Using Self-Leveling Concrete with Two Inches to Fix

I know you are all just DYING to see what the status of the kitchen is. As of yesterday, we have a functional kitchen again! Our appliances were delivered/installed and we got the sink and dishwasher running – no more brushing my teeth out of the bathtub!!

We were actually able to COOK a dinner in the kitchen, rather than hit up the fast food joints around Menards – I am pretty sure they recognize us now. Although it was only a frozen pizza that was cooked, a frozen pizza has never tasted as good! Given our functionality status, I fully plan to DVR the MLB Opening Day game and enjoy dinner while swooning over the Brewer’s players tonight!

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{ the first meal cooked in the new kitchen! }

We were also surprised this week with an extra set of hands when our friend Carl stopped by to help – not only once, but TWICE. I cannot believe he came back to help after the first day. It’s always a fun, problem-solving adventure when doing home renovations with Jen and Graham!

I will have SO MANY updates, and how we DIY’d the different steps of the kitchen, over the next few weeks (I hope).

I know renovating your own kitchen, or any area of your house, can seem daunting, but it is so rewarding to see the finished product when you know that you’re the one who has done the work. Pretty much anyone is capable of doing the work themselves, and it is usually a lot cheaper than hiring a professional. Plus, with the variety of coupons and promo codes you can find at sites like for home improvement stores like Home Depot, where you’ll likely get the majority of your tools and equipment, you can start renovating at a low-cost.

Although I know this will just drive. my. mom bananas {sorry mom}, I am going to be saving the “after” pictures of the entire kitchen for when it is actually done, detail work and all.

Do not fret, though, most of my updates will give you a really good idea of what the kitchen looks like, but the longer I wait to do a “before and after” side-by-side view of the entire kitchen (and only when it is fully done…detail work does make a difference), the more of an impact it will have. Even when Graham and I looked at some “before” pictures last night, our jaws dropped open and we are the ones putting it together!

So, for today, I would like to share with you the final steps in our attempt to level our kitchen floor using self-leveling concrete. Those with concrete flooring may want to know the ways in which they can keep them in pristine condition; something like Concrete polishing can restore floors to their former glory.

Using Self-Leveling Concrete with Two Inches to Fix

How to Apply Self Leveling Concrete

Remember my previous post where I went through our cement backer board process (which was the first step in preparing our floors)? Well, once that was done, and before we could endure the “Tiling Weekend Extravaganza”, we first had to pour some self-leveling concrete to make the floors as level as possible.

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{ watching the floors become a little more level }

Man, oh man, I developed some buff arms during this process. Self-leveling concrete must be poured very quickly after it is fully mixed {within five minutes}. So, I was in charge of mixing the buckets while Graham poured and smoothed things out.

We used a hammer drill with a spade-like attachment to mix the concrete. And when I say “we” used this hammer drill, what I really mean is, “I was the lucky one who got to mix”…my arms were Jell-O-like after this process! Next time, I think I would hire a professional company like R&M Concrete because it really was hard work, and although we did save money I don’t think it was worth the amount of work we had to put in.

To keep the concrete supply constantly flowing for Graham to pour on the floor, we got out three five-gallon buckets and pre-measured where the appropriate amount of water would get to in each, marking this line with a Sharpie. We had a fourth bucket available with just water for rinsing off the mixing attachment and such.

After we got the first bucket mixed, Graham went and poured it, I then filled the next bucket up to our Sharpie line with water, then mixed in the next bag of concrete. It took a good three to five minutes of constant mixing to get the right consistency. Our first batch, we found, had a lot of lumps which unfortunately would later have to be chipped off the floor in preparation for tiling. Don’t be lumpy like us.

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{ the first batch = too many lumps }

Once the concrete was poured, we had to let it sit for at least four hours before we could tile. Luckily, we had a garden meeting to attend that morning anyways! Plus, since we rocked out the concrete so quickly, we even had time to enjoy breakfast at a local diner before the meeting {yes, it was a VERY EARLY morning}.

The only thing we would do differently, if we ever had to use this product again, is find a MUCH better way to prevent it from leaking through any gaps. We thought we had the edge of the stairway down to the basement covered enough, but the self-leveling concrete actually moved the board and foam edger we nailed down allowing some of it to flow down into the basement. This particular part of the floor (by the basement doorway) was REALLY uneven, however, so once we saw this had happened, it made sense.

Since all . of . the . concrete flowed towards the basement door when we first poured it on the floor, there was a ton of pressure on that board we thought we had secured enough to hold all the concrete back {since self-leveling concrete is not light}!

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{ this little dot on the basement floor was the first of the escaped concrete that we found }

Lucky for us, a lot of it did still stay in place, and the small amount that escaped ended up landing on the monster freezer in our basement that was going to be replaced anyways!

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{ we looked up from the dot of concrete on the floor to find our old, rusty, monster freezer! }

So, how much concrete did we use? You can probably imagine how much we had to use when part of the floor had a two inch thick layer once it was all said and done. Yes, you read that correctly, our floor WAS two inches lower {in some spots} that the highest spot in the kitchen. With the amount of concrete that we ended up using, I’m sure that we will need something like concrete cleaner by ACT at some point to make sure our concrete stays as clean as possible.

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{ concrete layer is 2 inches thick in some spots }

Again, gotta love 100 year old homes! But, after the self-leveling concrete, the floor was 95% level. There are still some spots that are not “perfect”, but has nothing to do with the self-leveling concrete, just more of the fact it is an old home. But overall, the floor is MUCH MUCH better, and we are ready to tile!

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Self-Leveling Concrete

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How to Apply Self-Leveling Concrete

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