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How to Level an Uneven Floor

Floor leveling can get rid of dips in your concrete floor and make it more even.
Photo by Leslie Lopez Holder on Unsplash

Excessive moisture is the most common cause of an uneven floor. This is caused either by groundwater or a burst pipe. Likewise, commercial buildings located in humid parts of the country may experience uneven floors more often than their cold-weather counterparts. Uneven floors can create many industrial hazards and injury risks to the staff, so floor leveling is recommended to keep staff and patrons safe. 

What is Floor Leveling? 

Floor leveling corrects uneven or sagging floors and makes them safer. This is done by fixing low and high points in the floor so they become level. There are two types of floor leveling: 

  • A leveling compound that uses tools
  • A self-leveling compound that doesn’t use tools

A floor leveling compound mixture fills low areas in the floor. Otherwise, it’s added as a topcoat to existing concrete floors. A “low point” is also called a dip, and is the part in the floor where the surface slants. Leveling compounds requires tools such as gauge rakes, smoothers, and screeds. Screeds are long, straight boards that level wet concrete after it’s poured. The floor leveling compound creates a smooth and finished surface. Because of the tools used, floor leveling compound requires the skill of a professional floor leveling technician.  

Self-leveling compound, on the other hand, is made from cement and acrylic liquid polymer. Unlike floor leveling compounds, the self-leveling compound does not require tools to finish the job. 

Do I Need Professional Floor Leveling? 

If any of the following apply to you, it’s time to call a floor leveling professional:

  • Squeaky floors
  • Sloping floors
  • Your floor bounces when someone walks across it
  • Your floor has high or low spots

You may also need to contact a professional if there are any structural issues in either the floor or its foundation. 

How to Check for Uneven Floors

To check for uneven floors, measure the floor’s levelness by using a level. Lay the level with one end on the level part of the floor and the other at the point where it slopes. Measure the distance from the bottom of the level to the floor to find out how deep the slope is. Alternatively, you can toss a few marbles or golf balls on the floor to see where the floor slants. 

How to Level Floors

Before you get started, put on safety goggles, a face mask, and gloves. This will protect you from the level compound and reduce your risk of injury. Next, you have to determine what the underlying issue is so it can be corrected. As mentioned above, uneven floors are usually caused by excessive water or moisture. However, floors can also be uneven due to age, cracked joists, and foundation problems. In some cases, a rotted sill plate can cause uneven floors. These kinds of situations require the assistance of a trained floor repair professional. 

Next, prepare the floor. Sweep and vacuum to remove debris from the floor, including dust, so the surface is clear. This also includes furniture and other equipment around the office or workspace. Before the process begins, a piece of wood will be nailed across a door opening to prevent the compound from leaking out. If there are no underlying structural issues that need to be addressed, a self-leveling compound will be added to the floor. The liquid compound will fill in low spots, creating a level surface. 

Where Self-Leveling Compounds Are Used

The good news is that self-leveling compounds can be used pretty much anywhere. They are most commonly used in the following industries: 

  • Retail stores
  • Warehouses
  • Auto repair shops 
  • Hospitals 
  • Kennels and veterinary offices
  • Stadiums
  • Showrooms

Blair Duron works with all of these industries, plus many others. If your floor is slanted, our trained technicians can help. 

Benefits of Floor Leveling

Self-leveling compounds are durable and easy to install. This means you’ll be spending less money down the line for repairs. Because they’re made of polymer-modified cement, they also create a smooth surface. 

Self-levelers are also multifaceted and can be installed on most floors, including hardwood, tile, and on top of existing concrete. 

Tips About Using Self-Leveling Compounds

Self-leveling compounds are usually ready for use in about six hours. However, this depends on the type of floor you have. Also, it’s important to remember that this substance shouldn’t be mixed in extremely cold or hot temperatures, as this can destroy the integrity.