To correct problems in floors that are not level, you may need to apply a floor leveler. Many sub floors, including those that are constructed of concrete, plywood, or pressed wood, can develop dips and depressions. Because methods of leveling may vary with each type of sub-flooring it is applied to, you will typically need dependable information about optional application methods and materials used.
Step 1 – Determine Floor Stability
Establishing floor stability is an important key to having a solid floor on which to apply your leveler. Locate any loose or unsecured flooring you plan to level. By placing weight on the floor, such as having a large adult walk on it. Areas of the floor that are loose or raised will often squeak or shift as this weight is applied to them. In areas of the floor where you hear squeaking or feel shifting, secure these areas by applying 3 inch wood screws through the flooring and into solid floor joists. If you find that some of your floor joists that are not solid, install joist braces on these joists. Be sure to follow directions supplied by the brace manufacturers.
Step 2 – Prepare Your Floor for Leveling
Use a carpenter's 4 foot level to locate areas of your floor that are not level or that have dips or depressions. Place the level on the floor in eat-west and north-south directions to be sure you have located all areas that are not level. Mark these areas with a carpenter's pencil or marker that will help you to identify the entire area that is sunken or is uneven. Before applying your primer, be sure you sweep the floor to remove all dirt and debris. Remove dust on the floor by damp-mopping the floor. Then allow time for the floor to dry before applying the primer.
Step 3 – Apply Your Primer
Open your latex primer can and mix the primer with a stirring stick. If possible, use a stirring paddle inserted in a variable speed drill. Onto the depressed area of your floor, pour a small amount of your primer. Use a paint roller to spread the primer over the entire surface of the depressed area where you plan to apply your leveler.
Step 4 – Apply Your Leveler
Mix 1/3 bag of self-leveling cement powder in a 5 gallon bucket. Add enough water to the powder to get a pea soup consistency. These levelers harden quickly (usually 10 minutes), so get yours mixed and applied quickly. As you apply the leveler, be sure to smooth out (feather) edge of the applied leveler. Smoothing high, unfeathered edges will be harder to do and will take more time after your leveler has cured, so be sure to feather them while the leveler is still workable. When finished, allow the leveler to cure.
Step 5 – Finishing
Inspect the cured leveler for raised edges or high spots. If you find them, sand them level, using a drywall sanding pad.