Self leveling concrete is an amazing product. The beauty of self leverers is that you can control the height of your floor. They can also be stained and sealed. Mapei makes a self leveling product that can level smooth as glass with almost zero shrinkage. Other companies are working on similar products.
During the past week I filmed the installation of Mapei self leveling concrete in a new restaurant. It was the only flooring solution that would work.
One of the issues was that there was little thought about the floor until late in the project. This happens a lot. Flooring should be the first consideration in every project then design and build from there, not the other way around.
All the moldings were already in and painted. Tile had been installed in the kitchen leaving a height issue where it meets the main floor. Entrance door had been installed leaving little height for flooring below the door. All the doorways had a height issue at the transition.
The self leveling concrete solved all the height issues. The self leveler was poured thin, slightly more than 1/4 inch. A gauge rake is used to pull the concrete to the exact height. The gauge rake has feet that can be adjusted to the exact height you need.
It's amazing to watch. The self leveling concrete is very wet and flows to an even flat surface. Then a "Smoother" is used to flatten out even more. The Smoother is a tool that has flat edge on a pole that is pulled over the surface.
The floor looked awesome when complete. It took 3 people about 90 minutes to resurface 1200 square feet. When complete you could see a perfect transition at all the doorways, entrance door could swing open freely, transition to tile in kitchen was perfect.
The next day dark brown Acetone concrete dyes were sprayed randomly on the floor. Then a diluted brown concrete acid stain was sprayed over the entire floor and left on for 1 hour. Then they rinsed the acid stain to stop the chemical reaction with the concrete and to remove any residue.
The final step in the coloring process was application of diluted brown water based concrete dyes over the entire floor. The process was a combination of spraying then evening out the dye with a thick microfiber mop.
The next day the self leveling concrete was sealed with 2 coats of a solvent based concrete sealer.
The last step which brought it all together was application of a high solids floor finish. Once the second coat was applied the floor came alive.
The final result was a highly functional, decorative, low maintenance floor. One very unique feature is the importance of wall color and lighting. The floor picked up reds from the awning outside. Copper panels reflected a copper color onto the floor. This is a feature that is not achieved from other flooring products and is critical when working with decorative concrete.
There were imperfections as with all decorative concrete floors. But generally the floor was a thing of beauty. Any imperfections would not be evident since 80% over the floor would be covered with tables and chairs.The Beauty of Self Leveling Concrete
To view a video showing installation of a hip NYC loft floor with self leveling concrete or for complete information about concrete polishing and overlays visit http://www.hudsonconcretepolishing.com/
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