How to Level a Floor with Dry Pack
Installing a tile floor in your home is a popular way to remodel a room and give it new life. One of the most important aspects of your new tile floor is actually what is hidden beneath it, the sub-floor. If the sub-floor is not completely level, the tile flooring will not sit properly and will be generally weakened, eventually causing the tiles to crack and break.
There are various methods used to level a floor for the purpose of installing tile flooring. Many do-it-yourselfers prefer to use a self-leveling compound (SLC) to level a floor, as it is the quickest and easiest method. However, the preferred method and the method used by professional tile installers like www.ProTileInstallers.ca, is to level the floor using dry pack cement.
The following is a brief guide to leveling a floor using dry pack:
The first step is to draw chalk lines on the walls that are perfectly level as a guide for placing the dry pack. You will need to plan for the height of doors and adjoining room floors as the dry pack and tile will add height to the existing floor. Depending on what the sub-floor is made of, you may need to spread a thin layer of self-leveling mortar to ensure that the dry pack bonds to the sub-floor correctly. Usually, for a concrete floor you will apply the dry pack directly.
For a wood floor you will need to lay roofing paper and wire mesh to form a protective barrier for the wood and ensure that it does not suffer from moisture damage. You will then apply the dry pack directly on the wire mesh. Wire mesh and dry pack together will ensure the strongest possible sub-floor and can be used with any existing flooring.
The next step is to mix the dry pack. Dry Pack consists of 1 part Portland Cement to 4 or 5 parts moist masonry sand. You will want to have the mixture malleable, not too runny or watery, so that you are able to squeeze the mixture into a ball in your hand.
Next you will apply the dry pack to the floor or wire mesh and firmly pack it, using a screed to spread it evenly to the chalk lines. Because the tile will be applied directly to the dry pack, it is imperative to keep the dry pack perfectly level. You will do this by using a 2×4 piece of wood (screed) as a guide to smooth the dry pack evenly across the floor, resulting in a perfectly level floor.
Allow the dry pack to dry for at least 24 hours before you begin to apply the tile. During this 24 hour period, and for up to a total of 72 hours, it is important that you do not place more than 200 lbs. of pressure on the dry pack as it will jeopardize its integrity and may cause it to crack. It will be fully dried within 72 hours.
Leveling a floor using wire mesh and dry pack is a skill that is best saved for experienced professionals. If you are in the Greater Toronto Area and would like ProTileInstallers.ca to level your floor, please contact us today at (416) 900-9183. We provide floor leveling and tile installation services for both homeowners and other contractors. We look forward to working with you soon!