How to fix self-leveling compound mistakes

How to fix self-leveling compound mistakes

Self-leveling compound is a popular material used in construction and renovation projects to level out uneven floors and create a smooth, flat surface. It is a mixture of cement, water, and additives that can be poured onto a substrate and spread out using tools to create a level surface. However, the process of using self-leveling compound can be challenging, and mistakes can lead to costly and time-consuming repairs. Therefore, it is essential to use self-leveling compound correctly to ensure the best results.

Man doing self-leveling concrete

This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of using a self-leveling compound, including tips, techniques, and troubleshooting strategies. It will cover everything from substrate preparation and choosing the right compound to application, sealing, and removal. By following the steps outlined in this guide, users can avoid common mistakes and achieve a smooth, level surface that meets their needs.

Throughout this guide, we will use an authoritative tone and academic writing style to provide readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. We will draw upon our extensive knowledge and experience in the construction and renovation industry to provide practical advice and tips. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional contractor, this guide will provide valuable insights into the world of self-leveling compound.

How to Choose the Right Self-Leveling Compound

Self-leveling compounds are an essential component of many construction and renovation projects, as they provide a smooth, level surface for the installation of flooring, tile, and other finishing materials. When selecting the right self-leveling compound for your project, there are several factors to consider, including viscosity, curing time, and application thickness.

There are numerous types of self-leveling compounds available, including gypsum-based, cement-based, and epoxy-based. Gypsum-based compounds are ideal for indoor use and offer a cost-effective option for low-traffic areas. Cement-based compounds are stronger and more durable, making them suitable for high-traffic areas and outdoor use. Epoxy-based compounds are the most durable and chemical-resistant option, making them ideal for industrial and commercial applications.

When selecting the right self-leveling compound, viscosity is an important consideration. The viscosity of the compound will determine how easily it can be spread and leveled, and thicker compounds will require more effort to apply. The curing time is also an essential factor to consider, as it will affect how quickly the surface can be used.

Rapid-curing compounds can be walked on within hours, while slower-curing compounds may take several days to cure fully. Additionally, the application thickness will affect the strength and durability of the finished surface, and it’s essential to choose a compound that meets the requirements of your project.

To select the best self-leveling compound for your project, it’s important to evaluate the specific needs of the project and choose a compound that meets those requirements. Consider the type of surface to be covered, the expected traffic, and any chemical exposure.

It’s also essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and ensure that the surface is prepared correctly before applying the compound. By selecting the right self-leveling compound and applying it correctly, you can ensure a smooth, level surface that will provide a strong and durable foundation for your finished flooring or tile.

How to Fix Self-Leveling Compound Mistakes

Even with proper substrate preparation and application techniques, mistakes can still occur when using self-leveling compound. However, there are several strategies to fix these mistakes, depending on the severity of the issue.

  • One common issue with self-leveling compound is cracking. Cracks can occur due to substrate movement, incorrect mixing ratios, or excessive thickness. To fix cracks, users can apply a crack repair compound, followed by a new layer of self-leveling compound.
  • Another issue is an uneven surface, which can be caused by improper application or substrate preparation. To fix an uneven surface, a grinding tool can be used to level out the high spots, followed by a new layer of self-leveling compound.
  • In some cases, a second coat of self-leveling compound may be necessary to achieve the desired levelness. However, it is essential to ensure that the first layer is fully cured before applying a second layer, and the second layer should be applied in a perpendicular direction to the first layer.
  • Sealing the self-leveling compound is important to protect it from moisture and wear. There are several sealers available, including epoxy and urethane sealers. It is essential to choose the right sealer for the application, depending on the intended use of the surface.
  • Finally, in cases where the self-leveling compound needs to be removed, a floor scraper or a grinder can be used to remove the top layer. However, caution must be taken not to damage the substrate underneath.

By understanding how to fix self-leveling compound mistakes, users can save time and money and achieve a smooth, level surface. It is essential to take the time to properly diagnose the issue and decide on the right repair technique to avoid further complications.

 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

While self-leveling compound is a useful material for creating a smooth, level surface, there may be instances where it needs to be removed. This could be due to mistakes made during the application process, changes in the intended use of the surface, or the need to repair underlying substrate issues.

Removing self-leveling compound 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 compound. 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 compound. 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.

In removing 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

Self-leveling compounds can sometimes present issues that can affect the overall quality of the finished surface. Common issues that can occur include pinholes, bubbling, and discoloration. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix these issues.

Pinholes can occur when air becomes trapped in the compound during application. To fix this issue, use a small brush or roller to apply a thin layer of compound over the affected area. Be sure to smooth out any bubbles or pinholes as you go.

Bubbling can occur when the compound is applied too thickly or when moisture is present. If bubbling occurs, you may need to remove the affected area and reapply the compound. Discoloration can occur when the compound is exposed to sunlight or other sources of UV radiation. To fix this issue, you can apply a UV-resistant sealer to protect the surface.

When troubleshooting self-leveling compound issues, it’s essential to take precautions to avoid further issues. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and ensure that the surface is clean and free from debris before applying the compound. It’s also essential to choose the right type of compound for your project and to apply it correctly. 

If you are unsure how to troubleshoot an issue, consult with a professional who can provide guidance and assistance. By taking the proper precautions and following the appropriate steps, you can ensure a smooth, level surface that will provide a strong and durable foundation 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.