You know that sinking feeling when you realize your floor isn’t level. It could be magnified in a finished floor or an unfinished floor, but it’s still the same problem. In either case, you need to know how to level a floor without leveling the compound. You may even want to skip that step altogether if this is an unfinished basement or an unheated crawl space with no insulation and drafts from the plumbing. To level a floor without leveling a compound sounds like something you could never do. After all, what else could there possibly be? However, even though leveling compound is the most common way of getting the job done, it’s not the only way. Here are some ideas on how to level a floor without leveling the compound.
How To Level A Floor Without Leveling Compound?
Use Dry Mortar
If you are installing tile over a concrete floor, you have access to one of the most effective leveling compounds out there: dry mortar. When you install tile over concrete, you need to screed the concrete with a thin layer of the concrete mix just before you install your tile. Doing this will ensure that your concrete is pushed up straight against the wall and will help you install tile that is completely level. If you don’t screed your concrete before tile installation and try to rely solely on the dry mortar for leveling, you might end up with a wavy and uneven tile job. A thin layer of concrete mix will help you keep your concrete straight and level; it’s essentially the same thing as leveling compound. If you’re installing tile over concrete, it’s a good idea to screed a thin layer of the concrete mix before you install your tile. Doing so will help you avoid uneven and wavy tile.
If you are installing tile on a wood floor or concrete subfloor, you might not need to add a thin layer of concrete mix to level the floor. Instead, you can just use shims to level your floor. A few shims strategically placed underneath your tile will help you get your floor perfectly level. When using shims to level your floor, make sure to place them underneath the edges of your tile. Shims are available at any home improvement store; you can also DIY them if you have some leftover scraps of wood or plywood that you’re not using.
Lay A Short Piece Of Tile
If you’re installing tile over an existing floor and you know that the floor isn’t perfectly level, consider shortening the length of the tiles you are installing. Doing so will bring the tiles closer to the edges of the room and help them sit flush with the other tiles on your floor. If one or more of your tiles are lower than the rest, use a tile nipper to cut the tile down so that it’s level with the rest of the tiles in your room. Make sure to cut the tile short enough so that it doesn’t extend past the other tiles in your room; if it does, you might end up grinding it into the subfloor and damaging it.
Use A Laser Level
If you are installing tile over an existing floor, you can just grab a laser level and use it to find the high and low spots on your floor. Place the laser level at multiple points in your floor to find the high and low spots, then use a pencil to mark the high and low points on the subfloor so you can see them easily. Hook a string line between the high and low points you’ve marked on your subfloor and use it to bring the whole floor level. A string line is essentially a string that is tied between two points in a straight line; it’s a quick and easy way to level your floor.
Lay Down A Slab Of Spackle
If you are installing tile over an existing floor and don’t have access to any of the previously mentioned leveling compounds, you can install tile while also bringing your floor closer to level. Install tile up to the high points in your floor and then use spackle to fill in the low spots. Spackle is a quick and easy way to level your floor if you don’t have access to any other leveling compounds. It’s not a long-term solution, though; you will need to remove the spackle and level your floor with a different substance once you finish installing your tile.
Tips On How To Level A Floor Without Leveling Compound
Know Your Tools
When it comes to carpentry, incomplete measurements will always lead to errors. For this reason, you need to be fully aware of your tools and make sure to use them properly. When leveling a floor, for instance, you should use a bubble level. Bubble levels are much more precise than wooden beams or a laser. You should also make sure to use a carpenter’s square to check your measurements. And remember that a tape measure isn’t accurate when it’s extended. You can also use a speed square or a try square to get perfect 90-degree cuts. Plus, they’re easy to use and can save you plenty of time. These tools may seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how many people miss these simple details. If you want to avoid incomplete measurements, make sure to use the right tools.
Use String Lines And Scribes
Professional carpenters use a technique called scribing to make measurements more precise. Scribing is basically a process whereby you use a straightedge to mark the edges of your boards. When you place the boards on the floor, you can then use the markings to position them correctly. String lines can also help you, position boards, correctly. For this trick, you’ll need to use a carpenter’s level and a piece of string. To create a string line, you need to extend the level’s bubble up to the line. When marking the ends of your boards with string, make sure to place them in such a way that they don’t get in the way of the level’s bubble. This can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes and make the leveling process much easier and more precise.
Pros Of Floor Leveling Without Compound
- Concrete floors – Concrete is great for patios and other outdoor spaces, but it can be difficult to level. Concrete shrinks and moves as it dries, so it is difficult to get a level concrete floor. If you try to use leveling compound on a concrete floor, it will not dry out. This can cause mold and other problems.
- Timber floors – If you have a timber floor with lots of gaps, you can use a leveling compound to fill them. However, the timber can be damaged by the pressure of the compound. You can avoid this damage by not filling the gaps with leveling compound.
- Old concrete – If your concrete floor is old and has low strength, leveling the compound will damage it. You can instead use a low-pressure trowel to level the floor. Make sure the concrete is dry before you start leveling.
- Overloaded floors – If your floor is overloaded with furniture, people, or other items, you can use a leveling compound to remove the pressure. However, you need to clean the floor before you start leveling. Using leveling compound on an unclean floor will only push the dirt into the concrete.
Cons Of Floor Leveling Without Compound
- You can only use it on low-strength concrete floors – If your concrete is too strong, you can only use a sponge to level it. You can also clean and dry the floor before leveling it with a sponge. However, you need to know that a sponge will not blend in with your floor. You may need to use a different color to level it.
- You may see changes in color – When you use a sponge to level your floor, you may see some color change. This is especially true if you use leveling compound. Using a sponge will only blend in the floor, but it will not change its color.
- Slight surface imperfections – When you use a sponge to level your floor, it will only remove very slight unevenness. It will leave a slight ripple on the floor. This is because the sponge flattens out the unevenness but does not remove it.
- You can only level the floor in one direction – When you use a sponge to level your floor, you can only level it in one direction. You cannot use it to level the floor in both directions.
Most homes will benefit from having the floor leveled. This is because it’s true that a level floor is easier to clean and maintain. It will also help to keep your back and knees healthy as you age. With that said, it’s important to know how to level a floor without leveling the compound. One way to do this is to use a screed board. You’ll want to mix sand into the concrete before you pour it and then use a screed board to level it out after it has set. Another way to level a floor without leveling compound is to use drywall tape.