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Question posted - May 15 to May 21, 2016:

What is a self-leveling floor coating, and are there any published standards such coatings must meet in terms of smoothness or other visual properties?


Selected Answers

From john schultz of o-gee paint co on May 26, 2016:
A self-leveling floor coating will flow toward the nearest lowest point. Some can flow quite a distance if applied heavier than recommended. They generally will not "hang" on a tilted surface and will flow down off even very low slopes unless bodied with aggregates or mesh. Self-leveling coatings are as much at the mercy of the quality of the substrate as other finishes and will telegraph textures and variations in the surface quality. Effects such as marks from shot blasting, patching, joints and other features or insults will tend to be seen; but, depending on the thickness of the coating, they may be smoothed somewhat. If there is a standard, much must be figured into the substrate in the same manner that  drywall finish levels must be addressed.

From Joe Miller of NextGen Green Building Products, Inc. dba Direct2Contractors on May 25, 2016:
Yes, they are called self-leveling, but in fact they do not form a level surface. They form a smooth surface that follows the sub-floor upon which they are placed, making them parallel but not true level. If the sub-floor is not true level, the self-levelling floor coatings will not correct to true level. Normally, this is not much of a problem since floors are typically almost or nearly true level. They typically must meet building codes for this standard. A Class A floor is considered level if a straight-edge placed on it does not have gaps under it of less than  1/2 inch or so. But even then, the entire floor may be tilted or slanted in one or 2 directions. For floors in warehouses or manufacturing plants using robotic equipment to place or retrieve goods stored on very high shelves or racks, anything other than true flat and true level becomes a problem. For that reason the ACI standards for Level and Flat were created. Hope this helps. By the way true flat and true level are widely used here for sugar cane fields so that erosion does not occur in the fields. This is done using surveyors' laser equipment.

From Joe Miller of NextGen Green Building Products, Inc. dba Direct2Contractors on May 17, 2016:
As I recall, there is an ACI standard for floor flatness as well as floor levelness, but I do not think the method has been applied to floor coatings. The floor coatings that are generally called self-leveling should, in fact, be called self-smoothing. Even then, many require spiked rollers to become flowable once the rolling stops. Then they flow just fine and can produce a very smooth surface, even a shiny surface. Spiked rollers also allow any entrapped air bubbles to be released from the coatings. Self-leveling, cement-based floor underlayments also flow out quite well and can produce a flatter, more level surface that may cost less than a polymer-based floor coating; so one may also consider using the cement-based, self-leveler before placing the polymer-based self-leveler.

From Kumar Kolur Vadivelu of Sadara Chemical Company on May 16, 2016:
The floors are referred to as self-leveling since, upon application, the coating forms a smooth and level texture on the surface of the floor. In my knowledge I am not aware of any written standards to measure the smoothness or other visual property of self-leveling floor coatings.


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Tagged categories: Concrete floor coatings; Floor coatings; Floors


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