~500 SF of self leveling underlayment, near Chicago, IL

Discussion in 'Looking For a Flooring Professional or Product' started by George_M, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    I'm renovating my basement and the living area and bathroom are planned to be tiled. LFT plank tile is planned so it needs to be flat.

    • Existing concrete slab - diamond ground w/ 9" grinders
    • Slab is in good condition, but has in plane cracks which I will chase and fill with MFR approved patch
    • No vapor barrier
    • Area 500 SF comprised of rectangular bathroom, short hallway, large rectangular open area with some angles and bump outs on one side.
    • Material: Mapei Ultraplan Extreme 2 and Primer T (provided by me - I'm an architect and my Mapei rep is giving me some love). Selected after discussing technical limitations of other SLU's and high RH since there is no vapor barrier
    • Planned flooring: Ditra-Heat-TB w/ 36"-48" plank porcelain rectified tile

    I have drawings which I can share over email. I'd like to bend your ear a bit on the cost benefit ratio of meeting TCNA specs for a floor like this vs letting the SLU do its thing.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    TCNA wants an 1/8" in 10 ft. Radius, I don't think we discussed how unflat your substrate is. The "SLU do its thing" hmm, you're aware that it doesn't pour perfectly.

    I send railing to control my heights learned from Jack King, I don't think anyone does that style. I would say if they're familiar with leveler they will pour in the neighborhood of 3/16" and if they're good setting tile, they will blend in the minor differences. The tolerances are difficult to work in reality.

    Mapei really steps up to the plate, I know of no other company who supports the industry the way they do, only Armstrong in the old days.
  3. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    Mike, I am aware that it doesn't pour perfectly, but I don't know how much that might be if its only given an eyeball coaxing into place. Which is why I need to be educated on it.

    Here's a response from a local concrete guy who does floor prep...maybe I need to talk to tile contractors. I am planning on tackling the tile install myself.

    I' m not sure what the definition of flat is here. He hasn't asked to come out and see the work area yet, so I'm not sure why he's holding it against me.

    My 8' aluminum straight edge is currently in use elsewhere so I haven't had a chance to map the floor out to see how bad it might be.
  4. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yeah, wrong person. Sort of like the difference of a rough carpenter versus finish carpenter. I think you should contact NTCA, and tell them you need someone to flatten floor to the standards of an LFT. There should be contacts there. Mark Heinlin? Is very helpful (tech specialist there) called me back for a pier and beam question twice!(voicemail) he probably has a good contact.

    I run a laser on the floor, it's 6-5/8" at the rotating beam, I then put a tape at regular points across the slab and write plus or minus the difference of the height of laser resting on floor. So that will give you a picture of what needs to be done.

    There's some leveling on YouTube, Jack Kings video is good as he describes the eyeball version versus placing specific. Leveler in general doesn't "self level" till the 1" thick mark. Maybe someone uses tap on bolts to gauge height and get within somewhat level/flat.

    Actually there's probably someone around with a pump if it's worth the effort, but that's volume.
  5. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    Yup, after that exchange I went to NTCA's website and printed off the nearest tile contractors. Most seemed to be big commercial shops (Union) that don't want to 1) touch a residential job 2) informed me that floor prep is a handled by the concrete Unions around here.
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    That's just wrong, I'm usually pro union except for those situations. We still don't know the needed prep.
  7. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    Edit: I should clarify - one of the Union flooring shops I spoke said there might be an issue Union-wise with them doing work that would be typically under the belt of the Concrete union.

    This has been a pretty frustrating venture to find someone to do this work. Either too big and not interested or too small and haven't demonstrated the proper technical knowledge.

    I'm hesitant to do it myself as I would be learning with product. Normally not an issue, but the relatively short working times concern me.

    All I really want is a single guy I can hire hourly to help with the pour w/ me acting as a helper to mix, pour, and schlep. I know that is generally a tradesman worst nightmare.

    I might just have to bite the bullet and do this myself.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  8. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    I wouldn't recommend doing self leveling like this by yourself with no experience. It's like a high speed race and there's no time to figure things out
  9. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    I agree Kyle, that's why I'm looking to hire someone!
  10. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    And posted it in the correct forum too (COUGHkyleCOUGH ;)).
  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I would inquire about extended time. Something needed in future, most everyone needs fast. We poured a few and had to leave, no flooring over for 16 hrs. Other than tile. Ardex makes an extended time leveler, but not moisture resistant. Some is called re activable.

    They tweak these formulas around like crazy, trying to customize pour.
  12. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    George, How did your floor turn out?
  13. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Sorry I missed this when first posted. George, for future reference, it sometimes helps to talk to your supplier. We get calls constantly for reference and believe me we know who can do the job and who can't. I keep a pretty current mental list of the guys who I recommend when asked. Just thought I'd stick that out there for what it's worth.
  14. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    Lol haven't gotten to it yet! Electrician is wrapping up this week, I just sent schluter my P.O. for all the product of theirs I'm using. I love that Design Professional discount - wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise.

    I'm still finalizing details on the bathroom floor I made recent post on John Bridge and I was going to cross post here when I had the opportunity.

    I did find a shop that will do my floor flattening too, Leinweber in Chicago. Big union shop that also does small work.
  15. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Good deal! Hope it goes smoothly and looks great for you!
  16. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    just a little update...

    Baby #2 came in early December 2017 so I had to shift by project schedule around a bit.

    I finally poured this past Friday. I did all the prep, pinning, schelping, and mixing, Kip from Leinweber provided the magic touch.

    Floor turned out real flat.

    I goofed on my initial estimates and needed to find a in stock product that didn't care about MVER/RH. And found it in CTS Rapidset Concrete leveler, another hydraulic cement based SLU in stock at orange box stores.

    It didn't flow together and flatten as well as Mapei Ultraplan Extreme 2, so I had a few spots I needed to grind down to hit my 1/8" in 10' as I calibrated the floor after the pour.

    Thanks for all the help and talking with me about this!

    IMG_3710.jpg IMG_3712.jpg IMG_3713.jpg IMG_3715.jpg IMG_3722.jpg IMG_3723.jpg IMG_3726.jpg IMG_3732.jpg IMG_3753.jpg
    • Like Like x 3
  17. George_M

    George_M Pro Member

    some more details about the prep and application. My local CTS architectural rep "blessed" the use of Primer T under their product as their primer had MVER and RH limitations. Primer T references the limits of the floor coverings to be applied.

    -diamond ground concrete floor
    -all drywall compound and paint drops scrapped and scrubbed off (I wish I had protected the freshly ground concrete as I did it before framing)
    -mopped several times with two bucket method
    -slab cracks are shrinkage type cracks 1957 30'x40' slab with no reinforcement or control joints. Previous floor did not show since of differential settlement.
    -Cracks were filled with a low viscosity epoxy, and sand. Sand broadcast until refusal on surface epoxy to promote adhesion via mechanical grip
    -3'x4' grid for leveling pins
    -pins set to be 1/8" above high point, average range was 1/4"-3/8" with the deepest being 1 1/4" near an old floor drain location
    -1:1 ratio of Primer T and water primer coat
    -1 full strength Primer T coat

    -Mixed 2 bags at a time
    -my installer poured and leveled while I prepped the next batch
    -We poured 31 bags of product in approximately 90 minutes
    -not more than 5 minutes between pouring
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    So basically saying you did it right! Not anything different than a competent installer might have to deal with. Nice Work!

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