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Self-Leveling Concrete Toppings

By Surface FX in Articles We Like

Self-Leveling Concrete Toppings Provide a Shortcut to a Sharp Look

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Self-Leveling Concrete Toppings Santa Barbara
Self-leveling toppings are designed to be used over existing concrete substrates that are rough, uneven or unattractive. Here Westcoats Level-It was used on a floor at the Gamma Alpha Phi sorority house at San Diego State University.

You've seen concrete interior floors in such bad shape that your first thought was to rip them out and start over. But there’s an easier approach. Self-leveling toppings or overlayments can be poured over concrete surfaces you didn’t think were salvageable, saving time and money.

“It’s faster and easier than pouring new concrete,” says Paul Koury, president of Westcoat Specialty Coating Systems. Westcoat manufactures the Level-It family of self-leveling toppings.

“If you get the right mixer, the right gauge rake and the right roller, it’s quick and easy to apply this stuff,” says Joe Zingale, flooring group specialist at CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp., referring to his company’s Tru line of self-levelers.

Still, they’re not on everyone’s radar screen.

“I would venture to say that 75 percent of designers aren’t aware that you can put down a quarter- or half-inch cement topping and polish or grind it and seal it like you can with concrete,” says Koury.

Crowd pleaser

“There are a lot of things you can do with this product to decorate it,” says Rich Cofoid, senior marketing and product line manager at Increte Systems/Euclid Chemical. “You can integrally color it, polish it or apply concrete dyes, acid stains and water-based stains.”

Many manufacturers now have products with aggregate, or you can broadcast your own.

CTS Cement Manufacturing offers the Tru family of self-leveling products with decorative features, says Zingale. “Tru is more of a buff-tone cement with fine aggregate. Then there’s Tru Gray, with a light gray color added in the bag, and Tru PC, a gray with concrete-looking aggregate. That’s what’s really taken off,” says Zingale about the latter, a high-flow topping that simulates polished concrete. “We can add glass or color to simulate a terrazzo floor. We have various color and aggregate combinations to give customers a multitude of looks.”

CTS has also found a way to give customers great aesthetic consistency, says Zingale. “We found a quarry we use for all of our aggregate, so if we have a customer in Germany and they have an office in the U.S., the look is going to match.”

That issue of consistency is very important to the industry.

Referring to one ideal application, Andrew Fulkerson, technical services manager at Mapei Corp., describes an industrial space that had been partitioned and the concrete slab treated in a variety of ways. Now the customer wants the walls removed and the flooring to be consistent throughout.

“The old concrete will be damaged in different ways, depending on what’s coming off it,” Fulkerson says. “Carpet allows dirt and moisture to build up, flooring leaves adhesives and tile leaves grout behind. But the self-leveling product can go on over all of those surfaces for a consistent look.”

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