How to Level a Concrete Floor
This guide will walk you through the definitions, pitfalls, and steps needed to level your concrete the right way.
Your Concrete Floor Leveling Options
Surface skim coats/self-leveling concrete compounds, grinding, and professional concrete leveling are the best options out there for leveling your concrete floor.
1. Surface Skim Coat or Self-leveling Concrete Compound
This option is best used in situations where the subsurface is stable but the surface of the slab is uneven. This can happen during the pouring process, leaving you with dips in the concrete after it is cured. Many people use this method to achieve a level surface in order to install flooring on top of the slab.
Surface skim coats or self-leveling concrete compounds don't do anything about any of the causes of uneven concrete and will cover the concrete with a material that isn't quite as strong or long-lasting.
This is typically recommended as a last-resort option for leveling uneven concrete. Typically it doesn't do much to actually level the concrete, but rather smooth out the uneven joints between slabs.
This option also damages the finished surface of the concrete, oftentimes revealing the aggregate core of the slab, thereby opening it up for more opportunity for damage from the elements.
3. Professional Concrete Slab Leveling
In many cases, this is the best option for leveling a concrete floor. It works by getting to the root issues of the uneven concrete, the foundation underneath. It levels the whole concrete slab, not just the surface. And it gives you an original surface that can last significantly longer than any surface repairs would.
Concrete Floor Leveling
Interior concrete floors, just like exterior slabs, can be raised using our process. We simply pull back the carpeting, lift up the tile or hardwood, and pump the floor level.
Step-by-step Guide to Leveling a Concrete Floor
Concrete leveling right isn't typically something you can do yourself. as it requires specialized equipment and experienced technicians. The good news is it is often significantly cheaper than you may have thought it would be.
Step 1: Determine the best type of concrete leveling for your job
The two main options are typically injection foam leveling or grout leveling. Both have their pros and cons, so it's important to know what you're looking for.
- Injection Foam Leveling: Often a good choice if you're looking for a low-mess solution, with smaller holes. Be aware, that even if your concrete floor is inside, this isn't the only option, but if you moving furniture, and floor coverings, isn't something you're able to do, this might be the way to go.
- Stone Slurry Grout Leveling: This method is most often a less expensive option. It does use larger holes, but does a better job of completely filling any voids you may have under the slab and it produces a more solid base than foam materials can give.
Step 2: Concrete leveling process begins
First, the leveling technicians drill holes in your slab in strategic locations. It is important to note that lifting slabs properly requires holes in places you wouldn't expect. Material needs to be injected under the slab in places that assure a complete filling of the void. Attempting to raise a slab by just drilling holes along the edge to be lifted can put undue stress on the slab and cause cracks to form.
Step 3: Voids are pumped with leveling mixture
After the holes are drilled, a mixture of either foam or stone slurry grout is pumped through the holes to fill any voids underneath. Once those voids are filled, the concrete can then be lifted.
With injection foam leveling, the lifting occurs as the foam expands. So you may see your technicians injecting foam and then waiting for a few seconds for it to expand. This is repeated until the slab is raised back into position.
For stone slurry grout leveling, the leveling occurs as pressure builds up from more material being injected under the slab. This is typically a more precise method of lifting because any movement of the slab stops instantly when the material is no longer being pumped.
Read more: How Does Concrete Leveling Work?
Step 4: Repair is finished
Finally, after the concrete floor has been leveled, the floor is cleaned up, and the holes are filled with non-shrink grout. Any floor coverings that were moved during the process can be moved back, and the floor can be used immediately.
Can my concrete be leveled?
Concrete naturally deteriorates over time. Without proper maintenance, it can be damaged beyond repair in as little as a decade or two. This may seem like a long time, but if concrete is properly cared for, it can last a lifetime. If the concrete is too old and broken up, then concrete leveling is probably not going to be a viable option.
You may think that covering the concrete with a skim coating of new cement, or some kind of epoxy would be an option, but without a good, stable foundation these types of fixes would quickly deteriorate, putting you back at square one.
With concrete like this, your only real option is to tear it out and replace it.
If your concrete is mostly in one piece, with maybe a few cracks, and unevenness between slabs (separated by expansion or saw-cut joints) then congratulations, you probably have a good candidate for concrete leveling.
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