- How to measure the level of the floor?
- №1.Cement-sand screed
- №2.Semi-dry screed
- №3.Self-leveling compound
- №4.Alignment with gypsum fiber sheets( GFL)
- №5.Alignment with
- plywood. In conclusion,
A flat floor finish is preceded by leveling its surface. Depending on the degree of surface roughness and the type of future coating, one or another leveling method is used. The correct choice and execution of it largely influences the quality of the future finishing. Let us dwell on the most popular ways to level the floor in the apartment.
How to measure floor level?
The choice of leveling the floor, in the first place, depends on the degree of unevenness of the surface , which is difficult to determine with the naked eye - special tools will be needed. For these purposes, the following tools are used with :
- is the usual building level .If its length is not enough, then a construction rule is placed under it;
- The hydro level allows more accurate and simple measurements in large areas, but when filling a tool with water it is important to avoid airing its working tube;
- laser levels are even easier to use and allow you to measure with maximum accuracy, and their wide functionality allows you to greatly facilitate the entire measurement process. The error is no more than 1-2 mm / m, and when measuring it is better to wear safety glasses;
- The is a professional geodetic instrument, quite complex to handle, it provides perfect accuracy and allows measurements to be taken on vast areas, and therefore is used primarily in large-scale construction.
When leveling the floors in an apartment, you need to output them to zero level .After completing all the work and finishing, the level of the floors should be the same in all rooms, and therefore the height of the finishing material used should be taken into account during alignment. Thus, the height of the level of the subfloor in rooms where different coatings will be used may differ by 1-2 cm.
# 1.Cement-sand screed
Cement-sand screed floor is one of the most popular ways to level the surface .It is carried out on the basis of a cement and sand mortar in proportions of 1: 3 or 1: 4, depending on future loads on the floor. Apply cement-sand screed in private homes and high-rise buildings with concrete ceilings. It is excellent suitable for use in rooms with high humidity ( kitchen, bathroom) and where the floor will be a decent load. Often this method of leveling is used for future coverage of tile, parquet and linoleum.
The advantages of the cement-sand screed:
- strength and durability;
- the ability to hide some of the communication in the thickness of the screed;
- the ability to level highly uneven surfaces - this method is used when the height difference exceeds 5 cm;
- low cost of the work.
Among the main drawbacks it is worth mentioning:
- long curing period;
- the need for skills to perform such work or engage professionals.
The execution of the coupler with zero level detection begins. To do this, you can use the construction level, with the help of which, at a height of approximately 1.5 m from the floor, a single line is created, from which the distance to the floor level is measured. It is necessary to focus on the minimum distance, which will help determine the level of the floor height, but it should be borne in mind that the minimum thickness of the screed is 2 cm.
The preparation of the base of the consists in thorough cleaning of dust. It is first swept, then the residues are vacuumed, and only after that you can proceed to priming the surface. After applying the first layer of primer is recommended to cover the floor with waterproofing solution, and then apply a second layer of primer, due to which the maximum level of adhesion to the concrete solution is achieved.
The next stage is the placing of beacons , which allow to achieve the most even surface. As these, it is possible to use T-shaped metal guides, which are fixed to the base with adjustable screws. A simpler way is to install guides on slides of thick cement-sand mortar of the required height. The evenness of the beacons is constantly checked using the building level. The first one is installed at a distance of 20 cm from the wall, the rest are mounted parallel to it with a step of 40-60 cm.
The material for leveling can be prepared from ready-made dry mixes intended for leveling the floor. They add water in the amount that is provided in the instructions. You can manually prepare the necessary mixture of sand and cement. Knead the solution with a construction mixer or a special nozzle on the drill. The consistency of the finished solution should resemble a thick dough and be homogeneous. The solution should bleed a little on the surface, but not spread.
The finished solution spread between the beacons , starting from the far corner of the room and moving to the door. The mixture flooded between two lighthouses is leveled by their level, shifting it towards itself. In the process of mounting the screed, it is better in some places to pierce the fresh solution with a metal rod so that during the curing process the screed in it would not form air voids. If you decide to carry out all the work yourself, then without the help of a partner you still can not do: while one is leveling the mixture at the beacons, the second must prepare a new portion of the solution, because the should be done within one room on one day.
Walking on the finished screed can be done in a few days, but completely freezes in only 2-3 weeks. At this time, its surface is recommended to be covered with plastic wrap so that the surface does not become covered with cracks. An alternative to the film is uniform wetting of the surface twice a day.
The performance of a high-quality screed is a uniform gray color over the entire surface, the same sound when struck with a wooden bar. The maximum horizontal deviation is 0.2%, which means that for a room with a length of 4 m, the height difference should be no more than 8 mm.
Depending on what requirements are put forward to the floor, a concrete screed can be an independent leveling method or only one of the steps to create a level surface.
Today, has almost completely forgotten the wood concrete screed method, which used to be very popular. It differs in the composition of the solution, in which sawdust is added, giving concrete greater strength and allowing it to breathe. The only problem is the process of smoothing, because larger sawdust float closer to the surface of the mixture and break it.
