either had a drastic change up and down in temperature while it was drying, or more likely is the room was too room. The same thing happens when paint dries too quickly because of heat. So it’s possible it’s not the product, but the conditions that it dried under instead. Do you think this could be possible? ~ karen!

        • Scott Brown says:

          Asbestos has to be seal or nothing will stick thats what the primer will help with then use mapie nova plan plus you shouldnt have any issues but yesthe primer is very important its primer l make sure itis completly transparent berfore you do on anything

          • Jane says:

            Asbestos, huh? Interesting. I actually wondered about that sticking thing. If you’re filling in an area that you intend to cover with another flooring…what does it really matter if it sticks or not?

  19. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    OMG OMG OMG
    that’s all I have to say

  20. Kat says:

    Way to go Karen!!! Great tip on the “rent a drill” I would never have thought of that one. Also, except for the durabond patches in the last picture the concrete looks kinda cool and I would have been tempted just to stop there and put on a sealer.

  21. JebberA says:

    You are my heroine. I respect you as a role model *and* i’m addicted to your website :o)

    Sorry about your mouth. I’ve had a simliar injuriy after eating Captain Crunch.

  22. Call Me Patty says:

    Yep…..HE-RO!!!

  23. Tina says:

    Karen, is there a reason why you didn’t remove the baseboards? I’m assuming they act as a dam. But does it not make it difficult (impossible?) to replace the baseboards later?

    On a different note… You remind me of my mom. She was always fearless at tackling any sort of task. Build a 12 foot tall retaining wall out of railroad ties? Done. Train a horse wild off the range — best horse ever btw? Done. Raise a zoo of animals for her “tribe of monkeys.” Done. She’s a great role model, as are you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tina – It’s hard to see in the pictures, but for the most part, the baseboards are raised up from where I removed the flooring beneath them. So the cement actually went *under* the baseboards. The are a couple of small spots (only 5″ runs or so where baseboards go along solid cabints) where that isn’t the case, but if the time ever comes to replace the baseboards, they’ll be easy enough to remove with a crowbar and a whack of a hammer. ~ karen!

      • torri says:

        So when you ran out did you star over again or pick up where you left off? Ive just self leveled and have a low point still. I was wondering if I should get an extra bag or two and just self level the low point or do the entire floor all over again? Also, if you let the self level go under the baseboard wont that make it hard for the tile to fit underneath it when you finish? Just want some advice, I covered my baseboard with a tape dam but now feel like that edge tile that goes under the baseboard will be uneven. HELP!

        • Karen says:

          Hi Torri. You should be able to just add more self levelling cement on top but you need to do it within a day or so of pouring the other cement in order for it to stick. otherwise the new layer will just sit on top of the first layer and over time it will crack and break. If you have trouble with not having enough room under your baseboard it’s not a huge problem, you can just carefully chip away the cement. (it’s hard for me to give advice not seeing exactly what you’re talking about) Hope that helps! ~ karen!

  24. Jeannie B says:

    A project like this just “blows my mind” Karen. This is something I could only do inside a nightmare. I’d be afraid of permanently bonding the friidge or the stove to the floor and having to hire simeone to jackhammer them out. Or, the back door getting stuck and never being able to get it to open again. Or, standing in one place a little too long in my bare feet and getting stuck. You really are amazing! And yet, you make it all look so easy.

  25. Sally says:

    Thanks for this. We’ve been putting off doing a bathroom because it is going to need leveling. You are just the thing to encourage us to move ahead on it. I love everything that you do.

  26. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I never doubted you..not for one minute..In my next life..I want to come back as you..

  27. Linda S says:

    I must say…I’m impressed with you, and impressed with the project. Great job, and I will be listing it in my notebook full of projects I never want to tackle!

  28. Katie C says:

    Well, Karen. Awestruck. Just awestruck! In fact, we have a kitchen floor that is strangely not level–where the eating area meets the workspace, the linoleum sort of slopes sharply down, oh, 2 inches or so. Sort of a sunken kitchen. But not in a good way! Your stunning post is making me think that maybe, just maybe….this is a project that is fixable and not something that means we’ll have to live here for the rest of our lives because no one else in the world would ever buy a house with this odd affliction… (why did we??) You have made me realize we might be able to move somewhere else, sometime in this lifetime! I thank you for that, Karen.

