Q:  Just purchased 2nd story condo in three story 37 yr. old building.  Living room floor has a 2.5 ft. diameter x 1″ deep dip in it at middle of room, like a shallow bowl. Want to level and lay wood floor. What’s the best way to proceed?  All floors are a bit wavy but this is the worst by far.

A:  Hi.  Fortunately, this is a super-easy repair.  You’ll want to go to Lowe’s, Home Depot, or your nearest flooring supply or home improvement store and purchase what is called self-leveling compound.  This is a thick, slurry-like mixture that comes pre-mixed and wet (I would avoid the dry kind that needs mixing).

You pour the compound onto the depression in the flooring, and the compound will slowly settle into the depression.  It’s like pouring water into a pothole in the road, except this “water” will harden over the period of a few hours and become solid enough to walk on.  They call it “self-leveling” because you just pour it in and it does the work; you don’t need to smooth it out, as you may have seen people do with concrete.

After the compound has hardened, you can lay the wood flooring or an underlayment.

Coincidentally, I recently discussed the topic of self-leveling compound in my other site, About Home Renovations.

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