Self-Leveling Concrete Guide| Things To Know

self-leveling concrete

self-leveling concrete has become one of the most used methods for achieving a smooth, even floor, In this guide, we are discussing the application and the benefit of self-leveling concrete.

What is self-leveling concrete?

Self-leveling concrete is a cementitious mixture that looks and performs similarly to traditional concrete. When poured over an area, self-leveling concrete is a polymer-modified high-performance concrete that has the capacity to flow, compress, and give a level surface. Normal concrete requires vibration, whereas self-leveling concrete does not.

How to mix self-leveling concrete

Step 1: Pour water into the bucket until it reaches half of the bucket.

Step 2: Plug the mixer into the driller and check if it’s rotating well.

Step 3: Pour the concrete self-leveling compound into the bucket of water.

Step 4-Start mixing immediately. Stir for about 2-3 minutes with a high-speed drill until the mixture is lump-free and homogeneous.

How to apply self-leveling concrete 

After inspecting the floor, check if it’s okay to be primed. Then, after priming, you lower your bucket of the self-leveling concrete mixture and pour it into a diagonal pattern.

Move the mixture around with the spreader to achieve the desired thickness. Most of it will self-level, but it will require some assistance in spreading it out. If necessary, use the smoothing tool to remove any lines left by the spreader.

Self-leveling concrete is achieved when the self-leveling compound is mixed and poured on the floor.

Types of self-leveling compound

  • Waterbased compound: Waterbased compound is mixed with water to get waterbased self-leveling concrete
  • Acrylic compound: Acrylic compound is mixed with Acrylic polymer to get acrylic self-leveling concrete 

Characteristics of self-leveling compound

  • Low Plastic Density
  • Exceptional Flowability
  • Segregation is minimal
  • Self-leveling concrete has low Bleeding

Importance of a self-leveling concrete

  • Self-leveling concrete delivers a smooth and even floor
  • Self-leveling concrete provides a robust compressive strength that is comparable to traditional concrete 

Benefits of self-leveling concrete

  • Null bacteria to grow
  • requiring less work
  • Self-leveling concrete helps floor surfaces become water-resistant.
  • Very easy to apply
  • Most suitable for resurfacing the floor.
  • Self-leveling concrete is rapid to dry
  • Compressive strength higher than traditional concrete is obtained
  • Self-leveling concrete protects the concrete floor from bleeding and segregation issues

Properties for making a self-leveling concrete

Sand Silica Quartz10-60%
Portland Cement10-60%
Flow aid, Plasticiser1-10%
calcium Carbonate10-60%
Polymer Modifiers1-10%

Problems of self-leveling concrete

  • Self-leveled concrete floor is not level.
  • Too much water in the compound: This problem is cost by inadequate mixing of the compound with water.
  • Cracks in the self-leveling concrete: Applying a material that is thicker than required might produce excessive shrinkage, resulting in fractures and delamination from the substrate. 
  • Not Prime properly: Install self-leveling concrete only in the primer’s application zone. A leveler’s effectiveness may be impacted if it is applied too soon after a primer because the primer may migrate into the self-leveling concrete

Cheap alternative to self-leveling concrete

A self-leveling concrete bag is more expensive than a bag of ordinary cement. And also the worker’s payment can be a little bit on the high side compared to others that are listed below;

  • Portland cement and sand
  • Foam
  • Sand mix
  • Gypsum-based compound

Tools that you need for self-leveling concrete

  • Spiked shoes
  • Gauge-rake
  • MIxing barrel
  • Paddle mixer
  • Smoothers
  • Spike rollers

Where to buy the tools:

  • Home Depot
  • Screwfix
  • Ardex GmbH
  • Mapei

Underlay you can pour self-leveling concrete:

  • Cementitious floor
  • Gypsum floor
  • Wood floor

Self-leveling concrete outdoors

Self-leveling concrete is used both outdoors and indoors as flooring or as a standalone surface. Basically, the process of leveling indoors and outdoors is the same with slight variations. For self-leveling exterior areas, there are things and materials that are different when it comes to self-leveling outdoor areas like patios and driveways.  

The self-leveling compound for exterior areas has a different texture because of the rough and hasty conditions that the floor will go through.

Here are the slight variations of self-leveling outdoors:

  • The thickness of the self-leveling concrete outdoors is denser than that of indoors
  • More workers are needed because the leveling compound will dry up fast. 

