If you plan on tiling your concrete floor, it is imperative the floor be perfectly flat first before you lay tiles on it, especially if you plan to lay large tiles. If the floor is not leveled, the tiles will lay at an angle, the sides won’t line up and you’ll have gaps between the tile and floor.
To properly level any concrete floor, use a professional leveling compound sold at any home improvement store worth visiting. The process to level a concrete floor is actually really simple, so don’t worry about getting it right, the products do most of the work for you.
Professionals recommend leveling all concrete floors with a 1/4-inch or more difference in height. You can measure just how un-leveled a floor is by setting a flat leveling bar on one end and measuring the distance between the other end and the floor where the gap is.
To level your floor for tile, just follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Clean the floor
First of all, make sure you sweep up all debris from the floor with a broom and dustpan.
Step 2: Check with a level
Check the floor with a level by laying it flat on the floor and determine where the high spots are. Mark the high spots with a marker.
Step 3: Mix leveling compound
Mix leveling compound with a little bit of cool water in a five gallon bucket. Use a rotary mixer attachment on a power drill for the best results. Mix and add water until you have a milky, soupy substance you can pour on the concrete floor.
Read our guide about using a leveling compound for more detailed instructions!
Step 4: Pour leveling compound
Pour the compound on the floor straight from the bucket around the high spots and into the low spots. Only pour enough to cover the low spots.
Step 5: Spread compound evenly
Work a flat trowel over the surface of the compounds spreading it evenly away from the high spots as it dries.
Step 6: Smooth the edges
Drag the trowel right across the edges of the leveling mixture in fast, even strokes to feather out the edges and make them smooth.
Step 7: Wait until it dries
Wait 2-4 hours before walking on the floor, and another 12 to 24 hours before installing the tile. Read your product instructions to determine how much time to allow for curing and drying before use.
NOTE: with most produces, you should apply a second coat if necessary before the first one dries so they adhere together.
That’s how easy it is to level a concrete floor before you tile it. Make sure you take this important extra step. Although it adds time to the overall project, it really saves you time in the long run. Tiles installed on unleveled or uneven floors can chip, break and come loose, causing you to spend many more hours and more money, on repairs.