How to install self-leveling underlayments?

Self-leveling concrete inderlayments are installed over uneven floors to level them so that other types of floor coverings can be installed properly. The self-leveling concrete underlayments make new or old floors smooth and level before any other types of floor covering are applied. Portland cement based self-leveling underlayments don’t require time-consuming finishing steps. They are poured or pumped into a subfloor, flow easily, and cover floors evenly. The term self-leveling isn’t quite accurate because most of the products have to be spread out with a gauge rake which is set at a certain thickness. But they are self-smoothing so no troweling is needed.

Unless a sub-floor is out of level be several inches, a self-leveling underlayment usually costs less than one using cellular lightweight concrete. Less material is required and production rates are greater because little spreading and no troweling are required. A self-leveling underlayment usually can be walked on in a few hours and covered with other types of floor covering within few hours. In contrast, lightweight concrete can’t be walked on until the next day and floor covering can’t be installed for about 28 days. Because self-leveling underlayments are applied much thinner, they add less dead load. The minimum 1-1/2” thickness of light weight concrete weighs 12 to 13 pounds per square foot whereas 1/4" cement self-leveling underlayment weighs about 2lb/sft. Time savings also give self-leveling underlayments an advantage over trowel-on mortars. At least eight times as much area can be covered in a day when a cement self-leveling underlayment is used instead of a trowel-on latex modified cement mortar.

Installation Steps – Self-leveling concrete underlaymets should not be installed at low temperatures (below 400F). Avoid direct sunlight and drafts to prevent fast surface drying. Normally, this isn’t a problem because most materials are designed for interior use only and are installed after the building is enclosed. Heat and ventilation may be required for underlayments to dry properly; these products should not be installed under high humidity conditions. If you are installing the underlayment yourself, follow these steps:

  • Clean and prime the subfloor
  • Mix the self-leveling concrete underlayment
  • Spread the material so it’s level
  • Wait for the floor to set before allowing traffic
  • Wait for the floor to dry before adding floor covering

Please CLICK HERE to watch detailed installation steps.

Duraamen industrial and polished concrete flooring products are designed to provide labor saving, longer lasting flooring solutions. Talk to an expert by calling +1.973.230.1301 or email: [email protected] about your flooring challenges.

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