Installing Self-Leveling Concrete In The Master Bathroom

Another milestone is complete in the ongoing (3.5 year) master bathroom project as the self-leveling concrete was installed on top of the radiant floor heating. The process wasn’t exactly what I expected and the results weren’t perfect but the floor did come out level.

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The manufacturer of the concrete product recommends not to install it when the heater is running and when the humidity is low otherwise cracking could occur. That meant I needed to wait until summer when the heater didn’t need to run and the evaporative cooler could be running. I didn’t need the cooler, it was installed on one of the rainiest days of May and the humidity in the house was over 75%.

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Prior to pouring the concrete I made a riser out of aluminum flashing to extend the height of the air duct in the bathroom. I held the riser in with some cardboard and sealed it to the old duct with some concrete sealant. I did the same for the area around the toilet.

The entire house has an expansion joint around the perimeter and one wall of the bathroom has part of this expansion joint. The self-leveling concrete cannot go into the expansion joint or bridge it or it will crack. I sealed the joint with concrete caulking and put foam under the drywall so it sticks out over the joint.

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I had scheduled 3 friends to come over to help (although only two showed up), one who had worked with self-leveling concrete before. It takes at least three people: 1 to mike the concrete with the drill, 1 to pour water and concrete into the 5 gallon bucket and 1 to pour the floor. My $88 corded Dewalt drill had a tough time with the concrete mixture. Luckily I had an old heavy duty single speed craftsmen drill that tore through the concrete without a single complaint.

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The only problem we found during the pourig of the floor is there wasn’t enough water in the concrete and it wasn’t quite liquid enough. This made some rough spots where the different pours came together. it work in our advantage since one area where I had sealed the expansion joint gave in and started filling with self-leveling concrete and I completely missed a small crack in the concrete slab near another wall. The self-leveling concrete set too quickly for this to impact the level of the floor. Had it been more liquid the entire floor could have drained down these cracks.

It took four bags of self-leveling concrete and I ended up with a 3/4 inch floor, I will have to recheck my calculations as I expected a 1/2 floor. It cost about $50 in supplies and a few beers.

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I was a bit hesitant about doing this pour myself and considered hiring someone. I’m glad I did this small area first and I’m confident I can do the master bathroom with enough people. I may have to have a pour-party and get about 10 people together to have a constant flow of self-leveling concrete then bar-b-que when we’re done. I had meant to take more pictures but I was too busy working on the project, the pictures I did take can be viewed on flickr.

The next step is to install the Schulter Kerdi waterproofing material and to finish up the shower stall before laying tile. This will be a non traditional installation of a shower floor. I’m not sure if I will start this during the summer as I plan to spend my time working on outdoor projects as much as I can.

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Master Bathroom Remodel: Drywall Installed

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I’m a few weeks late on posting this. I really haven’t had the time to sit down and right a proper entry until now. The day that I never thought would come finally came, the dry wall is up in the master bath. There were times when I was demolishing the bathroom that I thought it would it would be a impossible task to finish it. It was such a mess and was going to cost so much money to put back together. This is a big milestone for me.

This was my first time installing drywall and I made a few mistakes. Apparently the top peice of drywall should go up first. I put the bottom peice up first which left me with a gap at the top. I also managed to to incorrectly measure every single protrusion through the wall and had to make all the holes in the drywall larger to adjust.

Next items to start working on are the flooring and the shower waterproofing. The Warmly Yours floor heating was very expenisve and cost me my budget for the next few months. The schluter kerdi product I plan to use for the shower stall will be pretty expensive so that purchase will have to wait. I will work with what I have but won’t be able to buy much therefore I don’t expect a lot of progress over the next month.

100,000 And Going Strong

My 4×4 Ford Ranger reached a milestone today when it reached a 100,000 miles. I’m happy to say I’m the original owner, purchasing it new in 1996 (it’s a 1997 model) with something like 27 miles on it.

It’s been a good truck, disproving to me that american cars can be well built. It’s not without out it’s share of problems. For the last few years I’ve had a terrible vibration in the vehicle. I’ve taken it to Don Chalmers Ford who diagnosed it with need tires and shocks. I agree that tires can cause some bad issues with it but they weren’t the problems I was having. I could tell it was a front end problem especially since there was sever cupping in the front tires. I finally took it to Bob Turners who correctly diagnosed with needing front new springs. They weren’t even able to properly align it, it’s strange that Don Chalmers didn’t figure that out, even though they charged me $90 for a vibration analysis.

I’ve not heard of spring going bad, but since they have replaced them the tires wear properly and it rides a thousand percent better. Perhaps more people need them and don’t realize it.

I’m experiencing a breaking problem and I suspect the front right (and maybe left) rotors are warped and need replaced. It will be the first time that any such work as been done on this vehicle. Meanwhile my coworkers are telling me how their brand new Nissan need rotors right after they bought it. Other than that there’s been a few minor things, some emissions related thing need replaced a few months ago and some and a few issues with a electronic 4 wheel drive switch.

The engine runs as strong as it did the day I bought it. It doesn’t leak anything or burn anything it’s not suppose to. And the gas mileage is about 15 mpg, not great but near what it did when I got it (and not bad for a 4×4). Thanks Dad for showing me how to take proper care of a vehicle. With luck, I will have it for another 100,000 miles!