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Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-02-2008 05:27 AM

Leveling Basement floor
Iím going to finish my basement and plan to put down laminate or hardwood floors eventually. The house is 30 years old. The concrete is in great shape (no cracks), however it isnít very level. Iíll also be moving the laundry area and doing away with the floor drain (and the slope leading to it). I have no experience with this. Should I use leveling compound for this? How thickly can this be applied? Any precautions I should be aware of? Thanks!

davefoc 01-03-2008 03:01 AM

I see you posted this yesterday and you haven't gotten a response from an expert. In lieu of that I will offer you my non-expert thoughts.

I think the laminate floors that I have installed said something about not installing them in below grade installations at all. You might want to check this out with the particular brand.

As to leveling cement slabs, I just did this for the first time the last time I installed a laminate floor. We used a self leveling compound that came dry in a fifty pound bag. This product is some kind of portland cement type substance that is applied in a very wet mixture.

It's not completely self leveling but it can be screed very easily and it is self leveling to a degree in that it flows readily. It also does well when applied very thinly.

We were not very efficient at applying it which was one reason why I took a look at your thread. I was hoping that somebody would happen by that could explain how to do it efficiently. We spent quite a bit of time testing the floor for flatness and then marking roughly the areas that needed to be filled with a sharpy. We then poured the mixture into the depressions and screed it until it was roughly flat. It self leveled well enough that minor imperfections just flattened out by themselves.

A couple of things that we noticed:
1. Be very careful when mixing it that you get the right amount of water into the mix. If it's the first time you're using you just can't add the water by feel. You need to measure. We used a scale and somehow we still screwed up the second batch so it was too wet.

2. Don't skimp on the mixing time. In some magic way a lot of mixing manages to get most of the cement and sand pretty well suspended in the water so that the pour is more or less consistent throughout.

Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-03-2008 04:42 AM

Thanks for the reply and the tips. I've installed a couple laminate floors, one of them in a basement, and I didn't notice anything warning against basement installation. It’s a fairly small space, so if I’m not completely broke at that point I might go for something a little nicer. To get rid of a laundry drain can I simply cap the drain, cement over it, and then apply leveling cement over that? Thanks.

AtlanticWBConst. 01-03-2008 05:19 AM

As suggested, you can use the floor leveling compound mix, however, please allow this to dry and cure COMPLETELY....before applying any underlayment or floor padding, or flooring. If you have access to a moisture meter, you can use that to check the moisture content of the floor.
Self leveler emits alot of water and moisture as it cures. You should put a dehumidifier in a dry corner or somewhere as the floor starts to cure, and keep it running until everything is good and dry.

The directions are right on the bag, in terms of the mixture.

Also- remember to acclimate your flooring....

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