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​​​​​​​Tips and Pitfalls of Fast-Drying, Self-Leveling Concrete Toppings

Participate in the topping manufacturer’s training program when first starting out with self-leveling concrete toppings.

Complete primer application is critical for a good chemical bond when applying a self-leveling overlay or topping.

When applying a self-leveling overlay or topping eliminate as much concrete dust as possible.

When applying self-leveling overlay or topping don’t apply the product when the temperature is below 50 degrees or above 95 degrees. At temperatures above 85 degrees, chill the water used for the mix and consider pouring at in the cool of the night.

After applying a self-leveling overlay or topping, apply a concrete sealer and a finishing product, such as a sacrificial wax.

 
 

Fast-drying, self-leveling products are often the product of choice when leveling and topping new construction concrete floors -- or resurfacing old concrete floors -- in a fast-track environment, such as malls, retail spaces, restaurants, hotels, casinos, museums, showrooms and warehouses. But these products have advantages and disadvantages. Below are a few tips and pitfalls to applying fast-drying, self-leveling concrete toppings.

► Participate in the topping manufacturer’s training program.

► Read and follow all manufacturers directions exactly.

► Use the proper tools and equipment.

► Don’t skimp on substrate preparation. It is critical for a good physical (mechanical) bond.

► Eliminate as much dust as possible.

► Complete primer application is critical for a good chemical bond.

► Don’t misuse or abuse the product.

► Don’t over-water the mix. To extend working time in hot weather, add ice to the water barrel and use that chilled water in the mix.

► Don’t apply the product when the temperature is below 50 degrees or above 95 degrees. At temperatures above 85 degrees, chill the water used for the mix and consider pouring at in the cool of the night.

► Don’t let the material get away from you or pour too large an area at one time.

► Eliminate airflow to prevent ripples in the surface.

► After the decorative effects are completed, apply a sealer and a finishing product, such as a sacrificial wax.

► Practice, practice, practice.

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