How to fix self-leveling compound mistakes

How to fix self-leveling compound mistakes

Man doing self-leveling concrete

When using a self-leveling compound, it is possible to make mistakes during the application process. Fortunately, there are several ways to fix these mistakes depending on their severity.

One common issue is cracking, which can occur due to substrate movement, incorrect mixing ratios, or excessive thickness. To fix cracks, you can apply a crack repair compound and then add a new layer of self-leveling compound.

Another problem is an uneven surface caused by improper application or substrate preparation. To remedy this, you can use a grinding tool to level out any high spots and then apply a fresh layer of self-leveling compound.

In some cases, you may need to apply a second coat of self-leveling compound to achieve the desired levelness. However, it’s important to ensure that the first layer has fully cured before applying the second one. Additionally, make sure that the second layer is applied perpendicular to the first layer.

Sealing the self-leveling compound is crucial for protecting it from moisture and wear. You can choose from various sealers like epoxy or urethane sealers based on your specific needs for surface usage.

If removal of the self-leveling compound becomes necessary, you can use either a floor scraper or a grinder. However, be cautious not to damage the underlying substrate during this process.

Understanding how to address mistakes made with self-leveling compound applications promptly and effectively saves time and money while achieving smooth and level surfaces.

Take your time in diagnosing any issues that arise so you can select an appropriate repair method that avoids further complications.

How to Choose the Right Self-Leveling Compound

When choosing the right self-leveling compound, there are multiple factors to consider. These include viscosity, curing time, and application thickness.

Firstly, you need to determine the type of self-leveling compound that is suitable for your project. There are three common types of compounds available: gypsum-based, cement-based, and epoxy-based.

  • Gypsum-based compounds are cost-effective and ideal for indoor use in low-traffic areas.
  • Cement-based compounds are more durable and can be used in high-traffic areas or outdoor settings.
  • Epoxy-based compounds offer the highest level of durability and chemical resistance, making them suitable for industrial and commercial applications.

Viscosity is an important consideration as it determines how easily the compound can be spread and leveled. Thicker compounds require more effort to apply compared to thinner ones.

The curing time of the compound is another crucial factor. Rapid-curing compounds allow surfaces to be walked on within hours while slower-curing ones may take multiple days to fully cure.

Additionally, consider the application thickness needed for your project as this will affect the strength and durability of the finished surface.

To choose the best self-leveling compound for your project:

1) Evaluate specific project needs such as surface type, expected traffic level, and potential chemical exposure.
2) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully during application.
3) Ensure that the surface is properly prepared before applying the compound.

By considering these factors and selecting a suitable self-leveling compound, you can achieve a smooth and level surface that provides a strong foundation for your flooring.

 Best Practices for Working with Self-Leveling Compound

To ensure the best results when working with self leveling compound, there are several best practices to follow:

  • Proper substrate preparation: The substrate must be clean, dry, and free of any contaminants or debris. Any cracks or defects must be repaired before applying the self-leveling compound.
  • Accurate measurement and mixing: It is essential to measure the water and compound accurately and mix them thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Work in sections: To avoid the compound drying out before it can be spread evenly, it is best to work in sections and pour the compound onto the substrate consistently.
  • Avoid trapping air bubbles: To prevent air bubbles from becoming trapped in the compound, use a spiked roller or bubble buster to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  • Follow curing time: The self-leveling compound needs time to dry and cure properly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the curing time before applying any finishing materials or walking on the surface.
  • Finishing techniques: Once the self-leveling compound is dry, it is essential to apply the appropriate sealer or finishing materials, depending on the intended use of the surface.

By following these best practices, users can achieve a smooth, level surface that is free of air bubbles and has clean edges.

How to Remove Self-Leveling Compound

Removing self-leveling compounds can be a challenging and time-consuming process. However, with the right tools and techniques, it can be done effectively.

  • Evaluate the substrate: Before attempting to remove the self-leveling compound, it is essential to evaluate the substrate to determine the best removal method. Factors such as the type of substrate, thickness of the self-leveling compound, and intended use of the surface will impact the removal process.
  • Use a grinder: A grinder is an effective tool for removing self-leveling compounds. It is best to use a heavy-duty grinder with a diamond grinding wheel that can quickly remove the top layer of the self-leveling compound.
  • Consider a scraper: A scraper can also be used to remove self leveling compound, especially in areas where a grinder cannot reach. However, it is important to use caution to avoid damaging the substrate underneath.
  • Apply heat: Applying heat to the self-leveling compound can help soften it, making it easier to remove. This can be done using a heat gun or a propane torch. However, caution must be taken not to overheat the compound or the substrate underneath.
  • Use a chemical solvent: There are chemical solvents available that can dissolve self-leveling compounds. It is essential to choose the right solvent for the type of self-leveling compound being removed and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Hire a professional: Removing self-leveling compound can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it is best to hire a professional if the job is too challenging or if there is a risk of damaging the substrate.

Removing the self-leveling compound, it can be a daunting task. However, by evaluating the substrate, choosing the right removal method, and following the appropriate safety precautions

How to Troubleshoot Self-Leveling Compound Issues

When troubleshooting self-leveling compound issues, there are three common issues that can occur: pinholes, bubbling, and discoloration.

  • Pinholes can be fixed by applying a thin layer of compound over the affected area and smoothing out any bubbles or pinholes as you go.
  • Bubbling may require removing the affected area and reapplying the compound.
  • Discoloration can be addressed by applying a UV-resistant sealer to protect the surface.

To prevent further issues, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and ensure that the surface is clean before applying the compound. Choosing the right type of compound for your project and applying it correctly are also crucial steps.

If you’re unsure how to troubleshoot an issue, it’s recommended to consult with a professional who can provide guidance and assistance. By taking these precautions and following the proper steps, you can ensure a smooth and level surface for your finished flooring or tile.


In conclusion, taking the time to prepare, apply, and maintain self-leveling compound correctly is essential for ensuring a high-quality finished surface. By selecting the right type of compound for your project, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid common issues and ensure a smooth, level surface that will provide a strong and durable foundation for your finished flooring or tile. 

If you are unsure how to prepare or apply self-leveling compound, or if you encounter issues during the process, seeking professional help is always a good idea. A qualified professional can provide guidance and assistance, ensuring that your project is completed to the highest standards. By taking the appropriate steps and seeking help when needed, you can achieve a successful and long-lasting result.

michael Morris