If you have a floor that is in need of repair, smoothing, or raising, self-leveling concrete can provide you with a fairly easy, cost-effective solution. Most commonly used as an underlayment for other types of flooring, self-leveling concrete is very useful. However, it does require care during installation in order to ensure optimal results.
Here’s what you need to know about some common questions and concerns people have about self-leveling concrete. The more you know, the better able you’ll be to prevent problems in your installation.
Before we get more into depth about questions regarding applications and other things, it’s helpful to go over what this product is, exactly.
Also known as self-leveling underlayment, self-leveling concrete is a product made with cement. All you need is water in order to get it ready to spread. It’s often enhanced with polymers and other additives to take performance and functionality to the next level.
It’s called self-leveling because regardless of whether you pump or pour it, it will flow and spread until it has leveled itself out. How long it takes to do this depends on the product.
Depending on the product and the surface you’re applying it to, you may need to give the mixture some help in order to ensure it reaches all the barriers of the space. This can be done by pushing, screeding, and porcupine rolling.
This depends on what you’re looking for, as well as the product used. We’ll use our Swiftset Self-Leveler’s setting times to give you an idea of what to expect. Bear in mind that setting time is impacted by many factors, such as the thickness of the lever, the temperature you’re working in, what the humidity levels are like, and more.
On average, our Swiftset Self-Lever is:
This is after the working time. Working time can be about 15-20 minutes, depending on the factors mentioned above.
If you want a non-moisture-sensitive floor covering applied over your self-leveling underlayment, this can typically be done in 4-8 hours. If the floor covering you want to use is moisture sensitive, you’ll want to wait 16-24 hours.
Everyone loves sleek, smooth, level floors. As such, you may wonder if you can use self-leveling underlayment as a floor, or if it truly needs to have other flooring materials applied overtop.
In short, yes, you can use this product as a flooring solution by itself. Many people use it to fix issues such as uneven flooring. We have a Polishset Self-Leveler coming out in Q1 of 2023, which can provide you with stunning floors. It has a longer working time, but this allows for stronger adhesion to the concrete substrate.
You can also add aggregate, shell, crushed glass, glass beads, and more for a terrazzo look. This can also be used for stenciled floors, and then sealed.
When it comes to concrete, it’s typically best to leave it in the hands of trained professionals. Too much can go wrong if someone without the proper training, experience, or equipment takes on such a project. The same is true here. While you can technically DIY self-leveling concrete, it’s always best to leave its application to the professionals.
This is because these products set very fast. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up needing expensive repairs.
While self-leveling underlayment is useful for many applications, there are times when you should opt for another solution.
For instance, this product does not work well on vertical surfaces. It is also inadvisable for use in areas that are exposed to harsh chemicals or heavy machinery. If you need extensive repairs, this could be more expensive than other solutions. It also should not be used on floors with underlying structural damage. This is because while it can fix the surface damage, it cannot fix the structural damage.
If ever you’re unsure if you can use self-leveling concrete for your project, it’s always best to contact the professionals.
Stone Edge Surfaces is here to help! Our Swiftset Self-Lever and Polishset Self-Lever are top of the line products that can take your floors to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about our products and how we can help you.