- What is a self-leveling mixture
- Types and features of compositions
- Tips for choosing a material
- How to calculate the consumption of the mixture
- Filling the floor: step-by-step work
The main aid in preparing a perfectly flat base for laying flooring is the self-leveling compound. In order to independently perform the pouring, it is necessary to study in detail the features of the mixture, as well as to correctly calculate the material consumption.
So what if the floor surface is uneven? Today, the most optimal solution to this problem is to use a self-leveling mixture. This method has gained popularity due to its availability, relative simplicity in the device and high strength of the resulting surface. In addition, after pouring, there are no technological seams on the floor – the surface is perfectly flat, even if work is carried out in several adjacent rooms at once.
What is a self-leveling mixture
The concept of a self-leveling mixture should be understood as a special composition of the building mixture, which is applied to the floor with a layer of a certain thickness in the form of a liquid solution. This material is a modern alternative to traditional thick solutions, which are difficult to lay out evenly and then smoothly rub by hand. I mixed the mixture with water, poured it over the floor – and you’re done! But do not forget – the self-leveling compound cannot be used as a finishing decorative finish..
Types and features of compositions
It is necessary to choose one or another mixture for leveling the floor after a thorough examination of the surface flaws, measuring the height differences and taking into account the purpose of the room itself. The composition of each type of mixture differs in its technical characteristics and chemical formula. It is customary to distinguish two basic types.
Cement– are universal mixtures, as they can be used for pouring floors in almost any premises. In this case, the thickness of the cement layer can vary from 0.2 to 5 cm, but no more. The advantages of this mixture include quick drying (up to 5 hours), high strength and ability to withstand any mechanical damage. Disadvantage – this material is quite expensive.
Gypsum(anhydrous) – This material can only be used in dry rooms, therefore it is not recommended to use them in bathrooms, toilets, laundries and kitchens. The thing is that, under the influence of moisture, the mixture is able to increase in volume, therefore, it will lose not only its strength, but also its appearance. The maximum permissible thickness of the leveling layer for this material is 10 cm, so it will take much more time for the floor to dry completely than for a cement mixture.
In addition to the above types, there are two more types of compositions that differ in their intended purpose – these are rough and finishing. As you might guess from the names, the rough mixture is designed to eliminate serious flaws (deep cracks, bevels, height differences and other flaws, calculated in centimeters), and the finishing mixture is designed to create a perfectly smooth base. These mixtures are used strictly for their intended purpose, therefore, using the finishing mixture, it is impossible to level the floor with a large bevel, while applying a thick layer of mortar.
Tips for choosing a material
1. In addition to the main component, the mixture includes modifying additives that provide the material with additional properties. So, by adding special additives of plasticizers, the mixture receives increased elasticity and thermal conductivity, which allows it to be used as a self-leveling mixture for a warm floor of a house or apartment. And in order to increase adhesion, manufacturers add quartz sand to the mixture, which acts as an aggregate. Therefore, when choosing a leveler for your floor, you should carefully read its composition, paying attention to additives.
2. Before choosing the desired composition, you should determine the degree of unevenness of the floor surface. This is necessary in order to then correctly determine the thickness of the mortar layer. Remember that if you choose the wrong thickness, this can negatively affect the final result..
3. Good adhesion is fundamental when working with self-leveling floors. Therefore, regardless of the material chosen, you should carefully prime the surface. If the mixture will be poured into several layers, then each layer must also be treated with a primer..
4. If you have chosen a cement composition, keep in mind that the prepared mortar may set during operation. To avoid this, work at a fast pace, adding a little water to the solution if necessary – this will allow the mixture to maintain its properties and prevent subsequent cracking..
5. Do not forget to read the instructions! Moreover, it is important to do this before you begin to come up with what and what to mix. Manufacturers indicate the exact ratio of water and mixture so that you end up with a solution of sufficient consistency, which you can easily cope with pouring the floor..
