There are some aspects of remodeling and renovation that can be really frustrating. Discovering that you have an uneven floor is one of those issues that can cause you problems, so what do you do when you discover your concrete floor is not level?
Here is a look at why it’s important to not have uneven cement floors, the professional techniques used to resolve a foundation problem, and a DIY option for minor issues.
On the level
There are a couple of good reasons why you need to ensure that your concrete floor is not uneven.
You can have some real issues laying certain types of flooring down when the surface is not level. Carpets are reasonably forgiving in hiding a few minor imperfections without anyone noticing what is going on underneath, but if your subfloor is not up to the grade, it is going to present some major challenges if you are laying down wooden flooring or plan to use click-and-lock vinyl.
Aside from the frustration of finding you can’t get the final flooring finish you are looking for because of an uneven concrete base, there are some structural considerations to address too.
Companies like HelitechOnline.com are regularly being called into action to sort out foundation problems and these issues can stem originally from not having a level foundation in the first place, or not resolving a problem with the structure when you notice it.
Make no mistake, a level foundation is fundamentally crucial to the integrity and stability of your home.
The problems you are having with putting down a wooden floor in the basement are relatively minor in comparison to discovering that your home is suffering major structural problems.
What happens is that the soil around your home will settle over a period of time, if that creates an imperfection and your floor becomes uneven, it can put an extra strain on the structure and the fact that the floor is uneven, is potentially an indication of a problem in the first place.
Mudjacking to improve levels
A popular professional solution to an uneven foundation is to use a technique known as mud jacking, or slab jacking as it is also sometimes called.
Mudjacking involves pouring concrete underneath an existing concrete slab as a way of leveling out the affected areas and creating a flat surface once again.
The process involves drilling some holes around the affected area that is uneven as a result of sagging or is cracked. The new concrete is then pumped into these holes so that it raises and supports the level of the concrete to bring it level again and provide the strength and stability your structure needs.
One of the reasons why mud jacking is a popular option to resolve your uneven foundation in that it is mostly noninvasive in comparison to attempting to remove and repair your existing foundation.
If you have some problems with your foundation that are causing your floors to be uneven, that is a job best left to the professionals, but if you have a few bumps and dips that need resolving, you might be able to take the DIY route.
A good way of achieving the smooth and level surface required to be able to lay down tiles or wooden floors afterward is to use a self-leveling compound.
You can buy this product in powdered form and you simply mix the powder with water and a fortifying agent. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions with care as different products can vary in how you create the compound.
The application process should be the same. Prepare your surface beforehand and make sure it is as clear as possible of any debris like flaking paint or loose adhesive from the previous flooring.
Once you have done that and start pouring the solution, gravity should play its part and bring the liquid to a level, although you might need to use a trowel to help the process along.
How level you need the concrete to be depends on what sort of flooring you are going to be laying down afterward. However, it is always a good idea to try to get the surface to be as smooth and level as possible as this will not only help with your remodeling plans but it will reduce the risk of water forming in uneven parts of the floor.
If you have bigger problems than a few imperfections to straighten out, it would be a good idea to call a professional and get them to check out your foundation as soon as possible.
Elise Burke, a home inspector, is constantly on the lookout for innovative DIY insights and information. Whenever she finds something she feels could be helpful to others, she loves to post it on a variety of DIY and homeowner blogs.