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pcaren 09-05-2012 04:03 PM

How to level a floor?
Sorry this is so long but I really want to get some good answers :)

I recently had a flooring measurement done by Home Depot for laminate flooring and I was told that they wouldn't be able to install it because an area under my washer and dryer wasn't level. It was suggested that I choose a different flooring for that area but I cant since its not a separate area. I have first floor laundry so this laminate (hopefully) will be in a kitchen, dining area, hallway, 1/2 bath, and laundry area (which is actually in the hallway). They told me that I could choose ceramic instead??? Please correct me if I'm wrong but the floor also needs to be level for ceramic??? Grrr! Originally they said the floor wasn't level because there is a drain under the vinyl that we just couldn't see. After that call we pulled up the vinyl and didn't find any drain but there is a slope in the floor approximately 1 inch deep. We were informed by Home Depot that they wouldn't level the floor for anything more than 3/8 inch.

So heres what I'm dealing with. An area on a concrete slab approximately 6ft x 8ft with a 1/2-1in slope in the middle. No drain.

I'd like to do it myself but this will be my first "major" DIY project ever. I'm kinda handy so I've done smaller things but I don't know the first thing about concrete.

So here's the question (s)... How do I level it? How difficult is this to do? Forgive me for seeming naive but it doesn't look that hard. What am I missing? What kind of hang ups do people usually come across?

LMHmedchem 09-05-2012 09:59 PM

If it's a concrete slab, then it shouldn't be that difficult to level. The is a product called Levelastic, and probably come others. These products may not be designed for leveling an area that is that deep, so you need to check that out. I would probably just clean the area well with a detergent, paint the surface with concrete adhesive, and then apply a mix of 1 part portland cement to 2 parts sand and add some acrylic concrete fortifier. You would need a long straight piece of metal or wood to use as a trowel to keep it level with the rest of the area. You could also do it in multiple parts if you want to fill the deepest area first and then work you way out. Keep in mind that it is difficult to float a cement mixture if you are not applying a layer that is at least 3/8" deep. You might need to use something like play sand to get the mixture smooth enough to taper out to the area you are not changing. You could consider filling the center of the deep area with a mix of Portland and sand, and then using Levelastic to finish.

I'm pretty unimpressed with the installer if they can't find a way to deal with something like that. There seem to be allot of folks out there who can only work on new construction where everything is open, square, and level.

You would definitely have to level the floor for ceramic tile as well, but perhaps the contractor knows how to do that. Possibly also they think they will make more money off of a ceramic install, so they are pushing you that way. I can't imagine a fix that would work for ceramic and not for laminate. I guess there could be some issue with the adhesive.

On the other hand, the washer is going to leak or overflow at some point, or at least that is how you should plan. I guess with a laminate over concrete, you don't have too much to worry about with that, but doing that area with ceramic (an including a drain) would not be a bad idea. They should be able to make a nice looking transition from the ceramic to the laminate and ceramic with a ceramic mop board running around the room makes allot of sense for a laundry or mud room.

I would call another contractor (not Home Depot) and see what they have to say.


joecaption 09-05-2012 10:50 PM

I agree, Laminite is bad enough being laid over a slab. In an area such as a bathroom or laundry room where it's highly likly at some point to get wet it should not be used anyway.
Has anyone done a moisture test on that slab?
Make sure to follow all the install directions on the floor and I also would make sure it says it's below grade install approved even if the slab is really above grade. Slabs need extra steps.
If you ever install a front loading washing machine it may even say right in the direction not to install on a laminite because it's so slick and it will skid all over the room when it spins out.

I had some left over laminite and tryed it in my own laundry room. The drain backed up just one time and it was all trashed.

joecaption 09-05-2012 10:53 PM

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