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Pros and Cons of Self-Leveling Concrete

Whether you’re doing a kitchen remodel or redoing your flooring, you’ve probably heard of a unique material known as self-leveling concrete. So you might be wondering: does self-leveling concrete live up to its name? Is it really easier to install than traditional concrete that needs to be manually leveled. Let’s take a look at what self-leveling concrete is, and how you can decide if it’s the right choice for your concrete project.

What is Self-Leveling Concrete?

Self-leveling concrete is a polymer-modified cement material that works well atop various surfaces, from wood and plywood to ceramic tiles and existing concrete. Because it doesn’t require a significant amount of water and results in a smooth, flat surface with minimal effort, self-leveling concrete is a popular choice in industrial and commercial applications. It has been making its way into the residential sphere as well.

Pros of Self-Leveling Concrete

The benefits of self-leveling concrete make it so popular for concrete remodeling projects today. Here are some pros to keep in mind if you’re debating between self-leveling concrete and traditional concrete for your upcoming project:

1. DIY-friendly, Easy Installation

Installing self-leveling concrete is very quick and easy, making it a good option for the DIY homeowner with a decent amount of remodeling experience under their belt. You don’t need to do any prep work like you would before pouring traditional concrete, since it’s designed to even out on its own. Self-leveling concrete can give you a smooth, even finish with relatively little effort.

2. Quick-drying and Durable

Self-leveling concrete dries very quickly and should remain free of wear and tear for years to come. After a few short hours, you can walk on your newly installed concrete and install other flooring over top if desired. Its durability makes it a great choice for busy areas of the home, like the kitchen or garage.

3. A Good Choice for Resurfacing

Instead of tearing up old concrete flooring, which is very expensive and time-consuming, self-leveling concrete is a good option for resurfacing concrete that has seen better days. But beware: this is only effective if there are no other concrete problems beneath the surface.

Cons of Self-Leveling Concrete

While self-leveling concrete may seem like the fast and reliable solution for all your concrete woes, don’t start pouring until you’ve read up on the drawbacks to this DIY material!

1. Thin Layers Only

If you’re looking to install thick, new layers of concrete, self-leveling concrete may not be right for you. Self-leveling concrete should only be used for layers around 1-2 inches thick. This is why you won’t see self-leveling concrete used for building foundations.

2. Needs a Flat Surface

While self-leveling concrete is lauded for its use as a resurfacing material, it won’t work well with bumpy or ridged flooring, as these issues will show through the newly installed concrete. If you’re not sure whether self-leveling concrete will work to refinish your floors, it may be best to hire a professional instead of doing it yourself.

3. Not for Outdoor Use

Self-leveling concrete is not designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, making it a poor choice for outdoor concrete projects. It’s best used indoors because self-leveling concrete will crack and crumble if exposed to the elements.

4. More Expensive Than Traditional Concrete

While self-leveling concrete may be cost-effective in some situations, such as refinishing a concrete floor instead of fully removing it and installing new, the base cost is more expensive than traditional concrete materials.

5. It Won’t Solve Underlying Issues!

This is perhaps the most important consideration when thinking about self-leveling concrete: if you’re using it to cover up cracked or sunken concrete slabs, don’t. Adding a layer of self-leveling concrete on top of your damaged concrete floor or foundation may make it appear better on the surface. Still, it won’t solve the real problem that is happening underneath and causing your concrete to crack or sink in the first place.

Should I Use Self-Leveling Concrete to Fix Unlevel Flooring?

Because unlevel flooring is usually a symptom of a disease beneath the concrete, self-leveling concrete won’t actually fix the problem so much as cover it up. For this reason, we do not recommend self-leveling concrete as a method of concrete repair. The best way to resolve issues like a sinking foundation is concrete leveling. And the best way to level your concrete is with polyjacking!

Polyjacking addresses the root of the problem by fortifying your concrete flooring from underneath, where unstable soils and other complications cause your concrete to shift out of position, resulting in cracking, buckling, curling, or sinking concrete slabs. If you have concrete issues in need of repair, contact us at Pro Polyjacking to resolve the real problem before you start refinishing!

Other Self-Leveling Concrete FAQs

Still have questions about self-leveling concrete? Here are a few common questions and some answers to help you make an informed decision:

Will self-leveling concrete crack?

Yes, self-leveling concrete will crack if it is not used properly, such as outdoors or on top of particularly damaged and uneven flooring.

Is self-leveling concrete strong?

Sometimes. Self-leveling concrete can be a strong and a good choice for high-traffic areas of your home or business, but only if there are no problems underneath.

Can self-leveling concrete be used as a finished floor?

If you are looking for an industrial style or installing new flooring in a garage, basement, or warehouse, self-leveling concrete can be used as a finished floor.

Can you pour self-leveling concrete over tile?

Self-leveling concrete can be poured over tile, but the tile surface must be level and stable. Any bumps or ridges will still be visible. If the tile shifts at all in the future, it will crack the concrete.

Can you put epoxy over self-leveling concrete?

Yes, you can put epoxy over self-leveling concrete! Once hardened, self-leveling concrete can act as a foundation or subsurface for other materials such as epoxy.

Can polyjacking be used on self-leveling concrete?

Yes, polyjacking can be used on self-leveling concrete! If you previously installed self-leveling concrete in your home or business and it has begun to crack or sink, polyjacking can be used to safely and quickly resolve the issue without risking damage to your concrete.

Curious to learn more about polyjacking and how we can help? Reach out to Pro Polyjacking today!