    And btw, did you just leave the mudroom floor as cement, sans tile? Kind of cool, if so. Thanks for your awesomeness.

  29. Susan says:

    Thank goodness the place I’m looking at doing this is small. It looks great so far, and the self-leveling stuff looks like something you managed well in large quantity and I could manage in small quantity. Do you need the self-leveling concrete only if you’re using “soft” tiles, or do you also need it if you are using ceramic tiles? I’m as certain that you’ve mentioned the answer to this already, as I am that I’ve forgotten it already. I can’t wait to see the finished project. You truly are an inspiration to us all.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan – The self levelling concrete is only needed if you’re laying heated floors and will be laying VCT tiles over top. If you’re laying heated floors with ceramic over top you would not use self levelling cement, but regular tile cement like you normally would with laying ceramic tile. ~ karen!

  30. Julia says:

    My husband has just caught me reading this post and is now slightly perturbed that I may be thinking of self-levelling something.
    I suppose he is right to be worried – we didn’t have chickens until I discovered ‘The Art of Doing Stuff’!

  31. Susan says:

    Thank you, Karen, I’ve saved this page to my bathroom flooring notebook, along with the others in this series. Thank you, also, for the link to figure out how much it might cost for the electricity. For our bathroom, where we live, it would be about $50 a year to have the flooring on 20 hours a day through the months we’d need it, so it looks like this is a real possibility for redoing our bath floor!

  32. maude says:

    Thank you for posting this tutorian and sharing your experience with this cement. I’ve always been kind of spooked by the idea of putting down cement myself….it’s just so permanent..lol.
    Maude

  33. AnnW says:

    You rock, as usual. Someone should write a graphic novel about you! But then it would be non-fiction, because it’s true. Ann

  34. Ali says:

    I am so excited to see the vinyl flooring, I really wanted this in our new house.

    Also Karen could a person possible finish self leveling concrete to make a cool industrial modern floor? I asked my hubby about this option a while ago and he said it was prone to cracking easily.

    • Karen says:

      Ali – I’m not sure about cracking but it is difficult to get a nice finish on it. You have bubbles and speckles and tiny raised bumps to deal with if you don’t pour it perfectly. Depends on how industrial looking you want the floor to be. ;)~ karen!

  35. Jasmine says:

    Well thanks very much Karen. I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself making some slipcovers for my outdoor chairs. Now after reading this….I may need to go and overdose on S&V chips. Awesome job-very impressed!

  36. Marti says:

    That self-leveling cement… you think I can make some planters, using a 5 gallon bucket and some old margarine tubs with that stuff? I love those cement planters… don’t want to pay the money and definitely want to be able to brag that I “made them myself.” Will that stuff work for that project?

    • Cussot says:

      Have you ever heard of hypertufa, Marti? It’s a mixture of cement, peat moss and perlite. The finished product looks like concrete when you use the kind of mold you describe, but the result doesn’t weigh as much.

      • Marti says:

        No, I actually haven’t heard of that, Cussot, so much thanks. Is it waterproof, as well? I’m sure I can do the research, now that you’ve steered me that direction. 🙂

  37. Rktrix says:

    Wow! Very impressive! This is going to be a kick arse warn floor!

    Another factor is weather and humidity. Self leveling compounds are very wet and as it dries the moisture becomes vapor. If your windows aren’t open or your heavy duty fan going at high speed, and if the weather is very humid, it’s gonna be very unpleasant. Mold. Eww.

  38. Susan says:

    I have actually tackled a few jobs like this one and have felt wonderful after having done so. There is nothing more rewarding than accomplishing something you feared, but also accomplishing something that no one thought you were capable of. The feeling is one of perfect fulfillment. Well, maybe not as good as…well you know what I am talking about. But it is a great feeling, nonetheless.
    Thanks for sharing your joy with us. Susan

  39. Feral Turtle says:

    Good job Karen. I love that product. It can fix anything!!

