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  • Old home on an old concrete slab

    Posted by Lance on June 26, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    We decided to use some equity in our home to build a master bedroom (plus some) addition on our home. We are about 1/2 way finished with construction. We live in Mesa, AZ (suburb of Phoenix) so it is really hot this time of year. We don’t have a basement… this home was built on top of a concrete slab, as is the new addition.

    Since the addition is going to expand our kitchen/dining area, we decided that now would be a good time to change our flooring. We fell in love with the look and price of some laminate flooring and purchased it already. Since it isn’t water proof, we also purchased some porcelain tile to use in the laundry and bath rooms.



    I’ve been tearing up the old ceramic tile the last few weeks. I’ve got a decent amount of prep work ahead of me. The last area of tile that I need to pull up goes over the old sunken living room that was filled in by the previous owners. I saved that for last due to the amount of grinding I’m going to have to do once the tile is up.

    So, at this point in the project… I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to level out this floor, and repair the cracks. One thing that worries me about the products I’ve been reading about is that you are supposed to use COLD water with the mix. I wouldn’t say that our tap water is cold during the summer… maybe in October. That said, construction here doesn’t stop in the summer… so I’m guessing lukewarm water must be OK.

    I was considering using something like ‘Henry 565 FloorPro Self-Leveling Underlayment’ or ‘MAPEI Self-Leveler Plus’ in the areas where the laminate will go. However, it seems like I would need about five people to pour the entire area (three mixers, one pourer, one spreader). This would also be an expensive undertaking, considering the square footage. I’d also have to pour it over the concrete in the addition to ensure the areas I’m installing laminate are level, which seems like a waste.

    It certainly would be less expensive to patch the areas that need it, maybe with Henry’s 549 feather finish, and level everything out by hand & trowel. I am not an expert working with concrete, so I’m looking for some recommendations! Let me know what you think what would be the best way forward with preparing for the laminate to go in… and what product(s) I should purchase to get the job done right.

    I’m still working on my blueprint. Should have it posted before Friday.

    Thank you,

    Lance replied 2 years, 1 month ago 2 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Joe

    June 28, 2021 at 8:40 am
    • Lance

      June 28, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      I was hoping you would say to say away from the self leveler. Especially since the addition is all brand new concrete. Seems like that is the more expensive way to go. ????

      However, if self leveler is the way to go due to the amount of repair work to do, then I’ll go that route. I saw a YouTube video of a guy (MrYouCanDoItYourself) using the spike shoes, and some tri-pods to ensure the leveler was at the desired height. I can segregate the rooms with the damn. I also can fill the bath with water and set aside some buckets… then add ice to them to cool them down.

      I used my meat thermometer to check the temperature of our “cold” water. It is 82 degrees. We keep the indoor temperature at about 76 degrees in the summer here in the Phoenix area… that is 20 – 40 degrees cooler than it is outside!

      I got my blueprint done! I’ve attached it to this message. Areas where there are dashed lines is where flooring will not be going.

      Let me know if there is any other information I can provide you with. I’m probably going to tear up the tile and start grinding on the old sunken living room area tomorrow.

      Thank you for your help! God bless you!

  • Joe

    June 29, 2021 at 8:40 am
    • Lance

      July 14, 2021 at 5:56 pm

      Sorry for the delay in my reply. July is vacation month this year. Pretty soon we’ll be heading out again, and won’t return again until August.

      Today I grabbed a nice straight 2×4 and went around the floor. Unfortunately I can’t find any area longer than 2 feet where the 2×4 doesn’t have a gap. This home is 45 years old, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by this. The only place the 2×4 sits nicely along the floor is on the slab in the new addition. I don’t need to make a decision which way to go (regarding leveling the floor) until I come back from this upcoming vacation… so I think I’ll pray about it until I return.

