Sounds quite OK - mix the self leveling concrete in my dustbin('Ardex' brand sounds good and will dry in 2 hrs) pour it on the floor (no thicker than 10mm) and draw a batten over it to make it level.... Sand off any hotspots later.
It's just that batten bit that puts me off - I see me making waves and undulations!
Any tips on this and also splitting the floor area into two sections seamlesly - I need to tile the kitchen floor before Friday's delivery!
How much are you trying to build up? Screeding is quite a specilaist item (been a surveyor in the industry for too many years to mention) and is not a cost effective solution for over 10-15mm, so be warned.!!
If you intend laying floor tiles I would try screwing down sheets of plywood to achieve the level, however if you are trying to lift it less than 5mm could be a prob. Any more than 5mm I would use plywood. If it is a kitchen get WBP ply as it is resitant to moisture (allegedly). Any DIY place or builder's merchant should have it for around £8-£10 per sheet (2440mm x 1220 mm or 8' x 4'!)
In addition to screwing it down use some pva glue (readily available). Thoroughly clean the existing floor before laying it to remove bumps and flatten any nail heads etc and then lay the tiles.....and Robert is your father's brother........
Also, if you are installing a new kitchen, you should ask yourself if you want the tiles to run all the way under the units as it sounds that you are heading that way? Most kitchens have a plinth below the units which you can but the new tiles up to and seal with mastic. This will also save you money as why pay for a nice tile that you will never see!!! EG 1200mm long base unit will cover over around 0.75M2, so ten units will cover around 7.5M2 which could save quite a bit.
Currently there is a screed, then cork tiles, then manky lino! The screed/tile/lino does not extend under the washing machine/dishwasher. This makes them sit too low under the worktop and an absolute BasXXX to get in and out!
I hoped to lay a thin layer of screed over the existing patchy screed, getting up to a few mm where the appliances are. I would also take this screed a few cm under the plinths and then tile a few cm under the plinths for a neat job.
If you think this is too tricky for a first timer tell me straight! I usually umm and ahh & pussyfoot about and then dive in with brave courage on these DIY things!
Laying a screed, also known as self levelling compound, isn't that hard. I did our consevatory, which is 4.5 x 4 metres, and all I did was to mix the stuff up runny, (that's the hard bit, to get it to mix to a creamy texture), then poured it on, levelling it with a skimming trowel which I "puddled" into it until it ran, then wiped it over the surface afterwards. The stuff virtually laid itself, was dry 2 hours later, rock hard the next day, and tiled on within 36 hours.
__________________ Harvey Smith, R.I.P.
I'm proud to have called him my friend.
Can I just ask why you have to level it by hand if it is really thin and runny? That's the only thing that puts me off - how will I know I'm making it MORE level and not making little dips and troughs?
If it is only a few millimetres you need to attend to then go with a 2 part screed as suggested, but go for an established make and not a DIY store's own brand!!!
You could also consider that as you are tiling the floor you may be able to accomodate minor deviations in isolated areas/patches with the adhesive bed of the floor tiles. This will depend on the extent of the depressions you are attending to.
The hand levelling is usually only specified because the mixed up product wil never be (and shouldn't be!) as fluid as water and thus wil not totally self level, despite what the product packaging will say. A good tip from a ceramic tiler I spoke to yesterday is to use a large float/trowel as this will make the process easier if you are not confident. As above, don't worry about achieving a perfect level as the tile adhesive bed can be quite ' forgiving '.
The biggest tip I can give you is to spend as much if not more time in the preperation stage as this will make the actual installation much easier. Remove as many bumps etc from the existing floor as poss. Also get the mix of the material as good as you can. I have never seen anyone mix the material to the consistancy detailed on the packaging (thier tests are done under laboratory conditions so no Kids, Wives or furniture in the way and at perfect temperatures). When ever I see it done on site it is always more fluid than reccomended as it will aid the installation works. Drying times will be largely dependant upon the room temperature and the existing floor temperature / moisture content so don't live and die by the drying times quoted on the packaging (also the more fluid the mix the longer it will take to dry). Finally, be warned some materials (esp the two part systems) will give off a nasty smell for a while, so keep the windows open where possible (this will also aid the curing process).