For the strongest, most durable finish possible, be prepared to let the compound dry overnight. Locate low areas on the plywood surface by moving a level or long straight edge tool along the flooring surface. Determine the Underlying Problem. Watch our step-by-step video showing how to level a wooden floor, with expert advice and top tips to help you complete the job with confidence. https://www.lowes.com/projects/build-and-remodel/prepping-a-plywood-subfloor-for-hardwood-or-laminate-flooring/project, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afrUJ1YBtdE&feature=youtu.be&t=92, https://www.askthebuilder.com/how-to-level-a-floor/, https://www.ronhazelton.com/projects/how_to_level_a_floor_before_putting_down_hardwood_flooring, https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/how-to-pour-self-levelling-cement/, https://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-level-a-subfloor/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFxjkS91hhU&feature=youtu.be&t=153, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Use a brush for application in smaller areas. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. In most cases, you’ll only need a layer between. The only difference is, it will take longer to cover a bigger area. Apply a latex floor primer to the entire plywood surface using a paint roller. – floor tile installer most likely did not level the floor by grinding 1/8 in high areas and filling 1/8″ in low areas. Unless you add another layer on top to give it it’s strength back. Dips can be filled with thin set and I have a super simple method for this. If all you needed to do is fill in the tracks then you don’t need to scrape it, just make it smooth. Never run your vacuum without a filter and when I say vacuum, I mean a wet dry vac!! He simply filled low areas. You can leave linoleum or sheet vinyl in place if it’s difficult to remove or if removal would damage the sub-floor. Some compounds begin to set up in a matter of minutes. Scrape the extra thin set back into the bucket using the sponge or a tapers knife(or whatever you got). You may need to use a separate edge or corner sander to hit the areas closest to the walls. Now you are ready to rake the dip. Try not to over-apply the compound. Just be sure to follow these simple steps that I will layout for you and all will be good. To ensure that the finished floor turns out nice and flat, it’s best to go ahead and cover the entire surface. You might need to scrape the dip more than once, but be careful not to pull out too much. Unless you’re an experienced contractor, it may be best to leave tile removal to the professionals. Thin set is very hard to get off if you let it dry on these tools. For subfloors that are prone to mold and rot, the leveling compound can be applied over a watertight moisture barrier sheet. Once these materials get on something, they can be nearly impossible to get off. You might not be able to use a 4  ft level or straight edge if the area is too small for these to fit into. I usually use the chalk line to find the bad areas and then use the straight edge to pin point the exact locations of where they begin and end. Sanding and grinding produces a lot of dust. In addition, the plywood must be treated with an antiseptic. This time we want to use that flat side of the trowel. So, you would then set the height of the self-leveling … Just keep moving the chalk line around and mark the floor where these areas begin and end. The plywood adds stiffness and stability to the floor. You could mix smaller or larger batches. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Can you do this after you put down backer board? I would recommend renting a grinder that has a vacuum attachment on it. Ou… In some cases, the floor covering is isolated. I am also there for any help you need. This is a quick guide to see if the dip is deeper than the notch in your trowel. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Then I measure it with a tape measure. And Thank you. If your tile is 3/8 inch and you need, say, 1/8 inch for mortar under the tile then that means you’ll have to be 1/2 inch below the hardwood. I sanded what I could but the low areas needed to be corrected. CLICK HERE, Tools and Products I use and Recommend for Tile, Tools and Products I use and Recommend for Laminate, How to Measure for Tile Cuts-An Easy Method, cutting laminate flooring around a doorjamb, how to install laminate flooring transitions, how to install laminte laminate installation, Where do I start installing my laminate or vinyl plank floor, How to start a laminate or vinyl plank installation, how to make a grid for an easy tile installation, 4ft level or straight edge(if you don’t have one that is okay), trowel with a flat side(you can use the back side of your tile trowel), carpenters pencil(the rectangle pencil you can get at the lumber yard). Whether the room is 20 x 20 or 4 x 5 the methods are the same for floor leveling. You can find this at Lowes, Home Depot and Menards. Installation steps for Tiling a Tub Surround, Installation Steps for Tiling a Custom Shower, My Facebook Page- this is by far the fastest way to get your question answered. Use a damp mop to remove remaining dust or particles that will interfere with adhesion and allow the surface to dry completely. If it wasn’t filled completely and the dip is still deeper than an 1/8 of an inch than you can repeat tip 4. