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Old 05-12-2011, 02:00 PM   #1
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


I have an on going frustrating dilemma regarding our kitchen concrete floor. About a year ago we pulled up some poorly laid tile by the previous owner. Only to discover why it was done so poorly. Some of the most stubborn vinyl adhesive, most likely original to the house, bonded with the concrete in a way I've never seen before. Chemicals, scrapers, power equipment, various home remedies, etc. could not remove this stuff.

Now, I don't have a lot of money so I'm trying to do this all on my own. It was recommended to my that I try to create a new level surface using a self leveling compound. Everyone made it sound so easy, and I thought at first that it was. It's a vast improvement over the rough edges and gouges that were there previously. However, when you're putting something flat on top of a surface that isn't flat, it doesn't work so well. We're trying to lay a free floating Armstrong vinyl floor and I just can't seem to get this floor level. I don't want to add another level of anything to the floor without getting it done right.

Could anyone offer correct steps to properly get self leveling compound to settle over these little hills and valleys so I can save myself from divorce over this kitchen? If could just get level, I could lay the floor no problem. I've gotten quotes from people to do this, and they want $750-$1200 to level 210 sq ft. Does this sound fair?

Would installing a subfloor help in anyway? I'm not thinking so as the surface would have to be level to begin with. We're really at our wits end with this.

Please help!
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Old 05-12-2011, 02:13 PM   #2
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


For 200 Sq Ft, go buy a couple used sanders, a bunch of paper, a fan and a gas mask.
The concrete is level other than that adhesive right?
What about just throwing down Luan and then vinyl over top?

I think I'm missing something, got a pic?
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Old 05-12-2011, 02:39 PM   #3
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelcherr View Post
For 200 Sq Ft, go buy a couple used sanders, a bunch of paper, a fan and a gas mask.
The concrete is level other than that adhesive right?
What about just throwing down Luan and then vinyl over top?

I think I'm missing something, got a pic?
Already made one attempt at self leveling compound, and all that did was round out the differences. Okay, it did better than that, but it's still not perfect. Going ot look up Luan.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Quote:
For 200 Sq Ft, go buy a couple used sanders, a bunch of paper, a fan and a gas mask.
The concrete is level other than that adhesive right?
What about just throwing down Luan and then vinyl over top?
Quote:
Already made one attempt at self leveling compound, and all that did was round out the differences. Okay, it did better than that, but it's still not perfect.
Quote:
Going ot look up Luan.
Okay HOLD ON I can't stand this any longer.

First things first:
What exactly did you use for self leveller? Name the brand please.

It's too late now to do the luaun thing so forget that.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Okay HOLD ON I can't stand this any longer.

First things first:
What exactly did you use for self leveller? Name the brand please.

It's too late now to do the luaun thing so forget that.
At the moment, all I can recall is Lowe's store brand stuff. I attached a window squeegie (at the recomendation of the staff there) to spread it out and let it sit thinking, "Okay cool, I'm done" I'm not entirely sure I wasn't just trying to correct too much with too little. But the concrete it covered was VERY porous (poor original finish) and had varirances from the hard adhesive layer as much as 3/16". I'm thinking that I just kinda put a frosting layer on top. But again, without knowing for sure what I need to do, I don't want to try again and make it worse.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:56 PM   #6
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Without a name of the product you can't expect anyone to help very much. It would be nice to know exactly what they sold to you.

1.Did you also first use the recommended primer BEFORE you poured the SLC?
2. How big is the area, what are the measurements?
3. How much self leveller did you buy?

Quote:
But the concrete it covered was VERY porous (poor original finish) and had varirances from the hard adhesive layer as much as 3/16".
Forget about that it doesn't really matter.


Quote:
...without knowing for sure what I need to do, I don't want to try again and make it worse.
STANDBY! Answer the above questions please.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:08 PM   #7
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Without a name of the product you can't expect anyone to help very much. It would be nice to know exactly what they sold to you.

1.Did you also first use the recommended primer BEFORE you poured the SLC?
I did not use a primer.

2. How big is the area, what are the measurements?
Approx. 210 Sq. Ft. a 13.5'x11.5' dining area and a 5.5' x 10' Galley

3. How much self leveller did you buy?
2 bags of this http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

And 1 bag of the Lowes brand. (can stop on the way home from work and confirm and reply)

Forget about that it doesn't really matter.



STANDBY! Answer the above questions please.
See above responses
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:30 PM   #8
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Okay here's what happened.

First of all, mixing brands probably isn't the best idea but that isn't the end of the world. The Level Quick is a great product, I use it all the time and love it.

The product from Home Depot that you used is a rapid set version of self leveller. The key to using self levellers (especially the RS (rapid set) is you must use the primer. The primer is required by all makers of self levellers.

The primer serves two purposes. The first is to seal the substrate. This way the moisture from the mix can't prematurely migrate into the substrate. And secondly the primer is also a bonding agent for the mix and will prevent curling at the edges. Without the primer the moisture in the mix will wick-away into the substrate and cause premature drying. The premature drying causes surface tension and makes the mix harder to deal with.

