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MAPEI Tech Talk is a blog devoted to the flooring and construction industry. It is updated on a regular basis by the social media team at MAPEI Americas, and it will feature guest bloggers occasionally as we provide you with viewpoints from across the industry.
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Denise Hibson brings 24 years of experience in the tile, stone, and installation products industry to MAPEI.
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February 27, 2018 - 16.35
Take it to the Next Level! - New MAPEI Self-Levelers
by Denise Hibson
Workers installing a MAPEI self-leveling underlayment
Are you in a hurry? Self-levelers can be your best option for leveling an existing floor.  While the specific details on the history of self-levelers are somewhat foggy, we know that the term ‘self-leveler’ was officially coined in the United States in 1978. Prior to this time, floor repairs and flattening were typically done with job-site prepared cement patches or mudbeds, both of which are labor intensive over larger areas. With the introduction of plywood in 4’x8’ sheets as a general building material in 1928, the way buildings were being constructed changed dramatically. Meanwhile, concrete was being installed faster and faster with less emphasis on flatness.  Self-leveling underlayments can help with both of these situations.

Successful installation of a self-leveling underlayment starts with surface preparation.  If leveling concrete, the existing concrete is typically profiled by either shot blasting or grinding. After profiling, surfaces need to be primed for increased adhesion, then the application of the self-leveler.    In addition to the information in this blog, see our MTI-TV segment on preparing a surface to receive a self-leveler:
Can you install self-levelers over exterior grade plywood or cement board? Yes, however, a wire lathe incorporated into the installation is highly recommended, like our Mapelath.  The term self-level is a little ambiguous. Even though the industry names these products self-levelers, the product must be aided in finding level with a gauge rake. Finishing is done by breaking the surface tension with a smoother. Self-leveling products vary in their composition, so the final choice is based on the intended outcome and jobsite conditions.  For more information on installing self-leveling underlayments, see our MTI-TV segment on the topic:
Two of our specialized self-levelers are Ultraplan® Quick Traffic and Ultraplan® Extreme 2.  Both are extremely fast-setting for quick turnaround. However, Ultraplan® Extreme 2 is formulated for leveling interior horizontal concrete surfaces where environmental controls are not operational or the building is not enclosed.

There is a MAPEI self-leveler for any installation requirement. To determine which self-leveler is right for your project, call our Product Support line at (800) 992-6273.
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