T.SALAMATIK / Shutterstock.

Whether you want a decorative concrete floor or plan on installing tile, wood, carpet, or another type of flooring, having a level concrete subfloor is important. Unlevel surfaces can create safety hazards, make furniture wobbly, and cause other issues. It can also be frustrating to have a floor with bumps, dips, or other imperfections. Read on to learn how to level a floor.

Find concrete floor contractors near me.

What Causes An Uneven Concrete Floor?

Several factors can cause an uneven concrete floor. When the concrete surface was poured, things like ambient temperature and even the humidity can affect the way it sets. The quality of the concrete mix can also affect the results. There may also be a more serious issue such as incorrectly placed floor joists.

How Do You Level an Uneven Floor?

If you’re interested in leveling your existing concrete surface, here’s a general outline for approaching the task:

  • Clean the surface, removing ceramic tile or materials such as wood, paint, or other flooring from the concrete subfloor. You’ll also want to remove any grease and oil spots.
  • Use an angle grinder or shot blaster on the concrete to completely clean the surface and create a smooth surface that your concrete leveling material will adhere to properly. This surface preparation step will create a lot of dust and debris, so be sure to wear proper face coverings.
  • Sweep off any loose debris and look for any leftover glue, grout, or the like that needs to be ground off the surface.
  • Look for high spots, dips, or sloping areas and use a level to find uneven spots that aren’t noticeable to the naked eye.
  • Mark areas that need to be leveled.
  • Use one of the following for leveling concrete floors (the one you should use depends on the severity of the uneven spots):
    • Concrete floor patch: A good fix for minor issues such as small dips or thin sloping repairs with a small surface area (it’s also used for fixing minor cracks).
    • Underlayment or self-leveling overlay: Best for larger areas, these acrylic-based products can be poured over a concrete slab. Unlike a regular concrete mix, a floor-leveling compound isn’t viscous, so it flows over a surface—filling in areas that slope or have dips.
      Note: Depending on the product you use, you may need to use a self-leveling primer. Be sure to follow all package instructions.
  • Allow to dry for the amount of time indicated on the concrete floor patch or concrete leveler compound package instructions, typically at least 24 hours.

Can You Pour Self-Leveling Concrete Over Existing Concrete?

Yes. You can pour self-leveling concrete over existing concrete, but before you do, you must prepare the surface properly by cleaning it thoroughly, so the concrete floor leveler compound adheres to your existing surface. See the section above, “How Do You Level an Uneven Concrete Floor?” for more information.

Can You Level a Floor Yourself?

While it’s possible to level a concrete floor yourself, you may want to consider hiring a professional contractor depending on your experience. Here are just a few reasons hiring a professional may be a better option than DIYing the job:

  • A professional can examine your floor to determine whether the uneven surface is something that can be resolved with patching or an underlayment or if there’s a more serious issue going on that needs to be addressed.
  • They already have the materials required to complete a floor-leveling job, so you won’t have to go out and buy or rent equipment that you won’t use again.
  • They know the common pitfalls that arise during a floor-leveling job and are equipped with the knowledge necessary to overcome those issues.
  • They are familiar with products available in the industry and can recommend the best option for your floor.

With all that in mind, if you do have the knowledge and tools necessary to complete the job, you may decide to take it on yourself. If that’s the case, price out the job and get a quote to determine which option is most cost effective.

How Much Does It Cost To Have a Concrete Floor Leveled?

If you decide to hire a professional to complete the job, the cost depends on a couple factors:

  • Size of your floor
  • Significance of sloping, mounding, dips, and other surface imperfections

On average, it can cost up to about $6 per square foot.

What is the Cheapest Way to Level a Floor: Hire a Professional or Do It Yourself?

It depends. If you have the knowledge and tools necessary to complete the job and feel confident in your abilities, it will most likely be less expensive to level your floor yourself. However, if you feel unsure about which products to use or need to rent or purchase the required tools, it could become more expensive than hiring a professional. Also, keep it mind that if you do it incorrectly, it will become a much more expensive project in the long run. Weigh all your options before deciding to DIY or hire a professional.

Watch These How-To Videos

Self-Leveling Overlays for Concrete Floors

Time: 01:16
Self-Leveling overlays are used for a variety of reasons including leveling an existing floor, providing a blank canvas for your color application, or installing a floor with a quick drying time.

How to Install Self Leveling Concrete Overlay

Time: 01:16
Tips on tile removal, mastic removal and concrete floor surface preparation

How to Grind Down High Spots to Reduce Self Leveling Floor Compounds on Concrete Floors

Time: 01:32
WerkMaster Concrete Grinders and Scabbler Tooling quickly remove high spots from concrete floors reducing the amount of self leveling compound required to re-mediate uneven concrete floors.

How to Pour a Self Leveling Polished Concrete Overlay

Time: 06:58
In this video Tim of Decorative Concrete of Virginia shows you how they installed a polished concrete overlay on their office floor.

Concrete Repair
Repairing Common Concrete Slab Problems

Find a Contractor By City