A Guide For Installing Self Leveling Floors

Over the last 15 years, resin floors have overtaken traditional floors such as vinyl, linoleum, and carpet for many hardwearing applications.

One of the most popular types of resin floor is the self-leveler, it is also one of the easiest to apply but there are certain precautions to observe surrounding its installation.

A self-leveler is ideal for low traffic situations where stacker truck use is minimal, but foot traffic is high. Under such conditions, it should be possible to get 5 years wear from a self-leveler, but don’t expect to get more than a twelve-month manufacturer guarantee passed on from the flooring contractor.

The system is generally composed of a liquid resin, a hardener and some fine fillers. Normally the filler to resin ratio is 1:1, so for each kg of resin, there is 1kg of filler whose purpose is simply to reduce the amount of expensive resin used by bulking it out. At the quoted ratio the resin will still self-level with a bit of help!

During the mixing of the resins, air is automatically entrained into the resin which fills with air bubbles. Minute holes in the base concrete can also generate small air bubbles which rise through the resin to the surface. Those bubbles which surface within say an hour of the resin being laid usually pop and leave no trace behind, but as the resin starts to cure bubbles at the surface find it difficult to rise to the height needed to pop automatically, and some help is required.

To reduce bubbles from the concrete, before the resin is first tipped onto the floor it should be ensured that the primer coat applied previously to prime and seal the concrete, has not been sucked into the concrete to leave resin hungry patches. If there are any dull un-sealed patches it is highly recommended that the floor is re-sealed in these locations, and the floor left to cure.

The self-leveler can now be installed and is normally done so with the use of a notched trowel similar to those used with cement self-levelers and wall tiling. To ensure the correct depth of resin is laid is relatively straightforward, by selecting a tooth height of the trowel which is twice the required depth of the finished resin. Since the tooth profile only allows resin through 50 percent of the blade width, the average thickness is half tooth height!

When tipping the resin from the bucket onto the floor, keep about a foot away from the edges and push the resin with the trowel into the edges. This technique reduces the chance of thick puddles nestling against walls and other vertical surfaces. Spread the resin out across the room to approximately a 1-meter wide strip and continue down the floor until it is completely covered. Since it is a liquid, any holes in the floor should have been plugged to stop leakage of the product forming depressions in the finished floor.

As soon as the laying is finished it’s time to don the golf shoes!

Because of the nature of the resin, it is possible to walk in it wearing spiked shoes, and old golf shoes are ideal although there are specially made shoes with spikes in them.

It is now necessary to pop the bubbles in the screed that were entrained during the mixing, and this is done with a spiked roller. The spikes are in the form of about 50 freely rotating plastic star wheels arranged on a roller shaft. As the roller is pushed forward and backward the rotating spikes will pop the bubbles within the screed. As long as this operation is performed as soon as the resin is laid, the marks from the spiked shoes and the roller will disappear.

Resins can yellow over time and if the floor is going to be lit by fluorescent lights it is advisable to apply a UV stable clear sealer as a finish.

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