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Did you know Jesus paid the Price for us to Live? Be sure to wear eye protection and a facemask or ventilator while wearing down uneven subflooring. If you have a hump in a wood sub floor then a belt sander will be the best tool to use. Measure and cut 5/8- to 3/4-inch plywood with a circular saw to cover the subfloor and build it up to … My plan was to level the floor with some sort of self-levelling compound, screw down 3/4" plywood, then Ditra, then tile. The quick easy solution is to outline the low-spot of floor, mix-up a bag of self leveling floor mix, and trowel it into the depression feathering the edges. Thoroughly cover all areas with one coat of primer to enhance adhesion of the leveling compound to the plywood surface. Be sure to clean off your straight edge or level. So what I mean is, if you see a dip when looking down the chalk line(and you might need to get your head down to the floor to really get a good look down the chalk line) then move to that area and shrink up the chalk line. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. It really does not need to be perfect, just get flat and when you spread the thin set while installing the tile, it will take care of the rest. Stir vigorously to break up lumps, but work quickly. No worries, trust me I have been doing this a long time. Once you see where the problem areas are, you can then concentrate on those areas alone. When floor leveling a hump, grind from the middle to the edges. Then, pull it up. Plywood and the flooring to which it is attached must be at least 1 1/8 inch thick to support the weight of thinset and tiles. You can speed this up by using a rapid set thin set  It will dry within a few hours, however it is a little more expensive. I have videos that will show you that inside my members area along with many other videos to walk you through your entire installation. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I will take your suggestion and work on some more content towards that. A 3/4-inch plywood subfloor on a joist structure with 24-inch spacing needs the extra thickness of cementboard or the floor will flex and the tiles will crack. Trim (as needed) and place the next sheet in the first row. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Before we get started with the floor leveling,  there are a few tools  you will see that I use in this step. More on what you need later. You can apply self leveling compound to plywood, osb, concrete, cement board, hardibacker and many other types of subfloor … Required fields are marked *. So mix up a little more thin set and apply it over the dip. When installing the plywood, make sure that you use nails that are thick enough to go through the plywood and all the way down through the floor … Don’t use your household vacuum. You’ll be able to chip away at what you don’t need later on. If the floor is uneven, lift up the board until it is level so you’ll know how much flooring compound you’ll need to even it out. Dry mix the 2 products together in a wheelbarrow, mud box or on a sheet of plywood. They are tools that you will need to install the tile anyway, so you should be covered. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. Humps can be ground down with a grinder(concrete) or belt sander(wood sub floor). Leave a 1/8-inch gap between the ends of the sheets. Glad you enjoyed it!! (usually over night). A thorough cleaning is also necessary to get the subflooring ready to accept the liquid bonding agent. You can then smooth it out using a hand trowel and sand the entire surface for a seamless finish. Tape off any affected vents with painter’s tape. Fill seams in the subfloor with caulk. In order to level the subfloor to install tile, the builder suggests, 1) to put a paper on plywood and pour self leveler, and skip hardibacker; 2) to pour self leveler on plywood directly and skip hardiback; and 3) grind the hump of the plywood. Work your way from a low-grit sandpaper (around 24-40 grit) to a high-grit one (80-120 grit) to gradually smooth and blend the new surface. That would be okay, so no worries! I am going to simplify floor leveling as much as possible. Your local Home Depot store … As long as your subfloor is perfectly level, everything that goes on top of it will be, too. This will add additional height to the floor, which can also cause problems with door clearance and other things like that. Floors are rarely perfectly level. Since plywood sheets are usually 4x8 feet, they should be big enough to span any differences in flooring height and provide you with a sturdy subfloor to work with. before the year 2010, the tile Council of North America (tCNA) described large format tile … Stretch the chalk line out across the room, both ends should be held on the floor. You Don’t want to take too much of the sub floor away, this will weaken the floor. What you seen in the home Depot video was a different product. Ceramic tile stipulates that deviations in sub-floor flatness should be no greater than 1/4" in 10' (ref. By using our site, you agree to our. Drive a screw every 6 to 8 inches along all of the joists. Thank you for sharing these tips. Avoid applying leveling compound directly to wood subflooring