  40. Patti says:

    You are such a bad-ass mofo! I don’t know many guys who would’ve tackled this project. Can’t wait to see it all done up pretty!

  41. Kamaila says:

    Nice job, I am very impressed. I cant wait to see the finished product.

  42. Annie says:

    Nice job but I must say, as a former commercial carpenter, NEVER go barefoot in any type of cement product. In fact, you should limit your skin’s exposure to it at any chance. If you have a small cut or scratch and it absorbs the cement you can be looking at some serious blood poisoning. I worked with a fellow carpenter many years ago that had to undergo several skin grafting surgeries to repair his hands after mixing grout with his bare hands. Really not a good idea to do this. Some people are also allergic to the portland and exposure can result in extreme dermatitis and infection.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie – Thanks! I actually looked up the MSDS for self levelling cement and the worst the MSDS states it can cause is skin irritation. I agree infections and blood poisoning can occur with a small cut or scratch. My sister was in the hospital for a week recently after washing her car with a small scratch on her finger. ~ karen

  43. wow, self-leveling cement. who knew? good for you!

  44. Sera says:

    Karen! Where have I been? This is amazing! I admit, I love reading about your adventures in things I will likely never try to accomplish myself. You’re amazing!
    Also, last week I got a letter from the IRS. As scary as it is, I’m pretty sure I’d be more scared to pour my own cement floor.

  45. Linda says:

    Fabulous tutorial and worth a ton of money! Oh how I wish we would have seen this before we used that self leveling cement. I won’t go into our nightmare but let’s just say it wasn’t as neat and pretty as yours. We were in too big of a rush and a lot of other problems happened one being the cat got out of the house and she isn’t an outside cat! I want a do over, how do you get it up? Oh shoot I just remembered that I forgot to tell my husband that the there is water leakage under the new tile on top of the stupid self leveling cement!

  46. Tommy D says:

    Hi Karen, do you have a video link to the self leveling cement project?

  47. carpemark says:

    This article is fantastic! Bought a house that is 30 years old and the floor had low points and high points. I ended up destroying a sander (and my shoulders) taking down 2 high points but was researching on how to lay self leveling cement as a contractor gave a quote with him doing it or me. Guess which one was cheaper 🙂
    After examining your article, better by far than even the silly product web pages, I and a friend decided to do it ourselves. It was really easy, hard work but worth it.WARNING! Read the mixing instructions! You will find some manufacturers are more expensive as their bags cover less flooring, or square footage per bag! Or their instructions are based on Quarts of water and weight of the mortar…. right …… not buying the product then. either way all done and looking good!
    Thanks again!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carpe Mark – I”m glad my post was able to help you. That’s the point of all this. To prove to every that it ain’t that hard. Except math as I’m mentioned numerous times. Math is really, really hard. 🙂 ~ karen

  48. Chris says:

    Thanks very much Karen. A Google search for self-leveling cement brought me here. Great site BTW. After reading your post, I got 25% off an open bag AND when I pressed the guy at Home Depot a bit, he told me I didn’t need the primer. So thanks for saving me a few bucks. I’ll use it to pick up a couple extra sleeves of Pringles and email them to you!

  49. Lynda says:

    Hi Karen,
    Great site. Which I had stumbled on it BEFORE I attempted to pour my self leveling stuff. Because it was my first attempt at this, I decided to do only half a bag at a time. The first half seemed ok to me but as it started to set water rose to the surface – I obviously used too much water. What should I do about this? Will it just take longer to dry? Second half seemed to work better. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynda – I seem to remember something similar happening to me. It’s has to do with the mixing, I think. If I remember correctly, I dried the wet spots by putting a cloth or paper towel on top for a second to let the water soak in. Then I let it dry normally. I did another thin layer of cement over top to smooth it out. (you have to do the second coat while the first coat is still a bit wet otherwise it won’t adhere properly). Good luck! ~ karen

  50. Kirk says:

    Wow. Smashing job and so well written too. You’ve given me the confidence to take on this job myself! Thank you. I apologize in advance as I will probably curse you a few times for making it look so easy before the job is done but all will be forgiven in the end. 🙂

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