Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Leveling out with self-leveling concrete

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We sure did. Besides our awesome hike I told you about last post, we went to a very fun wedding. I would share pictures, but I wasn't very good about taking many (I was having too much fun). Which means that 2013 was an awesome year for weddings. We had an absolute blast at all of them that we attended. But back to the subject at hand... floor preparation.

We are nearing the point of actually installing tiles. This past weekend, J and I poured cement to level out the floor so that the tile will be easier to install.

First, I removed the baseboards. I plan on installing new baseboards after the tile install. Since the baseboards had been painted on. it took some cutting and prying to get it off. I used a scraping tool to get under the baseboards and a crowbar to pry them from the walls.

I then had to cut away the carpet in the area that I want to tile, which comes into the room. I used my new laser level to line up a straight line to trace.

I bought a carpet cutting razor for this job and it was still super difficult. It takes a really sharp blade and some force to cut the carpet.

I left about 2 inches extra of carpet on all sides. You want to have some extra carpet that you can work with to do the transition after the tile has been set.

I didn't take pictures, but I also patched the holes in the concrete from where I removed the tack strips. I mixed up some concrete patch to fill them in. I also went through the painstaking task of taping off the carpet. To do this, I used 1 x 2 pieces of wood under the carpet to lift it off the concrete. I then taped 3 mil thick plastic around and under the carpet to protect it.

With everything protected, I got ready for the self-leveling concrete. The first step is priming. There is a primer that is recommended for the self-leveling concrete, which is what I used. I then let it dry for a few hours while J and I went to church and the grocery store.

To prevent the concrete from getting in areas we didn't want, I used caulking tape around the perimeter and pressed it into the 1 x 2s.

Then, we got to the concrete step. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. So was J. But we made it through. I read several DIY tutorials, but it really just amounted to following the directions on the bag. One piece of advice: make sure you wear safety equipment: goggles, face mask, and gloves are all recommended. I read one DIY blog where the girl stuck her feet in the cement. Don't do that. Cement is full of cancer-causing things, so stay safe. We mixed half the bag with 13 cups of water. I used a paddle mixer attachment to the drill and mixed for about 2-5 minutes. Don't mind this bad picture of me. I was focusing.

Once it was mixed, J carried it in for me and poured it out on the concrete. I used a small trowel to push it around the space and make sure it was covering the whole area.

Then we waited...

After 4 hours, it had dried enough that it was looking lighter and harder. It is still slightly uneven, mostly due to a bump in one spot. But we can work around that. There is also one area that has a slight slope, but I think that will be sorted out when we put down the thin set.

All-in-all, the floor is much more even that when it started out, and I think we are ready for tile! J and I picked up the tile last weekend, and we are planning on working on it this next weekend.

More basement adventures coming soon!

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