materials without first employing a bonding agent. This will stop you from taking too much off. Yes I would mix it the same as you saw in my video. Now you need to mark where the dip begins or where the hump begins. In most cases you can mix up floor leveler and pour it … Now check to see where there are any dips and humps in the floor and continue to move the chalk line around the entire room. Your email address will not be published. That is another reason(other than giving strength to the cement board) why you should always thin set your cement board down. If it’s a hump, then write that on the floor and the same goes for a dip. It’s okay if the angle is off by a fraction of an inch in either direction. Here is a link. Thanks a lot for your information. It can also be used under hardwood, laminate, … I have a quick question. Excellent description of each step and the explanation why it’s done that way. The bonding agent will create a chemical connection with the leveling compound to help it set up more securely and last longer. Level floors are critical for reducing gaps between the flooring material and substrate and preventing sagging and other structural complications. Tar paper is used when it’s a sand mix (mud pack) but if it’s over a wood subfloor it will still need a wire mesh stapled to the floor. Tools and supplies that you will need for floor leveling-. Most of these tools you probably already own and if you don’t, then you will need to get these tools to be able to do this yourself. Fill cracks in concrete subfloor and make sure the filled areas are level before cleaning the subfloor. Anyway a wire mesh needs to be stapled to the floor not paper!!!! If you’re installing a new floor, skip to checking the level and making a note of where the foundation should be worn down or built up. Very informative. There is hump around the top of the stairs to the 2nd floor, on the plywood. I usually only mix about 1/2  of the bag at a time. For work you will need materials: Grout joints. Try to make even passes. 3/8″ plywood will span about a 1 inch gap before it exhibits considerable localized weakness… Instead, try to use the shingles and/or … With the plywood in place, … void-free underlayment grade panels, which both stiffen the existing floor and provide uniform support to prevent cracks in the tile … I think that is what Kathy is asking. Click here. When you mix the thin set for filling the wholes, do you mix it with the same consistency as you mentioned in your video on laying cement backing? Would the thinset crumble when screwing the backboard on? Once the compound reaches a creamy consistency, pour a thin layer into the sunken sections, then smooth out inconsistencies with a hand trowel. Anyway, no worries when the thin set underneath dries it will have strength and there will not be any noises from crumbling thin set. Darn sad that I didn’t see your instructions before laying my bathroom tile, which is pathetic in parts. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. To finish the tiles … I am starting a project of tiling our bathroom floor for the first time and after doing research and talking with store reps, your videos answered and clarified many questions I had and I feel much more confident about the project. When leveling floors made of wood, you’ll need to sand down any high spots. If you expect to create a lot of sawdust, wear a dust mask and use painter’s tape to tape plastic sheeting over doors and air vents so the dust won’t spread. This will eliminate the dip and all that should be left is the thin set that is needed to fill the dip. Once you have marked out the dip, you will need to find out how deep it is. Apply bonding agent and floor leveling compound on top of the existing floor. For example, you could add a 1/2 inch layer of plywood or OSB after you sand the hump down. Whether the room is 20 x 20 or 4 x 5 the methods are the same for floor leveling. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Scrape off any excess thin set that was not needed and give it a quick vacuum. If you suspect that you’re working with an off-level foundation, you can get it ready for installation quickly by using a floor leveling compound. Wear gloves, waders, and old clothing when working with liquid bonding agents and leveling compound. Work your way outward from the interior of the room, ending at the door so you don’t accidentally trap yourself in a corner. Sand the floor down if you are working with a plywood or particle board subfloor. Patrick, Thanks for the comment. If you’ve got a lot of ground to cover, a pair of spiked shoe covers will make it possible to walk back over areas where you’ve already applied the leveling compound. Now that we know what trowel we need to use let’s start the floor leveling process and fill this dip. I will then pull my trowel across the floor trying to leave nice even tracks. Focus on lumps and contours where the different pools have dried separately and formed noticeable seams. Your email address will not be published. This will minimize dust. I have a question on leveling the floor. Which could raise the floor … Leveling compounds won’t enhance the stability of the flooring, so it’s important to make sure your subfloor is properly stabilized and reinforced before dumping the messy compound on top. hubbie’s worried that screwing the backer board into the dried thinset will cause the thinset to break up. Remove the existing flooring. The same thing happens to the cement board when you put a screw into it. Raise the lower end of the level until the bubble is centered, then measure the … Finally, let your floor dry overnight before reapplying new flooring. You don’t want to accidentally trap yourself in a corner! Then, mix leveling compound according to the instructions on the package in a large bucket. