Removing Self-Levelling Compound

Can you Remove Self Leveling Compound?

You might be wondering if it’s worth removing self-levelling compound once it has cured. With enough elbow grease, anything can be removed, so the answer is Yes. In this article, I will give you all the information you need to determine if removing the self-levelling compound is right for your situation.

I am assuming you are here because you have poured yourself levelling compound and you are not happy with the result. The best thing you can do is to grind down any of the high spots or ridges. Then you can do a thin pour to give yourself a smooth finish.

Self-Levelling Compound is very good at sticking to the substrate material so it is very difficult to remove. It binds so well to concrete that it is likely to bring the concrete up as you try and remove it.

The only reasons I would remove the self-levelling compound are if I needed to get the floor level lower or if the self-levelling compound had not adhered to the substrate properly.

Removing the self-levelling compound would require an SDS drill with a chisel attachment and you would have to go to town chipping it all up. You would then need to bag it all up and dispose of all the old self-levelling compound.

In most cases, the best thing to do is grind down the high spots and re-pour. It is rare that you will need to completely remove the old self-levelling compound. The best thing to do is to go over it. If you are still unsure about whether or not you can remove the self-levelling compound carry on reading for more detailed information.

If the self-levelling compound has adhered properly and if you don’t mind raising the floor level then just simply repour it. This eliminates the job of mechanically grinding it down, creating a load of dust and then cleaning it all up afterwards.

Reasons for removing self-levelling compound

Most of the time we try not to remove self-levelling compound because of how well it sticks. But, here are some common reasons where it might be appropriate to try and remove self-levelling compound:

  1. Poor application: If the old self-levelling compound was not applied correctly, it may have ridges and bumps on the surface. If you don’t want to raise the floor level by going over the top with a thin layer of self-levelling compound, it will need to be removed and replaced to achieve a smooth, level surface.
  2. Not adhered properly: If the self-levelling compound has not stuck down to the subfloor then it will need to be ripped up and replaced. Fortunately, the fact the self-levelling compound has not stuck down properly should make it a lot easier to replace. The main reason people don’t like removing self-levelling compound is because of how well it sticks down to the surface below.
  3. Maintaining the floor height: You may be worried about raising the finished floor level. In this case, the only option you have is to chip up the old self-levelling compound and start again. Most of the time a slightly raised floor is a small price to pay for a beautiful level one.
  4. Surface finish change: If the surface finish of the self-levelling compound is not to the desired standard, it may need to be removed and replaced with a different type of flooring.
  5. Remodelling: If a room is being remodelled, the self-levelling compound may need to be removed to allow for the installation of new flooring.
  6. Levelling issues: If the self-levelling compound has not been applied evenly or has started to sink in certain areas, it may need to be removed and reapplied to restore a level surface.

Removing Wet Self-Levelling Compound

I have included this at the start because if you are removing wet self-levelling compound time is of the essence.

Wiping off Self Levelling Compound
Wiping off Self Levelling Compound

When removing wet self-levelling compound, it is important to work quickly and efficiently as the self-levelling compound will be starting to set. Fortunately, If the compound has not fully cured, it can be removed relatively easily using a scraper or trowel.

Use a scraper over the surface of the self-levelling compound to bring up as much of the self-levelling compound as you can.

Wipe the excess self-levelling compound along the top edge of the bucket. The excess self-levelling compound will drop into the bucket, and the scraper should be clean enough to go again. Repeat the process until you have removed all the self-levelling compound.

After removing the self-levelling compound, clean the surface thoroughly with a damp cloth or a mop. Make sure to remove all dust and debris, as this will ensure a smooth, even surface for the new floor covering.

Removing wet self-levelling compound is a lot easier than removing dried self-levelling compound, but it is a messy process. Working quickly and efficiently, and taking the necessary safety precautions, will ensure the removal process goes as smoothly as possible.

If the wet self-levelling compound has started to dry, the process becomes more challenging. In such cases, chiselling it off might be your only option. This can be done with a hammer and chisel or an SDS drill with a chisel attachment. If you have a large area to do it could be worth hiring in some specialist equipment.

Removing Dry Self-Levelling Compound

The only way to remove dried self-levelling compound is by using a mechanical method, This can be as simple as using a lump hammer and cold chisel or by using an SDS Drill with a chisel attachment.

Breaking Up Self Levelling Compound
Breaking Up Self-Levelling Compound

As I have been unfortunate enough to have had to remove dried self-levelling compound on more than one occasion. I have prepared this step-by-step guide on how to remove dried self-levelling compound:

  1. Gather your equipment: You will need a hammer and chisel or an SDS drill with a chisel attachment. Wearing Protective gear, such as gloves and a mask are also advised.
  2. Chip away at the surface: Using an SDS drill carefully chip away the surface of the dried self-levelling compound. Take care to work slowly and steadily to avoid damaging the underlying surface as much as you can.
  3. Grind the surface: After chiselling up the old self-levelling compound you might still have some bits stuck to the surface. Get a diamond disk for your 115mm angle grinder and connect it up to some form of dust extraction. Now go over the surface grinding off any remaining bits of the self-levelling compound.
  4. Clean the surface: After removing the self-levelling compound, vacuum the surface thoroughly. Make sure to remove all dust and debris, and check that you are happy with the floor. If more grinding is required repeat the last two steps.

It’s important to note that the process of removing dried self-levelling compound is much more challenging than removing wet self-levelling compound. The floor grinder produces a lot of dust, so it is important to take the necessary safety precautions, such as wearing a mask and protective clothing, and ensuring that the work area is well-ventilated.

Removing dried self-levelling compound requires a certain level of skill and experience, as well as specialized equipment. However, with the right tools and a bit of patience, the process can be completed successfully and efficiently by anybody.

Sam Wood

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!

More Reading

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *