Posted on

Installation: Self-levelers smooth over rough subfloors

April 29/May 6, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 24

By Lindsay Baillie

For a consumer to get the most out of her floor, the product must be installed properly. As retailers, installers and contractors know, the success of any installation starts with a properly prepped substrate.

To help installers with this important step, manufacturers are developing new self-levelers to shorten prep time and create better working environments for all on the construction site. Here is an overview of some of the latest products hitting the market.

Ardex – Ardex K13
Ardex K13 has a dual water ratio, allowing installers to choose a high flow or standard flow option for their installation. When choosing the standard flow option, the product can be installed up to 1 1⁄2-inch without aggregate and tapered to meet existing elevations. The high flow option has outstanding fluidity and coverage. It can be installed as thin as 1⁄16-inch but still maintains ideal self- leveling properties in these thin applications.

The Ardex K13 unique dual water ratio allows installers the flexibility to adjust to the jobsite requirements with a single product. The installation crew can change water ratios from job to job or even bag to bag on any install to cater to their preference. The product still maintains a 16-hour dry time at both water ratios for most floor coverings. These features are said to provide reduced cost and rapid turn-around fitting any timeline.

Custom Building Products – CustomTech TechLevel WSF
CustomTech TechLevel WSF is a fiber-reinforced, self-leveling underlayment for wood subfloors. Due to its fiber reinforcement, lath is not required for plywood or OSB substrates. What’s more, WSF is compatible with radiant heating systems and can be used in place of backerboard over most applications. It can also be used over non-wood floors, providing one product for all types of subfloors.

CustomTech’s low-prep technology requires no mechanical prep for suitable substrates. It helps installers save time by eliminating the labor involved in installing a wire lath before leveling. “This is a high-flow formula with excellent handling and exceptional flow retention properties that helps production rates,” said Eric Carr, senior director of product and channel management.

Schon̈ox – Renotex 3D System
Schon̈ox’s new Renotex 3D System is designed to exceed the material standards of new and remodeling projects. This versatile and customizable system combines Renotex 3D, a sound and insulation sheet, Schon̈ox RS 50 foam tape and Schon̈ox AP Rapid Plus to provide a fast and cost-effective subfloor renovation system.

First, the sound and insulation sheet is cut to size and loosely laid, sheet to sheet, on the wooden substrate. The high density of this underlayment allows for walkability at any time. Any gaps around the perimeter should be closed adhering the RS 50 foam tape to any vertical structure. The Schon̈ox Renotex 3D reinforcement fabric is then cut to shape and flattened lengthwise to overlap approximately 2 inches. Finally, the Schon̈ox AP Rapid Plus self-leveling compound is poured. The system cures in as little as 24 hours to a completely decoupled, floating and self-bearing system.

MAPEI – Polyplan RSL Rapid Self-Leveler
Polyplan RSL is a two-part self-leveling compound. It is provided in a 30 lb. bag of powder and a 1-gallon bag of liquid latex. Due to this configuration, no on-site water is needed other than wash water, and the compound cannot be over or under watered.

Polyplan RSL does not require the use of a primer over non-porous substrates, making it a time saver for installers. It also has a very fast cure time and is ready for the installation of vinyl flooring three hours after application.

“We chose to put Part B of Polyplan RSL in a plastic bag rather than 1-gallon plastic jug,” explained Jeff Johnson, FCIS product manager. “The reason being if you are using Polyplan RSL on a job of any size you would have a mountain of gallon jugs to get rid of. By using a plastic bag, you will reduce the volume of waste generated and it is actually less plastic by weight as compared to a plastic jug.”

Sika – Sika Level-425
Sika Level-425 is a dust-reduced, high-flow, high-strength self-leveler. Sika Level-425’s dust-reduced technology allows for a clean installation in areas such as medical facilities, libraries, domestic properties, industrial environments and cafeterias. It is a very low-shrinkage, smooth self-leveler that allows most floor coverings to be installed in as little as 16 hours. Apply Sika Level-425 from as little as 1⁄16-inch up to 1⁄2-inch.