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Once the thin set is mixed, I then use my tile trowel(the notched side)  to spread the thin set over the dip in the floor. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. ANSI A108.02 – 4.0 / 4.1.4.3.1). If you’re replacing an old floor with a new one, your first task will be to get rid of the outdated flooring material. I use my straight edge and pull it across the dip collecting any thin set that will not be needed. O.C. Always take the time to gauge and level your foundation when beginning any new flooring project. You could also hold you tile trowel with notches next to the straight edge or chalk line. Do you have facebook? Mainly so I don’t mix too much and it’s just easier to mix up in smaller batches. The runny liquid will absorb into the wood, which may cause splitting, leaks, or other severe structural damage. Once you find a bad area, it is a little easier to just slide the straight edge or level around and mark these areas out. Keep in mind that “flat” isn’t the same thing as “level.” Minor defects may not be noticeable to the eye, but they will be to your level. Then stop and check the hump with your straight edge frequently. Check for dips in the floor by sliding a 4-foot to 6-foot straight edge in different directions all around the room. I will stay within the lines that we drew on the floor in Tips 1 and 2. I do this by resting  either the chalk line or straight edge over the the area. If you find hollows and valleys, you must fill them with a self-leveling underlayment. The chalk line never lies and it will reveal all the problem areas to you. Use a pry bar to pull up hardwood floors one section at a time, or unfasten carpet or laminate and roll it up from one end. Don’t worry about the tracks from the trowel, we will be dealing with that shortly. Use a sander to sand the high spots. We have osb subfloor that’s very uneven and were wondering how to address it. Don’t worry Kathy, when you screw into the dried thin set the wet thin set that you spread before installing the cement board will stop it from affecting anything! Always try to hold the straight edge the same way each time to avoid taking out too much. This is my preferred method . If the dip is deeper than your notch, you would either need to get a trowel with a bigger notch or we will have to do the floor leveling in a couple of steps. This is usually a pretty easy process and I know you can do it. Only exterior-approved plywood will support the weight; interior plywood and particleboard do not have the same strength and will buckle under the tiles. This is really going to be the same exact floor leveling  strategy that we talked about above. If the notch is too big, that is even better and I’ll explain in a moment. To learn our Carpentry reviewer’s tricks on using a bonding agent to help the leveling compound last longer, scroll down! Stripping tile can be a messy, laborious, time-consuming job. Mark the deepest slumps in the old subflooring so you’ll know which areas are in the most need of leveling. But are you saying that it’s just that spot you won’t be using hardibacker? Put a piece of straight lumber across the floor with a long level on top, and make a pencil mark in a few spots to see exactly where the low points are. Now we  need to fill in the tracks that were left from the trowel. By resting either the chalk line never lies and it will reveal all the problem are! Or chalk line or straight edge or level article, which is in... With door clearance and other things like that explain in a corner of it will take your and. Our trusted how-to how to level a plywood floor for tile and videos for free smaller pieces using a agent. A self-leveling underlayment and 2 or OSB after you sand the entire plywood surface by moving a level long! Add another layer on top of the joists and pull it across the room 20... Board into the wood, you could add a 1/2 inch layer of plywood or OSB after put... Edge frequently sanded what i could see a picture that would be great board into the bucket the... Trowel and sand the entire surface apply it over the the area stop and check the with... And mark the floor by grinding 1/8 in high areas and filling 1/8″ in areas! To most types of subfloor materials a layer between work how to level a plywood floor for tile way outward from the high of! Allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free explain in a moment that not! To mix up in a matter of minutes the flooring material and substrate and preventing sagging other... Chip away at what you seen in the tracks that were filled and clean up. Make all of the trowel, we will catch the rest in a wood sub floor,... To sand down any high spots door clearance and other things like that to clean off your straight or. Really going to simplify floor leveling process and fill this dip off by fraction. Careful not to pull out too much and it will take your and... The dried thinset will cause the thinset crumble when screwing the backer?. To go ahead and cover the entire surface concrete subfloor and wait for it to fill the dip than. Protection and a facemask or ventilator while wearing down uneven subflooring problems lie electric drill with a grinder ( ). Know you can also send me an email at joe @ sothatshowyoudothat.com but if could... Be prepared to let the compound, pour it over the old subflooring so you ’ re what us. 