Home Improvement

How to Level a Concrete Floor for Laminate

Laminate flooring can be seen in many different homes nowadays, and it’s no wonder why. This material is scratch and fade-resistant, it’s harder for it to catch fire than regular wood, and it’s relatively easy to install. It sounds like it’s the perfect material for any floor, doesn’t it? 

But that last part about the installation is where you need to pay attention. Although laminate is more forgiving to floor imperfections than other materials, it still needs a properly levelled floor, and there’s no way around that.

So, if you:

  • Have recently purchased a home with concrete floors and you want to cover them with laminate;
  • Have slight floor slopes and wonder whether they could pose a significant problem;
  • Are wondering how to fix imperfections in the ground,

Then read along and learn how to level a concrete floor for laminate!

How to determine the floor level

Before you get down to fixing any uneven sections on the ground, you must first be sure the overall level is good. Because if it’s not, the installation of your laminate will not be fully successful, and you will end up with imperfections like gaps and sagging. Now that you know why you should determine the floor level, it’s time to learn how to do it:

  1. Place a carpenter’s level on the ground. You need a long level – at least 1.5 metres long – to get the most accurate representation of the floor evenness. That way, you’ll be able to cover a large area and not have your readings affected by dips in the ground.
  2. Check the bubble – it should be in between the black lines. The more it strays from them, the larger the slope is.
  3. Lift one side of the level until the bubble is in the centre. Measure the space from that side to the ground.
  4. Check for dips under the level. This will require you to be on the side of the level.
  5. Mark any uneven spots on the floor with chalk.
  6. Repeat this for the entirety of the floor in the room where you plan to install laminate boards.

Tools you need for levelling the concrete floor

As with other handyman jobs, you will need to gather the supplies and tools needed to level your concrete floor. You will need:

  • Broom.
  • 3 large buckets (for water, for mixing compound, and for storing tools when not in use).
  • Spray bottle full of water.
  • Clean paintbrush.
  • Power drill.
  • Heavy-duty cement spiral mixer, which you will attach to the power drill.
  • Knee pads.
  • Trowel – these tools make it easier to smooth out the compound after it’s been laid.
  • Protective sheet for the ground.
  • Protective gear –  gloves for your hands, breathing mask, and splash-proof goggles.

Besides laminate installation, we also offer other flooring services.

How to prepare the concrete area for levelling

Preparation is always of importance, and in this case, it is crucial.

  1. Spray the area lightly with water. This is so the dust will stay on the ground and not become air bourne. At this stage, you don’t need a dust mask. 
  2. Sweep the floor with your broom. Do not use a domestic vacuum as it might get damaged by the concrete dust particles.
  3. Inspect the floor – check for any grease or oil. If you find any such spots, remove them with a degreaser.
  4. Repair the ground – you’re likely to find dents, dips, and cracks here and there. These need to be fixed before you lay the levelling compost. Use a concrete repair compound and be careful not to over do it. If you do, you will end up with small bumps on the floor that defeat the purpose.
  5. Lay the floor levelling compound to a maxim of 5 to 6 millimetres in thickness. Some brands might alow for a thicker layer, so always check the label.

How to level a concrete floor for laminate

Now that the area is clean enough, you can get down to the actual levelling.

  1. Put on your knee pads.
  2. Get your paintbrush and seal the surface with a diluted PVA mix. The ratio needs to be 4 parts water and one part PVA.
  3. Give it time to dry thoroughly.
  4. Calculate how much levelling compound you will need. You can do this whilst waiting for the PVA mix to dry. Calculate the area in square metres by multiplying the width of one wall by that of the adjacent one. Read the levelling compound package instructions to see how much it covers and what thickness it provides. Then, you will be able to determine how many bags you will need. 
  5. Put on your protective gear for the mixing process and lay the protective sheet on the ground. If possible, mix the compound outdoors, or at least in a well-ventilated area.
  6. Mix the compound with water into the first bucket. Usually, a bag of 25kg requires about 5 litres of water.
  7. Turn on the power drill at a slow speed. Start slowly so you don’t get drops all over yourself and the area around you. Do not mix too much compound in a single go, because it can set in while still in the bucket. It’s quick-drying, after all.
  8. Pour the compound at the point that is the furthest away from the door.
  9. Spread the compound with your trowel to the required thickness. Don’t overwork the compound, the trail marks should disappear after a few minutes.
  10. Work your way across the room and out the door.
  11. The surface will harden after about 30 minutes and you will be able to walk on in after several hours.
  12. Once the floor is fully dry, you can move on and install your laminate boards.

Hire professionals

If you find this task too tedious and dirty, which frankly it is, then consider hiring professional laminate floor installation services. Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped technicians, ready to install your brand new laminate flooring and, of course, level the floor in the room where you want that new floor. You don’t need to purchase any tools or look for a place to mix levelling compound. The pros will do all of that and give you the laminate floor of your dreams.

Takeaways

  • Determine if your floor has a slope before laying the new flooring.
  • Prepare the concrete ground by cleaning it and filling and holes or cracks.
  • Try not to mix too much levelling compound as it dries quickly and you may get some stuck in your bucket.
  • Always work from the inside of the room towards the door and not the other way around.

***

Did you manage to level your floor? What challenges did you face? Let us know by commenting

Image source: Bacho / Shutterstock

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