Making your own floor leveler

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Old 10-03-07, 03:38 PM
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Making your own floor leveler

I'm installing warmwire radiant heat in my entire house (4000 sqft) I have TJIs joist with a 3/4 TG flooring glued to the joists. On top of that I am installing 1/4 hardibacker cement board. I will install the warmwire on top of the cement board. Next I need to pour self leveling cement to cover and protect the wire. I will have tile, carpet and a floating engineered wood floor on it. I thought self leveling cement was around $10 per bag (25sqft coverage at 1/4"). It turns out to be around $23 per bag, plus they recomended a bonding agent. For $4000 sqft that is a lot of money and I'm hoping to find a cheaper alternative. Here are my questions.

First do I need to use a bonding agent on cement board. Cement board is designed to be roughed up to aid the thinset to adhese well. Wouldn't this also be true of self leveling cement.

Second, is there a cheap way to make self leveling cement. Can I just aid some latext aditive to a certain cement product and thin it out. Will it shrink to much, etc, etc. Some crack repair cement was only $6 a bag (80lbs). At that price diference we are talking thousands of dollars.

Mark
 
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Old 10-04-07, 01:38 PM
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Striker77s
I'll try and answer this in the most diplomatic fashion I can gather from this tired, frazzled body. I say this after spending this week looking at other peoples chaos and total disasters that they themselves have single handedly placed upon themselves and their families. I do not derive any pleasure in telling someone that they have caused this mess and expense by simply trying to do it cheaper than the manufacturer can, or "I thought the additive was too costly so I mixed it with water". (Actual quote from one homeowner)
The complaint was that the tile isn't sticking to the floor but was sticking to the tile. In my 24 YRS in the tile industry I have never seen thinset that will only stick to one side.
Another one was that in the interest of saving money, they didn't use a waterproof liner in the shower. "After all--tile, cement and grout are waterproof". (another quote)
Both of these instances will cost the homeowner in the tens of thousands of dollars, because they will not only have to replace the bad install, but pay for the cost of removal, purchasing new product and paying for the installation. This doesn't even start to figure the cost involved with the damages caused to other parts of the house. Over the years it has been averaged that a total replacement usually costs in the range of double to triple the original price tag. This has a tendency to take into some collateral damages caused by the original work.
The good thing you have going for you, is you asked!! For that I applaud you, but scrap those hair brained ideas and do it correctly! Please if only for my sanity, or the thought of having to pay someone like me for the privilege of telling you what you did wrong.
 
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Old 10-05-07, 07:10 AM
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Without trying to go into any detail here as Jim has already done that, short and sweet, dont try to reinvent the wheel. You'll be spending a lot of money on this tile project so make sure you do everything right.
 
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Old 10-05-07, 08:18 AM
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If you can't afford the gas...you shouldn't buy the yacht.

Why are you installing warmwire radiant on all the floors? Now that is going to cost a bundle of $$$. You're not thinking it's going to heat your house are you?

Jaz
 
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Old 10-06-07, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
If you can't afford the gas...you shouldn't buy the yacht.

Why are you installing warmwire radiant on all the floors? Now that is going to cost a bundle of $$$. You're not thinking it's going to heat your house are you?

Jaz
Thanks for the great information. If you must know I have been building my house in a market that has been strong for decades. For the first time in the history of this town it is suffering from a real estate depression like the rest of the country. I have gone over budget and the bank has no desire to fund me more money obviously. So I have to finish the house with the money I have. I have no choice but to finish the house with what I have.

I obviously don't want to do something that will cause me grief in the future and that is why I'm trying to get more information. I was hoping there was someone that understood the chemical and material requirements of self leveling cement and could enlighten me. Obviously no one here really knows any of that and they are going with the old standard response of I'm not sure how to do something different than what I've done in the past so you should do it my way. I don't want to do something just because it has worked for you in the past. I want to understand why it works and if there are ways to do it better and cheaper. You run into this all the time in construction. Nobody wants to do it differently than what they've done for the past 20 years.

As far as the self leveling cement goes all I have gathered so far is that it contains some latex additive, similar to thinset. I'm not sure how it differes from thinset but I'm sure it does or you could just add more water to thinset.

The solution I've come up with so far is to use DAP floor leveler which is something similar to gypcrete. I can't use that under tile, so where there is no tile (carpet, wood) I will use it. Where I'm going to use tile, I will use self leveling cement. That will cut the cost by quite a bit and shouldn't compromise my house.

And yes I am going to heat my house with warmwire. And yes I'm understand exactly what the BTU output per sqft is and yes I have spent a lot of time modeling the house and I know what to expect for heat loss and heat gain in my climate. I have already purchase all the materials for installation and it wasn't that expensive.

Mark
 
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Old 10-07-07, 05:07 PM
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Oh Boy, another conspiracy theory.:mask:

With all the competition and knowledge I think if there was a new way to make a good SLC cheaper than the current products, it would be done already.

You're idea of mixing products for the various areas makes sense for such a large area. For deep fills, you could use a cheaper portland based patch, then fine tune and finish with SLC.

Jaz
 
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