Semi-dry screed is one of the varieties of the so-popular cement-sand screed. It is performed in the same way as in the case described above, but the changes concerned the process of preparing the mixture - it adds a minimum of water, which is necessary only for the hydration of cement. As a reinforcing agent, fiber is added to the solution. Due to such small changes in the composition of the mixture, achieved mass advantages:
- high density of the resulting screed, as well as the absence of pores and voids, because in the process of solidification there will be no evaporation of moisture characteristic of a wet screed;
- minimal shrinkage, because evaporation is almost completely absent. It is possible to lay a coupler without shrinkage;
- is a cleaner styling process, as the solution is less wet and forms less dirt;
- will require less time for complete solidification again due to the smaller amount of moisture and a faster evaporation process;
- humidity level in the room after pouring such a screed does not prohibit carrying out passing finishing operations and storing building materials in adjacent rooms, which is not strictly recommended to be done when the usual cement-sand screed solidifies.
You should not forget about the disadvantages of the method:
- , due to its higher density, its ability to spread and sometimes difficulties in filling corners. However, experts advise against this drawback to fight by introducing plasticizers into the mixture;
- it is possible to level with your hands only small surfaces, with an area up to 75m2, in other cases you can not do without a paver.
The process of laying a semi-dry screed is almost identical in principle to the installation of a cement-sand screed described above, but some features require consideration. In particular, this is the process for preparing the solution. In the tank it is recommended to mix three shovels of sand and a cement shovel until the required amount of the mixture is formed. It is mixed and a little water is added, mixed with fiberglass( it is used about 80 g per bucket of water, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer).Water is added until the mixture becomes the consistency of sandy, sticky clay sand. If you compress the mixture, the moisture will not stand out, and the lump will retain its shape. If you still overdo it with water, you can add cement and sand in the same proportions, but in smaller quantities.
is recommended to stack the mixture in two layers of : the first is slightly below the intended level and with maximum tamping, the second with rule and grinding. We must act very quickly, because within an hour the mixture hardens. Some experts advise applying the first coat immediately around the perimeter of the room: this can be done only if the second coat is applied within one hour. A day after the installation of the screed along the walls, it is possible to cut expansion joints with a depth of up to one third of the screed itself and a width of not more than 3 mm.
Self-leveling mixtures are also called self-leveling mixtures, floor levelers and self-leveling floors. This is a fairly simple way to level the floor, while obtaining an excellent result. It is suitable if the height difference does not exceed 3 cm. Such mixtures can be used to level the floors for finishing with tiles, cork, linoleum, carpet, etc.
The basis of the self-leveling mixture is cement, but in addition to it, the composition also includes special modifying additives that allow to increase the plasticity and fluidity of the solution. Some additives allow you to reinforce the solution and in the future restrain the appearance of microcracks. Depending on the composition of , self-leveling mixtures are divided into:
- high strength;
- for underfloor heating;
- quick hardening;
- thin layer.
In addition, there are self-leveling compounds on sale, designed not only for rough finishing, but also for finishing , as well as compounds with special properties. There are also compounds for coarse leveling , they are designed for surfaces with significant irregularities.
All self-leveling compounds boast with a number of advantages of :
- simplicity and high speed of work with them;
- high strength, so this leveling method is quite suitable for rooms with a high degree of permeability;
- resistance to temperature extremes.
The cons of this method of leveling the floor a bit is rather its features. Large differences in the level of the surface of the floor self-leveling floor will not align. It is necessary to work with mixtures very quickly - if you linger and allow drying, then a flat surface can hardly be achieved.
Working with such mixtures is really easy. They usually line the concrete and sandy bases. Preparation of the mixture is to dilute the purchased powder with the right amount of water. For mixing it is better to use a construction mixer or a drill with a nozzle. The composition is prepared in portions, as its properties are lost within 20 minutes. Naturally, before starting work, it is necessary to carefully prepare the original surface: clean the dust, seal all cracks, process with a primer.
When the mixture is ready, it is immediately poured onto the floor. The principle of its operation is based on the law of gravity; therefore, it is not necessary to install beacons and level the solution on them. It is worth remembering that the solution is self-leveling, not self-flowing, therefore, after pouring it onto the floor, you need to level the with a wide trowel or a needle roller. It is better to immediately fill the entire floor in the room, but if its area is large, but the solution is applied in strips, acting very quickly and not allowing the strip edge to dry out. In this case, only professionals can achieve a perfectly flat surface.
The rate of solidification depends on the room temperature, humidity and layer thickness. On average, after 6–12 hours it is possible to move around the surface, and the can be finished in 3-4 days.
№4.Alignment with gypsum fiber sheets( GVL)
Alignment with GVL is called a dry tie. This process is much simpler and faster, but the quality of the finished screed inferior monolithic. A layer of expanded clay, which plays the role of a heat insulator, is laid under the GVL.The technology allows the use of other materials that have similar thermal insulation properties.
