Self-Leveling Concrete

(Helpful tips and a rough estimate)

There are many companies that design, manufacture and sell self-leveling concrete. This gives a way for the Do-It-Yourself community to expand their knowledge and ability.

On the other hand, companies offer installation services that vary with project size, use, and needs for the customer. If you have found yourself at the end of a concrete mixer, drill, or a shovel and wheel borrow you will most likely agree that if the job requires a vast amount of materials maybe it’s time to call a company that offers an installation service. Since the material comes in somewhat easy to handle bags, one can section off areas and pour the self-leveling materials in phases.

Self-Leveling Concrete

A few months ago, I was doing a shower remodel job for a family member. We decided that the new bathroom would look great with an epoxy finish. The downside is this foundation which was poured in the 90’s looked decent from the initial inspection but was nowhere close to level after a closer look. So, I did what every concrete contractor would do, I bought some self-leveling concrete and tackled the job! Here are a few helpful tips that will help you if you decide to DIY.

  • Start with a clean surface. Use a shop vac and clean every square inch of the concrete. Cleaning along the walls, especially under the trim and drywall.
  • Remove any nails or high spots. This can be done with a grinder. Then reclean the floor.
  • Read the mixing and application instructions thoroughly. The material that I used only needed to be mixed with water and a self-leveling liquid. Some manufactures require a bonding agent to be added into the mix instead of water. This doesn’t mean one is better than the other. I only allowed the self-leveling liquid in an area where I could add the material but not walk on it.
  • Tape off the perimeter of the room. I used painters’ tape along the base boards and weather stripping to create a dam at the nail stirps for the adjoining carpeted rooms.
  • Mix your material and apply to the floor.
  • Any pieces of material that didn’t mix well will need to be removed so it won’t leave high spots.

Allow to fully cure before you walk on it.

What does this cost on average if you decide to hire a contractor? Roughly $20 to $30 a square foot, depending on the thickness of material needed to level floor. The material is more expensive than regular concrete mix, which about $6 a bag. Self-leveling concrete is anywhere between $30 and $90 a bag with less yield.