Trying to do garage floor repair yourself can be difficult. If you’re not an expert, it can be hard to decide what the underlying floor needs and how to level it out properly. One of the tools experts use to make things easier is self-leveling concrete. It is perfect for flattening hard underlying floors, whether they’re made of plywood, tile, or concrete.
Still, using self-rising concrete can be difficult, even though it’s easier to use than the traditional type. Self-leveling concrete can be hard to mix and gives you only a short pouring window before it starts to set. It also may not be right for all environments. The bottom line? Just because self-leveling concrete makes the job easier doesn’t make it risk-free.
This guide will explain self-leveling concrete and how it compares to traditional concrete. We’ll explain how you can use it in garage floor repair jobs and how to avoid common errors.
What Is Self-Leveling Concrete?
Self-leveling concrete is a thick, tough polymer-modified concrete that has become very popular for repairing floors. You pour it over the floor like any thick substance, and it will run into the corners of your room, creating a flat, level surface with very little work. Many use it as an underlying material to place tile or vinyl on top of, but it can be used on its own as a flooring material.
Although not technically concrete, it functions and acts like regular concrete with a few differences. Self-leveling concrete flows like motor oil or a thick liquid rather than typical concrete. It also sets up faster than traditional concrete. All you need to do is mix it with water, pour it out, and spread it evenly with a rake or trowel. Once spread, the mixture will start to settle and automatically level itself out.
Generally, self-leveling concrete will set smoothly within one to two hours. After six hours, it will be completely ready for use, depending on what it will be used for. After that, you can lay your flooring material on top of the concrete or use it as is, possibly for garage floor repair.
The difference between self-leveling and traditional concrete is that self-leveling concrete contains numerous polymers. Polymers are large, sticky molecules that keep the substance together. The other big difference is that traditional concrete requires a good deal of water for pouring. By contrast, self-leveling concrete only needs a small amount.
Self-leveling concrete is a bit more expensive. The advantage is that you can do repair jobs without demolishing the previously damaged floor. For example, if you are doing a garage floor repair job, you will save a lot of labor by not having to tear up your old floor before setting down the repair material. It also levels itself out perfectly, so you don’t have to worry about it not sitting flat.
Advantages of Self-Leveling Concrete
Self-leveling concrete is not only for people who want to do their own garage floor repair jobs. Even if you call a professional, they may use the same thing. This is because self-leveling concrete has some distinct advantages. While traditional concrete is easy to overwater, self-leveling concrete only requires a small amount of water and creates less mess. Self-leveling concrete also creates a smooth, tough surface with an industrial look. It’s perfect for overlaying with tile or using it as part of a design scheme.
Self-leveling concrete can also be spread over any non-flexible surface, like tile or wood, if you’re converting a room from one use to another. As a bonus, it is easy to use even for amateurs. If you want to do reinforced concrete work, self-leveling concrete is stronger than normal concrete and causes fewer allergic reactions. However, some workers can experience occupational asthma.
Self-leveling concrete is perfect for basements or garages because it’s resistant to mold growth. It also dries incredibly quickly. Your work will be completed faster and with less risk of someone accidentally stepping in it. Finally, the product can fix cracks and splits that traditional concrete will not work on. Even with all of its advantages, however, it does have a few disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Self-Leveling Concrete
Self-leveling concrete is useful for almost any job, but like any material, it has some drawbacks.
- First, it dries quickly, meaning you only have a short time to work with it before it sets. You may only have 20 minutes to pour, mix and finish your floor.
- Second, self-leveling concrete is perfect for going over other surfaces but does nothing to strengthen the underlying surface. If the underlying surface is unstable, it will damage whatever is on top of it, including your new, self-leveled floor.
- Finally, if it is splashed on any tool or surface, it needs to be cleaned quickly, or it will start to set. If you aren’t paying attention, walls, tools, and other items surrounding the area may be permanently stained.
PolyRenewal as an Alternative
PolyRenewal is another alternative to self-leveling concrete. It has a variety of benefits, including:
- Lightweight but exceptionally durable
- Waterproof, so it protects against mold
- Non-reactive, so it won’t harm your soil
- Sets quickly
- Easy to install
Call Alpha Foundations
Self-leveling concrete is a bit more expensive than traditional concrete. However, it makes up for it with the ease with which it levels off and the effort you save when you don’t have to demolish your old floor. You can use self-leveling concrete for your garage floor repair jobs, but sometimes the job may be more than you can handle yourself. When that happens, consider calling Alpha Foundations.
Alpha Foundations is the largest single foundation repair and concrete repair company in Florida. We are celebrating our 20th anniversary next year. From the beginning, we have placed customer service at the core of our company. Over the years, we have received awards and accolades for integrity, customer service, etc., and also boast stellar reviews throughout our territory.
If you need help with your home improvement job, contact us today.