Begin the alignment of gypsum fiber board with cleaning the surface of the from dust and dirt, after which a waterproofing material spreads onto it, which can be a plastic film. Its strips are stacked with overlap on each other somewhere in the 10-15 cm and with approaching the walls by 10 cm. Along the perimeter of the room, it is better to use the edge tape, which is located between the plastic film and the layer of expanded clay.
Ceramsite should be carefully rammed and leveled the at the intended level. The first plate is mounted in the corner closest to the door, fastened with screws. When the first layer of gypsum fiber board is ready, proceed to the installation of the second layer, which is attached to the glue. Be sure to shift the sheets 25-30 cm relative to the first layer. For reliability, the second layer can be attached with screws to the first one. Some experts recommend installing beacons in the form of wooden bars or metal U-shaped profiles. For movement on expanded clay use sheets of plywood or GVL.
At the final stage of the , primer the joints of the slabs and attachment points with self-tapping screws, then primer the rest of the surface, cut off the excess polyethylene film and edge tape. An important advantage of of this method of leveling the floor is the ability to perform in stages, in several approaches, and not in one day, and this greatly simplifies the process when the floors are leveled with their own hands.
№5.Leveling using plywood
Another dry way to level the floor is to use plywood. This method is applicable only for those rooms where in the process of further operation there will not be strong drops of humidity. Leveling with plywood is usually used for wooden and concrete floors, when the finish is laminate, parquet or linoleum.
Depending on the level of deformation and elevation changes, two main methods of plywood alignment are used:
- installing plywood directly onto a plank floor;
- assembly using lag.
The first version of is applicable when the height difference is minimal and the irregularities are mainly caused by the deformation of correctly laid floorboards. In this case, the lags will not be needed - their role will be played by the hillocks of the curved floorboards. The thickness of the plywood sheets, in this case, will be equal to 8-10 mm, if the width of the boards of the main floor does not exceed 20 cm, and all of them are evenly deformed. If the floor consists of boards more than 20 cm wide, or not every floorboard will rest against the leveling layer, then it is better to use plywood 20 mm thick.
It is better to hold plywood sheets in advance for several days in the room where the work will be carried out. should be treated with antiseptic. Before starting work sheets laid out on the floor as they will subsequently be attached. If sheets with dimensions 125 * 125 cm are used, it is better to cut them into 4 parts for convenience. They are laid out on the floor, shifting each row relative to the previous one and imitating brickwork, leaving a gap between the sheets of 1-3 mm and a gap between the sheets and the wall 1-2 cm to expand the wood. It now remains to attach the sheets to the "ridges" of the plank floor with self-tapping screws.
Sometimes plywood sheets are laid on an already leveled concrete floor. This technique helps to achieve the most even surface.
The second method, , is used when the height differences are significant. With the help of log, concrete and old wooden floors can be leveled. Work begins with the preparation of the base , which is cleared of debris. If the base is a wooden floor, then it must be treated with an antiseptic. Then fit a layer of waterproofing, in the role of which may be a plastic film or a special membrane. Lags and plywood are pre-treated with antiseptic.
As a log, you can use a timber with a side of 40 * 40, 50 * 50 or 60 * 60 mm, a second-rate board or sliced plywood. If it is undesirable to raise the floor strongly, then it is not the timber used, but the cut pieces of plywood that are used. Lags are placed across the direction of the sun's rays with a step of 40-50 cm. Now you can install transverse bridges, which are fastened with self-tapping screws.
The following is the most crucial moment - placing the finished sheathing on the level of , pre-marked on the wall. For this purpose, metal wedges, roofing felt, roofing felt are installed under the logs, but most often wooden pads are used, which will resemble point supports. Some use sand for this purpose. After leveling, the entire system is attached to the floor, for which you can use dowels, three times longer than the lag thickness. The space inside the batten can be filled with a layer of insulation( mineral wool is more often used) or with a screed of wet sawdust and PVA glue. In the latter case, the mixture is applied in 2-3 layers, waiting for hardening for 2 days, but plywood can be used less thick. Pre-prepared and processed sheets of plywood are fastened with screws, leaving a gap between the sheets of a few millimeters.
If the height difference is more than 5 cm, but less than 8 cm, then the complex system uses the mini-lag .Under the lags and lintels wooden lining are installed, and the height of each such support element is calculated separately and may be different, and this is the most difficult stage.
In general, the method of leveling with plywood can be called fast enough, because you do not need to wait for solidification. Lags and sheets of plywood do not create such a load on the floor, as concrete, so in the case of the old housing stock this option is indispensable. But in some cases, this method of alignment will require a professional approach, and it will cost a lot of money.
When going to level the floors in an apartment, it is important not to overestimate your own strength - in this case it is better to spend money hiring specialists than to get uneven floors as a result. Even ideal walls on a curved basement look uneven, therefore, it is better to approach the leveling of floors with full responsibility.