Self-leveling over tiles

Can you self-level over a tile?

Achieving a leveled floor over ceramic tiles is entirely possible with the use of a self-leveling compound. However, it is crucial to undertake some essential inspections before pouring the compound to ensure that your efforts are not in vain. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about leveling over ceramic tiles so that you can proceed with confidence.

Tiles that can withstand concrete over it

  • Ceramics
  • Marble
  • Quarry
  • Porcelain 

These tiles have what is needed to act as a subfloor

The process of resurfacing tile floor with concrete

Check the ceramic tile

Ensuring the ceramic tiles are securely installed on the floor is vital. To do so, try dragging a chain across the tiles and listening for any unusual sounds; these could signify an issue beneath or a gap between the tiles and the floor. Additionally, examine the grout lines and remove any loose bits using a hammer and chisel. If there are any broken or loose tiles, carefully remove them, leaving behind some space to pour into the compound. Finally, dispose of all broken pieces.

Scuff up the ceramic tiles 

To ensure a strong bond with the self-leveling compound, it is necessary to roughen the glazed surface of ceramic tiles. This can be achieved by sanding, which should not take long for smaller surfaces.

For larger floors, consider hiring an industrial scrubber or diamond grinder with sanding pads. Remember to wear a mask while sanding.

Maintain a Clean Substrate for Stronger Tensile Bond

To ensure a stronger tensile bond, the substrate must be free of any pollutants that may weaken it. Start by sweeping up any dirt or debris from the floor with a push broom. Next, using a nylon scrub brush and tile cleanser, scrub the tiles to remove oils or embedded debris. Rinse them thoroughly with clear water and towel them off with a cloth.

It’s crucial to remove all dust, oil, and other impurities from the substrate before applying any adhesive since they can reduce bond strength. If the substrate does not match the minimum tensile bond strength requirement of 75 psi, mechanically remove it until you achieve a solid foundation.

Once you’ve cleared away debris, vacuum up any stray items on the area’s surface. To ensure proper application conditions for adhesive products such as temperature limits between 50-800F degrees and at least 450F degrees for substrate temperature during placement would need to maintain air circulation.

Finally, ensure adequate airflow for even drying while keeping moisture content in check – never exceeding RH levels over 90%.

Application red guard (optional)

This is done with a roller that the painter used, the reason for applying this is for the grout lines not to ghost out when the self-leveling is done

Cut and seat mesh

This is laid over the tiles after the red guard has been applied, and then you touch it up with a little gas heat for it to sit well on the floor, I will advise that if you are going to do this method, you have to call a professional.

Checking the bubbles in the mesh

If there is a bubble below the mesh then it calls for attention, because if not taken care of it will go through the leveled concrete. 

Mixing and pouring of leveling compound

During this process, you must have buckets and mixing equipment ready, as well as a mixer with you. Pour some water, like half the bucket, so that you can mix the compound without spilling the mixture. 

It is necessary to create a dam by using spray foam to seal up openings at the edges of the wall so that the self-leveling compound will not flow into areas that are not required.

It is advised to follow the manufacturer’s directives to know the particular amount of compound you will mix at a time. 

Self Leveling Area

After pouring the compound into a bucket of water, you mix it with an industrial drill. Please avoid a cordless drill because, in my experience, it will almost disappoint during work time due to the battery capacity. 

Polishing the new concrete floor

For the new floor to be shining and attractive, you will need to polish the new floor, I have a well-detailed article on polishing a floor

Application of sealant 

To safeguard your floor from damage caused by spills and other substances, it is crucial to seal it correctly. Begin by reviewing the manufacturer’s application instructions, and follow them precisely. Before sealing the surface, ensure that you prime it thoroughly. You can choose to apply sealers with a roller or spray, depending on whether they are solvent- or water-based.

Be sure to achieve complete coverage when applying sealers using either method. The coverage rate typically ranges from 250 to 300 square feet per gallon based on the concrete’s porosity level. It would be best if you aimed for two thin coats of sealer rather than one thick coat since a thicker coat may result in patches of uneven spots.

When applying the sealer, use a “less is more” approach because excessive puddles will cause visible streaks or staining over time. Between the layers wait until thoroughly dry before applying additional coats. and alternate direction-related applications parallel with previous coatings for uniform coverage.

By allowing proper drying time following application(s), you make sure to work effectively while safeguarding your freshly sealed floor against spills and stains of all kinds.

Decoration of the Concrete floor

To make your newly rehabilitated floor look beautiful, it’s important to avoid certain decoration methods such as stamping, which can cause weak spots. Instead, consider using epoxy or polyurethane that doesn’t have UV sunlight issues. Epoxy offers a range of colors and designs to choose from for a personalized touch.

Read more: How to color concrete

Tile to Avoid

When we are talking about tile that can serve as a subfloor for concrete, there are tiles that are excluded due to their natural tiles like floating vinyl

A floating floor cannot serve as a concrete subfloor because it may move. Additionally, a floating floor will expand and contract based on the environment in the room, and this could also be a problem. Typically, a floating floor

michael Morris