Those are just some of the problems you have run into.

The next issue and the biggest mistake was not buying enough SLC. One fifty pound bag of SLC will cover fifty square feet at 1/8" thick. Your project should have had a minimum of five bags used.

The next thing is if the primer isn't used and the moisture is rapidly wicking away and you have used rapid set on top of all of that...the last thing you would want to do is to use a squeegee to try to move things around. The only time you do that is when you are trying to encourage the flow into a corner or around a floor penetration. I can only imagine the mess you have now.

I should tell you that once you have done all of what you have done, you can not now go back and install anything like luaun plywood. You can't fasten it.

In my opinion your best-bet now is to bite the bullet and buy more self leveller and this time buy the primer also. Paint on the primer and let it dry. You then have twenty-four hours to install the self leveller.

I feel your frustration and I have no idea where you are getting your advice but if you will follow my suggestion you will be back on track. A little poorer but back on track.

The one thing you do have going for you now is the next application of SLC will be much easier to apply now that all the crap is out of the way.

Last edited by Bud Cline; 05-12-2011 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Okay here's what happened.

First of all, mixing brands probably isn't the best idea but that isn't the end of the world. The Level Quick is a great product, I use it all the time and love it.

The product from Home Depot that you used is a rapid set version of self leveller. The key to using self levellers (especially the RS (rapid set) is you must use the primer. The primer is required by all makers of self levellers.

The primer serves two purposes. The first is to seal the substrate. This way the moisture from the mix can't prematurely migrate into the substrate. And secondly the primer is also a bonding agent for the mix and will prevent curling at the edges. Without the primer the moisture in the mix will wick-away into the substrate and cause premature drying. The premature drying causes surface tension and makes the mix harder to deal with.

Those are just some of the problems you have run into.

The next issue and the biggest mistake was not buying enough SLC. One fifty pound bag of SLC will cover fifty square feet at 1/8" thick. Your project should have had a minimum of five bags used.

The next thing is if the primer isn't used and the moisture is rapidly wicking away and you have used rapid set on top of all of that...the last thing you would want to do is to use a squeegee to try to move things around. The only time you do that is when you are trying to encourage the flow into a corner or around a floor penetration. I can only imagine the mess you have now.

I should tell you that once you have done all of what you have done, you can not now go back and install anything like luaun plywood. You can't fasten it.

In my opinion your best-bet now is to bite the bullet and buy more self leveller and this time buy the primer also. Paint on the primer and let it dry. You then have twenty-four hours to install the self leveller.

I feel your frustration and I have no idea where you are getting your advice but if you will follow my suggestion you will be back on track. A little poorer but back on track.

The one thing you do have going for you now is the next application of SLC will be much easier to apply now that all the crap is out of the way.
I can't tell you how much better I feel knowing there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I REALLY REALLY appreciate the time you took to help me out.

Now if i use a non rapid set, and I use the right amount (5 bags), how fast do I have to mix the bags into each other? I was trying to make this all work with 1 x 5 gallon bucket. Any suggestions how to mix this effectively without it setting up on me like it sort of did last time? Or should the use of the primer and the non rapid set fix my issue there?

What is the best way to apply the SLC? Previously I poured it from the bucket as close as a I could to my starting edge and then used the squeegee to push into into corners. Then I just kept pouring it on. Used squeegee to spread out, I thought it worked pretty well if i got to it fast enough. However you said I shouldn't do that. I'm just nervous about setting on on there and just leaving it.

Again, thanks much for your time. I've rarely gotten someone to take such interest and be so thorough with questions in a forum. I hope one day to be able to return the favor some how.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:34 PM   #10
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


Take a look at this and see if it helps you any. There is a Part One and a Part Two.
http://www.diychatroom.com/blogs/ins...t-one-two-177/


Quote:
Now if i use a non rapid set, and I use the right amount (5 bags), how fast do I have to mix the bags into each other?
A single five gallon bucket for mixing is all you need. Of course you also need water for all five bags ready to go. The rapid set product is what is readily available so use it and don't let it intimidate you. See my above Blog.

You mix the powder adding it slowly to all of the water pre-measured into your mixing bucket. Mix for two minutes. Then immediately pour it where you want it and go back and mix the next bag. This is a whole lot easier with two people. Once the mix is on the floor it will do its own thing as you know. If you have to adjust it, do it within the first ten minutes or so then after that don't touch it.

I guess I need to go read my own Blog, I don't remember how much detail I put in it. Check it out then ask any questions you may have.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:00 PM   #11
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Kitchen Floor (concrete) nightmare


I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you so much. I did as you advised and boy what a difference. When you use the primer, this stuff works just like advertised. Unfortunately at 5 bags I couldn't believe was was about 9 sq. ft. short. I was thinking to myself, oh no another nightmare. But with the primer I was able to feather it in barely noticeable, and still maintain level. Anyway, we're laying floor and no problems, no hills/valleys.
I really appreciate your time, you were a life saver.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:33 PM   #12
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GOOD DEAL! I love it when a plan comes together.
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