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How long does self-levelling compound take to dry

If you lay your Self-levelling compound and leave it overnight it will be dry by the morning. Most manufacturers state that their products can be walked on in around 4 hours. I have found this to be true, but there is no right answer here, as it all depends on the Temperature, Relative humidity and to some degree the Absorbency of the subfloor.

Manufacturers will always overstate their claims. The only way to truly find out if it’s dry is to keep checking it.  Apply some pressure in a less prominent area, if it leaves an indentation it needs to dry a bit longer.  If it passes this test…

Use your foot to apply some light pressure to start. If you can apply your full body weight without leaving any indentation then you know the floor is dry enough to apply your floor covering.

How to speed up the drying time of self-levelling compound?

Disclaimer – If your floor covering dries too fast it can crack, this is very rare and you would really need to turn up the heat for this to happen. The natural way is always best, you can’t rush these things, but if you need to…

Here is how to do it!

Radiators

Self-levelling compound will dry faster in warmer environments if you can put the heating on then great. You can use a fan heater or storage heater but be careful not to just heat the floor in one spot. You want nice even heat across the floor covering so it all dries evenly.

Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers are incredible at dragging moisture out of the air. I am always amazed by how much water they collect when you come to empty the compartment. Considering they are about the size of a bread maker they can completely change the humidity of a room, lower relative humidity means much faster drying times. 

Fans

Go on, get some Fans! These operate on a similar principle to dehumidifiers apart from they don’t capture moisture. They move it away from the surface of the self-levelling compound so that water can evaporate faster.

Windows

Open a window? The jury is still out on this one…

if it is a nice warm sunny day get the window open to allow ventilation.

If it’s cold and wet outside keep the window shut and get an internal heat source inside the property and ideally team it up with a fan or dehumidifier. As we know warm windy conditions are the best for drying your laundry and your self-levelling compound.

Conclusion

I personally prefer dehumidifiers as they actually remove moisture in the air, rather than just blowing it around in the case of a fan. A dehumidifier condenses water vapour into a tray, so you can tip it down the sink and completely remove it from the property.

What is self levelling compound?

Self-levelling compound is also known as a floor screed or floor levelling mix. It is a thin layer of a cement-based mixture that is applied to subfloors in order to level out any bumps.

The mix is applied in a thin layer to subfloors such as concrete and floorboards, you use it before laying another floor, such as tile, above it.

It is called a self-levelling compound as it, in theory, self-levels. What this means is that you don’t have to worry about getting the mix perfectly level. It should flow across the floor, and correct any errors.

While this does generally work, there are limits. It doesn’t flow like water so will not perfectly level over a large area and may require a bit of help from you.

Why use self-levelling compound?

You use a self-levelling compound to turn a bumpy, un-even subfloor into a perfectly smooth surface. This is great when you are fitting a solid floor such as tile or wood.

Your floor wont be able to hide the bumps and just sit on them when you fit a rigid floor. Tiles will crack and break and a wood floor will bounce and move. Whereas a flooring like carpet will happily sit on an uneven base.

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