How to calculate the consumption of the mixture
Calculations should begin with determining the area of the roughing base to be leveled. We determined the area, now carefully study the surface – are there deep cracks on it, how serious the elevation changes are, are there any pits. Thus, it is possible to accurately determine the thickness of the layer of the future solution..
The calculation of the required volume of the mixture is also based on what purpose it should fulfill. For example, if you need to make a base for the subsequent pouring of a 3D floor, then you need a small amount of mortar with which you can fill in all the cracks and potholes. If your goal is to form a rough base, which will then be covered with a finishing layer – you need more mortar, since the entire area will be covered with a layer with a pre-calculated thickness.
So, all the nuances have been taken into account – you can proceed to the calculations. Calculating the immediate amount of material is not so difficult..
To fill 1 m2 a layer 1 mm thick, it is necessary to prepare 1 liter of solution. So, for pouring 1 m2 floor with a layer of 5 mm you will need 5 liters of ready-made mortar.
Now calculate the amount of finished solution for your room. For example, if the surface area is 10 m2, and the required filling layer is 10 mm, then you need 100 liters of mixture.
But this is not the final figure yet. Now you need to adjust the flow rate of the mixture in accordance with its density. The manufacturer always indicates the density of the material on the package. For example, the indicated density is 1.30 kg / liter, so you actually need to prepare 100 x 1.3 = 130 liters of solution.
As for the thickness of the fill layer, it is also easy to calculate it. Find the highest point on your floor. It is much easier to do this with a laser level, but if not, use a ruler. Now determine the lowest point of the floor. The average value between these two values plus the minimum indicator of the coating thickness will be the thickness of the entire layer.
Important! The thickness of the screed layer should not be less than the minimum indicator that is provided by the manufacturer of the selected mixture. Layer thickness limits are always indicated on the packaging..
Filling the floor: step-by-step work
When buying a mixture, do not forget to purchase the necessary equipment. To work you will need:
- the container in which you will mix the dry mixture with water (this can be a bucket up to 20 liters);
- special nozzle (construction mixer);
- wide spatula, usually or scraper;
- needle roller with a long handle, with which air bubbles are removed from the pouring surface;
- floor primer (it is better if it is also antifungal).
It is unlikely that you will be able to perform all the work on filling the floor with high quality and quickly on your own, therefore it is best if one or even two assistants will assist you in this matter. The thing is that the mixture tends to dry out, therefore, the work must be carried out quickly and in one go.
The quality of the final result is influenced by how carefully you prepare the floor surface. First of all, it is necessary to remove all large and small debris. It is best if you use a construction vacuum cleaner for this purpose, as it can pull out debris even from deep cracks. Then carefully inspect the floor – if there are paint spots on it, then they should also be removed..
After that, the surface should be well primed. The primer will not only increase the adhesion of the mixture to the concrete base, but also form a protective polymer film. After waiting for the time during which the soil layer dries completely, you can start pouring the floor.
The pouring process consists of three stages of work: preparation of the mixture, applying the solution, leveling it with a roller. The main thing is that the process is continuous and fast, as the mixture begins to solidify after 30–40 minutes. Therefore, the best option would be if each of the stages is performed by a separate person..
1. Preparation of the solution, although it seems a simple matter, but here you need to take into account the nuance – the dry mixture must be poured into the water, and not vice versa. Otherwise, lumps will form in the solution, preventing the mixture from spreading evenly..
2. The prepared mortar is poured onto the floor and quickly spread using a trowel and roller.
3. Then additionally use a needle roller to remove all air from the mixture to obtain a smooth and durable surface. And again everything from the beginning – prepared, applied, leveled.
After the entire room is flooded, you need to monitor the temperature regime, not allowing the coating to dry out. The final finishing of the floor should be started strictly after the layer is completely dry. Depending on the mixture chosen, this time can vary from several hours to several weeks..
If you have already decided to use self-leveling mixtures for the floor, then do it right. Do not be lazy to study the instructions in detail, carefully prepare the surface and ask your friends to help you – in this case your work will not be in vain, and as a result you will get perfectly flat floors that will last for many years.