Level a Floor — Cabin DIY

Level a Floor - Cabin DIY

How to Level a Floor

With spring right around the corner, my wife and I are focused on getting the cabin porch into shape.  We are starting with the floor.

The plan is to remove the old carpet, level the floor and resurface the floor with rustic tile. We were starting with very old carpet glued to a very out of level concrete slab.

Removing the carpet was fairly straight forward, it was several decades old and came up very easily. Unfortunately, the carpet glue residue left on the concrete slab was not so easy to remove.

After hours of scraping at the stuck carpet glue residue, I figured there must be an easier way, and headed to the rental center at the local Home Depot.

I rented a Clarke FM series commerical floor polisher.  Using the brush attachment, I was able to remove most of the remaining glue residue in about 30 minutes.

Porch concrete floor with old glued on carpet prior to leveling.

Using a rented commerical floor polisher with brush attachement to remove old carpet glue residue prior to leveling floor.

Once the floor polisher did it job all I needed to do was vacuum up the dusty residual glue / carpet backing mess and finish by hand the portion of the floor to close to the wall and corners for the polisher.

Bare concrete slab with the carpet and glue residue removed, ready for floor leveling.

Finally down to the bare slab, I was ready to proceed with leveling the concrete slab floor. If you look closely alone the inside wall and you will appreciate just how sloped the floor is nearly 3 low half way across this 12 span! Prior to leveling the slab, you should check to be sure any structural / support issues are addressed prior to leveling the floor.  Additionally, ensure that the floor to be leveled can handle the weight of the material to be added for the leveling process.

Knowing how expensive self-leveling floor products are and realizing I needed 3 inches of material in some areas, I need to find a way to complete the leveling process in an economically reasonable fashion and using a method that could fill in the deeper deficits I had.

Level a Floor - Cabin DIY

The idea I came up with was to use both conventional concrete mix (and motor mix) as a base layer, to get the floor close to level and finished with the more expensive self-leveling underlayment mix.

It is true that some of the self-leveling floor mixes can be used by themselves to level floors with an inch or more out of level, but these products are typically five to ten times the cost of traditional concrete products, making them cost prohibitive for me to use for the entire project.

So to get started, I used premixed bags of high strength portand cement mix (fortified and fiber reinforced) for the first layer and to fill in most of the deficits.  To feather the edges of the coarse rock aggregate, I used a sand motar mix fortified with latex.  The final leveling layer used the more expensive self-leveling underlayment mix.

The results were fantastic.  The less expensive concrete worked well to fill in the the majority of the low spots and allowed me to use much less of the more expensive self-leveling underlayment mix.  I saved well over a thousand dollars by using this multiple material in layers technique.   The trade off was time.  The concrete needed 3 4 weeks to cure prior to applying the floor leveler, requiring over a month to complete the entire process.

How to Level a Floor

Preparation and Materials

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