      Regardless which way I go on the leveling, I definitely plan to begin working on the cracks first. You mentioned using membrane and cloth, but I’m not sure how to go about this. One video I watched on YouTube suggested:

      1. cleaning up the crack with a crack chaser blade on my angle grinder
      2. make sure the crack is super clean with no loose debris
      3. fill the bottom of the crack with something compressible
      4. patch over the top

      Does that sound about right to you? Do you have any videos already made on treating cracks in a concrete slab, or have any suggestions on a video I can reference where the person is actually doing things properly?

      I’ve added some photos of the planks I purchased. I wasn’t sure if you wanted an up close view of the ends… or if you wanted a photo of the whole plank. I went with the former, so let me know if you need to see something else.

      When I’m finally able to install the planks, I think I’ll go east to west (according to my drawing). The hallway is so short compared to the length of the great room that flows into the kitchen. I’m working with 8″ wide planks, so it won’t be too bad going horizontal all the way down the 15′ hallway. That will make it easier for me to flow the planks into the bedrooms & closets off the hallway. Furthermore, that would make my planks run perpendicular over most of the cracks in my floor, instead of parallel with them… in case the foundation shifts some more in the future.

      Thank you for your help! God bless you

  • Joe

    August 4, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Lance, is the old sunken Livingroom area no longer a sunken livingroom?

    • Lance

      August 7, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Correct. It was filled in when this house was flipped before I purchased it. You can see in one of the first pictures I posted to this thread the difference between the old slab and where the sunken living room was filled in. It is the photo with the tile sitting on top of curved lighter gray area of the floor. I had to grind the thin-set off that area after pulling up the tile, because the thin-set couldn’t be scraped off that area like I was able to do on the rest of the old concrete slab.

      I am finally back from vacation, and I’m starting to get ready to move forward with repairing the cracks in the floor. Once the cracks are repaired, I have decided to move forward with using the self leveler to take care of all the other chips and tiny cracks in the old concrete slab.

      Question about the self leveler:
      With the addition to our home, the kitchen has been expanded (approx 5×10 area). I will use the self leveler in the old kitchen area since there are so many dips, chips & tiny cracks in the old concrete slab there. I was wondering if you think it would be OK to thin the self leveler out over the new concrete slab of the addition the further I get from the old kitchen? The kitchen area is what leads to all the rest of the new addition. I’d rather avoid using the self leveler in the new addition since the concrete slab there is so pristine. Seems like I could feather into the new addition, instead of spending the extra money on self leveler for that whole area as well.

  • Joe

    August 9, 2021 at 11:34 am
    • Lance

      August 10, 2021 at 11:06 am

      Excellent! Yeah, “thin it down” is more accurate. I’ll definitely let it dry and then feather it in to the new addition.

      Still prepping for the self leveler. My lawn aerator shoes have arrived. I think I figured out where the flooring contractors shop near me… it is busy from 6 AM until 10 AM every day with all the right vehicles in the parking lot:

  • Joe

    August 9, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Here is your blueprint –

    • Lance

      August 10, 2021 at 11:19 am

      This was EXCELLENT! Thank you so much!

      I’m happy to see that I should start in the new master bedroom, since my wife is really looking forward to having that area ready to move into soon. Our house has been a construction zone for months, and she is at her wits end already.

      That is a double door for our old master bedroom. I may modify the closets for the rooms at that end of the house, if I can afford it. I’ve been waiting to see how much money we have left when the addition work is complete before deciding. If I do go that route, I can see that it might make the laminate install a bit easier. I’ll update the blueprint for you if I proceed with that… but it seems unlikely.

      I do have two hammer drills, one is from Harbor Freight (which I used to tear up our old tile). I have a nice cordless Dewalt one too, but I haven’t used it yet.

      I’ll definitely send you pictures as I move forward. I really appreciate all of your help! I’m hoping to have the flooring install complete before Thanksgiving, but that depends on construction of the addition getting wrapped up soon… and not making any changes to the closets.