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|10-01-2010, 09:46 PM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1Rewards Points: 10
Self Leveling Cement Gone Horribly Wrong - HELP
I came upon this forum while searching on the internet in reference to a problem I've got. I'm hoping to get some expert advice here about my flooring issues. I'll start from the beginning and be as articulate as I can manage.
I bought a house last December. It was built in 1947 and had a half-finished basement. The other half of the basement had laundry room written all over it. I've got an engineering background and most manual labor lacks mystery to me even if I don't have a developed skillset. (Keep reading - you'll feel better about my arrogance at the end). I set about demo on the partly finished segment that was there in preparation for my project. My floorplan called for 1' ceramic tiles on a roughly 300 sq ft. space.
The floor was covered with 9" tiles (probably asbestos) over cutback cement (the nasty tar black stuff) painted right onto the concrete slab.
Let's not talk about how the tiles came out or what happened to them. Suffice to say, they came up easily and are now gone. However, the cutback cement is still there and, though it is not tacky or particularly soft, it is thoroughly stuck to the slab which is so rough I cannot wet scrape the stuff off to any reasonable extent.
In the interim between Issue #1 and Issue #2, I put up walls, performed all electrical and plumbing work, and had sheet rock installed.
The slab isn't quite even. There is a control joint running down the middle and there are little valleys and hills visible in the pour. Nothing substantial, but enough to suggest the slab was troweled by hand. It's not level in some places and I'm concerned this will be visible in the tilework when I'm done (nevermind the cutback issue from #1).
Henry 565 FloorPro from Lowes. This seems to be a good idea. It claims to be rated for use over cutback if you prime correctly and does not require any sort of mesh. Perfect - except I need 8 bags of the stuff and the work time is 10 minutes. I had a feeling this was a recipe for disaster, but I organized a couple of serious drills and mixer paddles as well as 3 or 4 friends to form my cement mixing assembly line. (I know - this ultimately turned out exactly like you think it did). We got started, mixed correctly, and booked through the 8 bags needed to cover the floor. I used a squeegee to spread the stuff around so it would cover completely and left it to level. Everything looked good and I was psyched about tiling over the weekend.
My self leveling job looks like ****. There are more hills and valleys in it than the floor that I started with. There is a big bubble in one spot that looks like the floor underneath burped while the SLC was setting. This is not good and I'm suddenly panicking about what to do.
Well, this stuff looks like it set up too fast, so I need something that has a longer work time and will bond to this stuff. Let's try the Henry Floor patch compound with the latex additive and fix up the hills and valleys in the SLC. Unfortunately, while it looks better, I'm convinced that its not as good as I think it is and it will take multiple mixes and rounds with the trowel to complete this. I ignore this problem for now and decide to paint while I ponder what to do.
60 days have gone by since I poured the SLC and I'm no closer to figuring out what to do. In addition to the issues I've already had, I've realized that I'm able to pull on the edge where I set up a barrier to preclude the SLC from leaving the room and find that the SLC is brittle and hasn't bonded to the floor all that well. The remaining pieces are large and seem to be stuck to the floor on the basis of the texture, but I'm confident I could remove them easily with a hammer, a chisel, and some patience. Also, I can see shrinkage cracks that make the room look like a big puzzle with the pieces ranging from 4 to 20 sq ft in size. Lastly, I realize that I poured over the control joint without caulking it first so the joint is not honored through to the top of the SLC. At this point, I consider myself well and truly ****ed.
So now I'm in a situation where I need to figure out what to do. My project has been stalled long enough. I need help. My current thinking is that I should either:
1. Chisel out the SLC (500 dollars down the tube), use an angle grinder to deal with the high spots in the subfloor, and test the latex based thinset I bought (laticrete megabond) to see if it will bond to my cutback coated floor. If it does, I'll simply tile the room from there and live with the inconsistencies.
2. Accept that the SLC, while probably not bonded as well as it could be, is still stuck to the floor after 60 days of walking on it. Caulk the shrinkage cracks, finish the floor compound patching, and tile over it.
I'm listening for any other options you might have to offer. At this point, I consider myself a competent DIYer and I've now gained the experience of ****ing this up real bad. I'd appreciate it if someone could help me get this project the rest of the way done.
|10-02-2010, 06:13 AM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Kane county,Illinois
Posts: 25,633Rewards Points: 1,992
Never tried Henry's--I've used Jiffset with good results--Try the grinder,or knock out the high spots completely and refill those spots-- Sorry to hear the leveler crapped out on you---
That is a large learning curve--the directions make it sound so simple--
|10-02-2010, 09:56 PM||#3|
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Troy, Michigan
Posts: 5,439Rewards Points: 4,794
SLC's can be a big hemorrhoid regardless of who makes them. They make it sound sooooo simple as Mike said. Truth is they need help to level out, they make a special tool, it's like a rake thingy. It takes getting used to them.
*Not mixing exactly as directed.
*Working too slow cuz it's not well planned or not enough help on hand.
*Should use very cold water to mix.
*Not having enough product on hand cuz it's underestimated how much out-of-level the floor is. I'm sure I missed a few other things.
How about you tap the entire floor with the handle of a screwdriver to listen for obvious areas that are not bonded.
If all is good, knock down the high spots and get more SLC.
Cut the SLC out of the control joint and maintain it in the tile work.
TILE GUY - retired- TROY, MI - Method & Product suitability consulting.
MARBLE from ITALY & GREECE - PERLATO - PERLATINO - BOTTICINO - THASSOS - SIVEC - VOLAKAS - CALACATTA - NAXOS - Slabs - Tiles - Custom containers email@example.com
|10-03-2010, 08:04 AM||#4|
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 44Rewards Points: 25
|10-03-2010, 05:18 PM||#5|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 10,704Rewards Points: 556
The basic cost of the SLC sometimes causes people to skimp. It is most important to use the primer recommended for use with the particular brand of SLC.
The primer creates a suitable bonding surface and prevents (SLC) edges from curling but just as importantly...the primer seals the substrate so that moisture from the SLC doesn't prematurely wick into a porous substrate slowing the flow and accelerating the cure adversely. The use of primer is crucial to the success of the flow.
Self Levelling Compound is a great product but it is not truly "self levelling" and always requires some encouragement from the handler.
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