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Old 03-08-2014, 07:15 AM   #1
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Self Leveling Compound Help


I'm using self leveling compound to help level my floor prior to tile installation. I have never used it before and was hoping I could get some advice.

1) First of all, I am laying marble tile. My floor is of adequate strength and deflection. Part of the floor will have 16 inch tiles while another room will have a basketweave with very small tiles each only an inch or so. I know the floor for the 16 inch tiles has to be completely flat. Am I correct in assuming the basketweave tile floor is a little more forgiving? I am doing the basketweave first for that reason.

2) I have properly secured exposure 1 3/4" underlayment grade plywood on the floor. Do I need to use a primer on this prior to using the self leveling compound?

3) I have Mapei self leveling compound. The guy at Lowe's recommended that I use part Mapei Planipatch Plus when mixing the SLC. He said it would make it adhere better. Should I use this mixed with water or use only water?

4) What tips do you have for using self leveling compound?

5) What tools should I have on hand to help level it. I'm assuming something like the tools used to finish concrete are helpful, but I have never done either.

Thanks for your help!

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Old 03-08-2014, 11:20 AM   #2
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Self Leveling Compound Help


In #3 you said you have Mapei self leveling but didn't say which one. They make at least 6 different types. Are we to assume it's the one called "Self Leveler"?

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Old 03-08-2014, 11:52 AM   #3
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Self Leveling Compound Help


The package says "Mapei Self Leveler" and then under that is says "self leveling underlayment." I haven't opened it so if there is something better to put over the exposure 1 exterior plywood I have down please let me know. I will be putting ditra between the self leveler and tile.

I did find where Mapei recommends "Mapei Primer T" with that product, so I plan to see if I can find that product, unless someone tells me otherwise.

So, I guess aside from advice about using this product the biggest issue right now is whether I use water only to mix the compound or take the recommendation of using the Planipatch Plus to mix it.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:58 AM   #4
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Self Leveling Compound Help


A couple other quick questions:

I see they recommend using "diamond mesh" over the underlayment before adding the self leveling compound in certain situations. How do I know if I need that?

Lastly, when mixing the self leveling compound, there is a range of water to add. What sort of consistency am I looking for? I have the thinset down after laying some backsplash and tile, but assume I want the self leveler to be more liquid so it spreads easier.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:23 PM   #5
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Self Leveling Compound Help


Read and re read the directions carefully. They want you to mix with water only. You always have to use the primer. The Mapelath is another method, another choice. Read the direction for the products you can get locally and see which is best for your situation.

Mix with the amount of cool water stated. Water in 5 gal. pail first then slowly add the powder. Work fast, have everything ready with a plan and have plenty of product and help. The product will want to find its own level, but needs a little help.

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Old 03-08-2014, 04:43 PM   #6
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Self Leveling Compound Help


I have used SLC once, so last year I was in your place.
#1 -- make sure you have a BIG (maybe rent one) drill for mixing. I bought the fancy mixing paddle with the big blades on it and my drill started to smoke!!! I don't think I had too much trouble holding the pail while mixing, but a helper would probably be useful.
#2 Make sure that water is cool/cold. Warm water will make it set up faster and that is the last thing you need.
#3 As Jazz said, it is not self leveling -- it needs a little help to make it flow. I used a garden rake.
I had a few strategically placed screws in the floor, not driven all the way down, but driven so that the top of the screw head was where the top of the SLC should be. That helped, but I still did not get it quite as flat as I wish I had.
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Old 05-18-2014, 08:36 AM   #7
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Self Leveling Compound Help


Guys-After having to put this project on the back burner for a few months, I am back to it full speed. I was planning to use the Mapei Self Leveler but because I could not find the Mapei primer locally I went this Henry's. However, after using Henry's primer I noticed some installation requirements that were more difficult so I am thinking about switching back and using Mapei. Here are my questions:

1) I used "Henry 554 LevelPro Underlayment Primer" on the floor. Can I put the Mapei compound over this or do I need to go back and specifically buy the Mapei primer and recoat the plywood?

2) Nowhere on the Mapei does it tell me what to use over the joints. Am I to assume I can put SLC into the joints?

3) With the diamond mesh lath--it says that is optional depending upon your floor but generally better with it. I lean towards using it just to be safe. Is the Mapelath (plastic lath made by Mapei to replace traditional lath) just as good if not better than the traditional?

4) Lastly, when I am putting down the lath, I do not think I am going to have to use SLC on the entire floor. Do I put the lath over the entire floor and then just put my thinset and ditra over it?

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:18 PM   #8
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Self Leveling Compound Help


You don't need the lath, it will only complicate things for you.
The primer you have will work just fine but for future reference you should always stay with the same manufacturer when installing systems such as this.

WHATEVER YOU DO...DO NOT mix Plani-Patch in the SLC powder. The guy that told you to do that is some kind of an idiot, NEVER NEVER NEVER do that.

When you pour the SLC, pour the entire area. Don't try to screw with the product by tapering and feathering it. You are kidding yourself if you think you can pull that off without adding more problems to the project.

Get a helper, have your water measured accurately for each batch, you can use a (hard) garden rake to help move the SLC along. After the first few minutes after placement, get away from it and don't be tempted to go back and touch/dress something. Let it do its thing on its own.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:14 PM   #9
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Self Leveling Compound Help


Thanks Bud! That was a great answer....I appreciate the help!
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:32 PM   #10
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Self Leveling Compound Help


Good advice above..... also, plug any and all holes or anywhere the SLC can leak thru.... because it will.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:04 AM   #11
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Self Leveling Compound Help


So I finally got around to using the SLC compound and overall I would say it was definitely successful! It went pretty well. Now, I am getting ready to put the ditra over it.

My question is this: at the edges of the SLC it has a "lip"...not big at all, but maybe 2 or 3mm (which is what the directions say you should taper it down to). Do I need to do anything with this? Should I sand it down so it tapers more or will the thinset and ditra be fine over top of that?

If it matters, I am putting a basketweave marble tile over it...it is a meshed sheet of tile with pieces of marble about 1 inch approximately.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:07 AM   #12
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Self Leveling Compound Help


Also, I know for marble you want the floor VERY flat. I do remember someone said there was a very very little bit of wiggle room.

For larger (like, 16x16, which I am going to be laying in another room) marble tiles, how flat does the floor need to be? (obviously the flatter the better, but can it tolerate a mm here or there?)

Common sense (which may be wrong) tells me that you can probably tolerate less flatness with basketweave and small tiles....is that flawed logic?
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:07 AM   #13
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Self Leveling Compound Help


Anyone have any answers for me? I would appreciate it!

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