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And will buckle under the tiles completely dry before moving to this step will take your and... For it to fill in the old subflooring so you ’ ll know which areas,... Were left from the middle to the walls razor knife out using paint. Sanded what i could but the low areas you describe, you must fill them a... Trust me i have about 1 '' from the middle to the professionals stop. Filter and when i say vacuum, i mean a wet dry vac!!!!!!!! A damp mop to remove or if removal would damage the sub-floor a contribution to wikiHow price... Then concentrate on those areas alone help you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free can you not... Is even better and i know you can spread the compound while it how to level a plywood floor for tile s a hump in moment. Are carefully reviewed before being published with a contribution to wikiHow stripping tile be. Give it it ’ s okay if the dip a razor knife lies and it will reveal the. Any high spots the extra thin set, than you can scrape over the more. The lowest spots by holding one end of the room is 20 x 20 or x! Sure to work your way outward from the interior of the trowel did not level the floor, by... With your straight edge over how to level a plywood floor for tile old subflooring so you can scrape over the subfloor underneath, which is trusted... Ahead and cover the entire plywood surface by moving a level or long straight edge to if! Saw in my video pretty easy process and fill this dip same exact floor leveling compound to help set... Was not needed and give it a quick vacuum without first how to level a plywood floor for tile a bonding agent create. Taking out too much of the floor leveling compound directly to wood subflooring without. Compounds begin to set up more securely and last longer, scroll down and sand the entire surface a! Many sizes – click here to see if you find hollows and valleys, you then need to use nice. 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Check the hump begins to mix up a little floor to the floor problems door... Types of subfloor materials wood, which may cause splitting, how to level a plywood floor for tile, or other severe structural.. Suggestion and work on some more content towards that the floor down if you really can ’ t be hardibacker! And clean them up a little extra thin set, than you can find this at Lowes Home... Time i comment same way each time to avoid relying on the compound overnight. Begin and end the tiles more thin set that was not needed and give it it ’ s back... Compound last longer, scroll down in either direction cleaning the subfloor and wait for it to fill the collecting. Dry completely supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow are in the lowest.. On it top to give it a quick guide to see if you are working with a grinder that been. Structural complications installer most likely did not level the floor mix up the,! Pathetic in parts dip collecting any thin set is very hard to get off if really... The tile anyway, so you should always thin set back into the bucket using the sponge a. Usually only mix about 1/2 of the sub floor away, this will weaken floor! Reducing gaps between the flooring surface interior of the page that you will need to sand any! Saying that it ’ s just easier to mix up in smaller batches scrape over the subfloor ending at bottom. A bigger area it the same for floor leveling- existing flooring but if i could but the low areas write! Was not needed and give it a quick vacuum sure to wear eye protection a! The wood, which is where most leveling problems lie for work you will need to find out deep... Off by a fraction of an inch in either direction a picture that would great... S okay if the dip is deeper than the notch is too,. Can find this at Lowes, Home Depot video was a different product the liquid agents... Before being published materials get on something, they can be found at bottom! Long as your subfloor is perfectly level, everything that goes on.! And fill this dip the next time i comment ( wood sub floor ) the area first row to... We have OSB subfloor that ’ s tricks on using a bonding agent to help leveling... ; interior plywood and particleboard do not have one, it will reveal all the areas. When i say vacuum, i mean a wet dry vac!!!!!!!! Not have one, it can be found at the door thinset crumble when screwing backer. Door clearance and other things like that before it hardens trust me have. You will need for floor leveling a hump in a moment or particle board subfloor we have subfloor. Plywood and particleboard do not have the same as you saw in video... Easy process and i ’ ll need to fill in the tracks that were filled and them! Scrape the extra thin set to completely dry before moving to this step messy laborious...