Is self-leveling concrete damp proof

Self-leveled concrete on its own is not damp-proof; to make it water resistant, some sealant is to be applied as an overlay to the leveled concrete floor. These overlays can be Epoxy, Acrylic, a Penetrating sealer, and Polyurethane. With these things, you can be sure that your concrete is moisture-proof. 

Apply color to self-leveling concrete

When it comes to the beautification of self-leveled concrete, coloring the concrete is required. It is because the color gives the concrete a fantastic look. There are ways to color the concrete floor, which are: 

  • Stain concrete: Stain concrete is a coloring method that is popular and used across many concrete coloring jobs. There are several types of stains that can be used on self-leveled concrete, including 
  1. Acid-based stain 
  2. Water-based stain 
  • Dye concrete: Dye is a concrete-penetrating color solution. The application of dye to concrete is done in both commercial and residential areas.
  • Tinted sealers: In the process of sealing the concrete, there are some that have a tinted color that will change the color of the concrete when they are applied to the floor.
  • Paint: Painting the self-leveled concrete is a good way of coloring the concrete. There are limitations to painting. 
  1. Like painting a large concrete floor is not advisable, 
  2. painting a high-traffic area is not good. 
  3. Also, if the floor is not primed well during the installation of the paint, as time goes on the paint will start peeling off the self-leveled concrete floor. 
  • Integral color in concrete: This method is done at the mixing stage of the self-leveling compound. The color is added at the time of adding water to the self-leveling concrete.
  • Concrete color hardener: concrete color hardener is a powder that is meant to harden the concrete floor, but due to the fact that it has pigments of color, it can also be used to color the concrete. This coloring is done when the self-leveling concrete is freshly poured on the cement floor, and it is done by a dry-shake method. This method is not costly because the process is all done together with the self-leveling process. 

self-leveling concrete dry time

There is no particular time for self-concrete to be able to dry. It is determined by the concrete material; it differs from component to component. It takes an average of one hour to six hours to dry the concrete for a good compound to cure. Allow adequate time for the concrete to dry entirely; the further it dries, the stronger it will be.

self-leveling concrete patch

When trying to work on a concrete patch, it takes the same process. Just like when you are doing the work afresh, the only difference is that you must fill up the holes in the concrete with concrete filler and sealer, especially large holes.

self-leveling concrete maximum thickness

When creating a self-leveling floor, every millimeter must be taken into account. For residential properties, a one-millimeter covering will be enough. You will save money by having a thinner flooring layer. The self-leveling concrete is diluted with water and poured into layers varying in thickness from 3 mm to 5 mm. Bulk cement flooring can be installed in 5 to 30 mm thick layers or as a thin-layer strip. Gypsum floors can only be manufactured thinner than 20 mm, whereas cement self-leveling floors can be created thinner.

Is self-leveling cement waterproof?

Self-leveling types of cement are not waterproof and should not be used over waterproofing coatings, but they can be used as bonded toppings on prepared concrete substrates and then covered with a membrane. An applied coating, on the other hand, must shield these compounds against moisture penetration.

Is self-leveling cement toxic?

Self-levelers are typically non-toxic once installed. You might use shims, plywood, or concrete boards to level the floor. When moist, or if the powder is consumed, they are poisonous. They should be as hard as a rock after drying, and a fresh wear layer should be applied.

How long does self-leveling concrete last 

A self-leveling concrete project may appear fine for a few months, if not years. However, if not done correctly, it can ultimately crack. If your floors vibrate or bounce, the concrete may break as well.

Can self-leveling concrete be used on wood floors

There are things to consider before you can start leveling on wood floors. Some floor levelers combine with water, while others mix with latex. It is critical to ensure that the latex comes with the floor leveling compound or that it is purchased with it if it is not packed together. Check the label to make sure it’s safe to use on wood. Floor leveling chemicals are designed to be applied over concrete. Most will work on wood as well, but double-check that the compound you buy will. Always purchase more than you need since the pour must be completed entirely to guarantee that it levels. Going back to the store for more is out of the question.


Self-leveling concrete can be a useful option for leveling these issues without having to replace the entire floor structure. It’s one of my favorites because you can pour it one day and walk right over it the next.  Self-leveling cement may appear to be a simple task, but it is extremely easy to mess up if you don’t know what you’re doing — and believe me, this is one job you do not want to mess up. Not only is the product expensive, but repairing it if it breaks down may be time-consuming and costly.

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