How Long Does a Self-leveling Compound Take to Dry?

self leveling compound wet on concrete

A self leveling compound is a chemical mixture used to smooth uneven concrete or wooden floors. It is ideal for filling dips in wooden floors or for smoothing concrete ones.

The drying time for self-leveling compound varies greatly from one package to the next. The easiest way to check this time would be to look at the installation instructions that accompanied the self-leveling compound. On average, you might have to wait anywhere from one to six hours for the compound to cure. You must give it ample time to dry completely so that it lays flat and remains strong. To speed up drying time and avoid any possible problems, consider some of the tips below.

Leave It Overnight

If you have the chance, just let the self-leveling compound sit overnight. That way you won't have to constantly check if it is dry or not, and the time will seemingly pass a lot faster.

Avoid Moisture

Try to let everything dry in an area that isn't too moist. Humidity will make the process take longer. Obviously you can't control the weather, but try to keep as much moisture out of the area as possible.

Use Fans

Don't blow a fan directly on the self-leveling compound, but you should use one in the room for air circulation. A clean ceiling fan will work fine, as will a fan that sits above the ground. Set it on low or medium speed.

Self-leveling Compound FAQ

How long before you can walk on leveling compound?

The dry time for self-leveling compound varies depending on the formula you use and how thickly the compound has been placed. Typically, self-leveling compound dries in four to 24 hours.

After the compound has dried completely, it is safe to walk on. If you're not sure, always err on the side of caution and wait longer before you walk.

Why is my self-leveling compound not drying?

If the manufacturer's recommended dry time has passed and your self-leveling compound is not dry after this point, this indicates that one more problems are preventing proper drying.

The compound may have been mixed with too much water, which will affect the consistency of the compound and prevent it from drying and setting up properly. Poor air flow may also prevent the compound from drying, in which case you should use fans to circulate the air and help the compound to dry.

You may have also poured the compound too thick, which extends the dry time. If the compound does not dry properly after a couple of days or it hasn't set properly due to an improper mixture or improper conditions, you will have to start all over.

Can you tile directly on self-leveling compound?

Self-leveling compound, when applied correctly, creates a flat, smooth, and even surface. This surface is actually ideal for tile and it is often used as a tile underlayer for just this reason.

Does self-leveling compound need sealing?

Sealing self-leveling compound may or may not be necessary, depending on what you plan to do with this compound once it is set up and dry. If you are laying additional flooring on top of the compound, such as tile or hardwood, no sealant is necessary.

However, if you plan to leave the compound exposed and use this as a floor, the compound can be sealed to improve its durability and give it a nice finish.

When should you not use self leveler?

Self-leveling compound is very useful material that can be used in a lot of ways in a lot of places. However, this material is not ideally suited for every DIY project you might have in mind.

Self-leveling compound is meant to be used on horizontal surfaces, such as floors, and should not be applied to vertical walls or to sloped areas. You should also not use self-leveling compound anywhere that harsh chemicals or heavy machinery will be used, as this material is not durable enough to stand up to this.