Concrete is a porous material, which means that over time, minor issues can cause the floor to slope, or lose some of its original level design. It’s not necessarily that the floor was laid wrong initially, but rather that now it needs to be corrected.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to level concrete floor materials and correct any uneven surfaces that might be causing you problems. Hiring a professional to fix the issue and help with the leveling process is how you can get the best results from the process.
Take a deeper look at some of these details about how the process works.
What is a Level Concrete Floor?
The first thing to understand is just what determines whether your concrete floor is truly level or not. This goes much deeper than just the surface. Sometimes, the unlevel features stem from beneath the concrete. And if we’re being honest, there are certain surfaces that are poured unlevel on purpose.
The purpose behind that design is to accommodate specific drainage needs, perhaps with areas like the garage or the basement. However, even when there is a reason to not be level, those floors should still be flat on the surface.
What might affect the floor itself? This will depend on whether the floor is below-grade or above-grade.
Below-grade floors are often in harder-to-reach areas. Because of that, they might not be poured level from the beginning, but no one notices. They aren’t in areas where it’s going to be highly visible that your floor isn’t level. This is especially true of areas like the basement floor.
Basements are below the grade because they are not ground-level or above. When they are poured, determining whether they are level can be a huge challenge. In fact, you may never notice until at some point down the road, you plan to use vinyl or some other flooring on top of the concrete and you run into issues.
Then there’s above-grade concrete, which refers to slabs, home or garage floors, and other areas that are ground-level and above. Many times, these are level when initially poured, but may become unlevel when the ground settles or shifts.
Indicators should be noticed by the professionals laying the concrete, but those indicators aren’t always caught. Eventually, the floor will begin to sag, or there will be noticeable locations with uneven spaces and possibly even cracks that start to show up.
In both scenarios, certain repairs or steps are needed to accomplish leveling the floor.
How to Assess the Concrete Floor
Once you have a basic understanding of what may have caused your unlevel concrete floor problem, you can correct that issue if possible. Next, you will assess the floor before anyone moves on to the leveling procedures.
Here is a quick overview of those steps:
- Check for surface failures
- Assess for moisture in or on the floor
- Clear the floor of any sealants, oils, paints, or glues
- Choose a primer that works for the floor
- Determine any flooring systems you plan to utilize
When checking for failures on the surface, this is simply determining whether there are weaknesses in the floor. Has anything caused the concrete to lose quality over time? This could be things like cracks, sagging, or noticeable areas of weakness in the floor.
If the surface shows any signs of failure, this has to be repaired first. From here, you can see if there is any moisture on or in the floor. Don’t just glance down and assume that if you don’t see moisture, you’re good to go. Consider using a Moisture Vapor Emissions Rate test to determine whether there is moisture.
If moisture exists, there are steps to take to improve the moisture situation. Next, consider whether the concrete surface has anything on the top like sealant, glue, paint, or oil. If it does, these have to be removed as they will have a negative effect on anything that you add to the surface. The best way to remove it is through blasting or grinding.
Now, if a primer is needed because of moisture, you will want to choose something that eliminates moisture problems and seals in the concrete. This will depend on your floor. Once that is applied and all other repairs are made, you can continue with choosing any materials or supplies for the floor.
Trying Self-Leveling Procedures
You can try to use self-leveling products and you might have some basic success with them. However, before you do, it is imperative that you still proceed through all the above steps. Otherwise, your self-leveling materials will not work properly.
Before you apply any applications like these on your own, be sure you fully understand the processes and instructions. Be sure to prep the concrete by shot blasting or grinding and then cleaning up any dust or debris from the floor. Always seal and then proceed with application.
Have the appropriate tools and equipment for the process. The best place to start is near the farthest corner or wall of the room and then moving gradually towards the space’s exit as you finish up.
Professional Leveling Works Best
While you can use some DIY methods, these can be very challenging to get just right. Using a professional to level concrete floors will be the best option. Experts can fully assess the floor, determine the cause, make any needed repairs, and then level things for you.
Trust the professionals to take care of your floor and correct any problems that could lead to more issues down the road.