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valvashon 12-09-2008 10:04 PM

"Float" a floor to level it?

Before iFLoor went bust (moderator- please don't delete this just because I mentioned iF) our sales rep said I may need to "float" (I think that was the word he used) our beat up old plywood floor in the kitchen before we lay down the new cork. I didn't pay that much attention because I thought the subfloor could be made level with some patching of the low spots. Turns out there's quite a few high spots as well- ones that didn't respond as well as I hoped for when I tried to sand them down with my hand sander.

Question is: would a hardwood floor sander do the job of leveling the floor or do I need to mix something up, pour it on and let it do the job of leveling- this is what was called "floating"? How could that work- won't it run down the cracks and over the edge?

The bumps show up when you put a level over certain spots- it teeter totters like the ones on the playground and the end that is up is at least 1/8" of an inch above the floor.

What can I do here? I only know how to patch holes and that doesn't take care of high spots.



Nestor_Kelebay 12-09-2008 10:45 PM

I've installed more than my share of vinyl composition floor tiles, but I've never installed cork floor tiles. I don't know which are stiffer and harder.

You can get self levelling flooring cements, but they're rarely used and almost never used by DIY'ers. When they say "float" a floor, what they mean is:
"Buy some cement based floor levelling powder like Mapei Planipatch and some of the recommended additive (called Mapei Planipatch Plus), ((both sold by Home Depot)) and use these to mix up a slurry of about the same consistancy as a thick McDonald's milkshake, and spread that on your floor with a plastering trowel to fill in all the small depressions in the floor, like chips of plywood that came off with the old flooring. If you're going over wood like plywood, I'd mix the Plus additive with 3 parts water, and use that solution to mix the powder to make your slurry. Don't mix up more than 2 cups at a time cuz the stuff will thicken up in the mixing container, and by the time you've spread about two cups, the stuff left in the mixing container won't be usable any more. Spread that on the floor Allow that to dry, and then put a bright light down on the floor to exagerate the roughness of the surface (and make any rough areas look like mountain ranges) and scrape them smooth with a paint scraper and vaccuum up the dust.

Then, if you're a perfectionist like me, put on a second coat and sand it down to make a surface smooth as a babies bum."

That's what's meant by "floating" a floor.

My personal feeling is this: No floor is flat as completely calm water. Every floor has some contour to it. If that 1/8 inch bump wasn't a problem with the old flooring, it probably won't be a problem with the new flooring either, especially if it's due to a change in the "PLANE" the floor is in, rather than a bump in an otherwise flat floor.

If it's a bump, you could try a belt sander on it, and then float over any roughness caused by the belt sander. However, if you saw nothing wrong with the old flooring, then I expect the cork will simply conform to the shape of the plywood just as I can see VC tiles doing.

That bump was there before you took out the old bathroom floor, and if you had no issues with a bumpy bathroom floor before, you most likely won't with the cork either. 1/8 of an inch over the length of a (what?) 2 foot long spirit level isn't much, and it's certainly not enough to notice underfoot.

But, if you're really concerned, just beg borrow or steal a belt sander and show that bump who's boss. Then float the floor. Maybe set a bright light on the floor to exagerate the size of that bump. That will give you a better idea of the size and shape of the bump and when the bump is pretty well gone.

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