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Is Self-Leveling Concrete Good?: 6 Things That Go Wrong

pouring self-leveling concrete

If you spot a few sections of concrete in your slab floors that don’t match up, you’re not alone. Uneven concrete is common in many homes, but it can quickly turn into an ugly safety hazard.

That makes prompt repair all the more important. But it needs to be done the right way. Many homeowners opt for supposed quick and easy fixes, including self-leveling concrete. While it may work in the short term, this is not a lasting solution. So many factors are at play, and several things can go wrong.

Learn why self-leveling concrete is not the solution for reliable concrete lifting, leveling, or repair and how local professionals can help you create a safer living environment.

What Is Self-Leveling Concrete?

raking poured concrete

Self-leveling concrete is designed for ease of use, making it a popular choice for DIY projects. Made from polymer-modified cement, advancements have made it more user-friendly than ever. With its quicker drying time, minimal water requirements, and compatibility with various materials and finishes, DIY enthusiasts can achieve smooth, level surfaces when patching or resurfacing interior floors.

Although more expensive than traditional concrete, self-leveling products can be used for small-scale repairs and home improvement projects where structural reinforcement isn’t necessary. Once considered a specialty material, innovations have made self-leveling concrete accessible to homeowners looking to refresh their concrete floors affordably.

However, DIY repairs with self-leveling concrete can quickly become dangerous and costly if not done correctly. DIY mistakes are a common issue we encounter when inspecting homes that require concrete repair.

6 Things That Can Go Wrong with Self-Leveling Concrete

Before running out to a local big-box store and purchasing self-leveling concrete to fix your problematic slab floors, it’s important to know how to use the material and what can go wrong in the process.

1. Inadequate Site Preparation

If your slab floor is not clean, free of debris and other obstructions, or primed ahead of time, the self-leveling concrete may not bond properly.

2. Existing Moisture Issues

If there’s too much moisture in the area where you plan to apply self-leveling concrete, such as a basement, it will not cure properly and can contribute to additional problems and damage.

3. Improper Mixing

Adding too much or too little water to the premixed powder or liquid and not using proper mixing tools creates inconsistencies and lumps. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential.

4. Incorrect Pouring and Spreading

If you pour too much of the material in one area or do not use a smoothing tool, it will not distribute evenly or achieve the needed thickness.

5. Curing and Drying Issues

While self-leveling concrete may only take a few hours to dry (as opposed to a day or more with conventional cement), problems can arise during that time, including air bubbles and cracks.

6. Missing or Wrong Tools

For the process, you’ll need several tools and pieces of equipment, including a broom, mixing buckets, a gauge rake, a spiked roller or cleats, and primer. One misstep or missing tool can lead to a failed installation.

The moral of the story: avoid self-leveling concrete and DIY installations. While wanting to fix or enhance your home’s concrete on your own is admirable and understandable, there’s too much at stake. Instead, trust concrete leveling professionals serving your area for reliable, lasting results.

Professional Concrete Lifting: The Better Alternative

lifting an interior floor with PolyRenewalâ„¢

Whether you want to lift your slab foundation floor, concrete basement floor, or garage slab floor, it’s worth it to invest in concrete lifting and leveling from a seasoned pro like your local Groundworks company.

Along with the tools and training big-box store solutions can’t match, we have decades of experience addressing problematic concrete slabs and installing innovative and customized solutions to meet your needs.

Our state-of-the-art PolyRenewal™ system is a fast-acting, cost-effective, long-lasting approach. While some drilling is involved, only small holes are required to inject high-density polyurethane foam underneath the affected concrete slabs. The foam quickly hardens (completely cures within 15 minutes) to fill any voids, allowing for the precise lifting and leveling of the concrete.

We fill and smooth out the drilled holes, leaving no trace of concrete repair except for your level floor.


Common problem signs indicating that your concrete may need to be lifted and repaired include cracks, heaving or sinking areas, or visible gaps between slabs. Unevenness can cause safety concerns, such as tripping hazards, and can also negatively impact the aesthetics of your property.

The polyurethane foam injection method from Groundworks allows the surface to be used on the same day as the installation. The foam cures within 15 minutes. This is far more efficient than other methods like mudjacking, self-leveling concrete, or repouring, which can take hours or days to harden.

The costs of concrete lifting vary based on project-specific details like the size of the concrete area and the severity of the damage. PolyRenewal™ injections are cost-effective compared to complete slab replacement or DIY installations. Contact a local professional for a free concrete inspection and estimate.

Contact Groundworks for Concrete Lifting & Leveling Near You!

Groundworks inspector talking with a homeowner

An uneven concrete floor is unsightly and unsafe for you and your family. Don’t put off its repair or waste time and money on temporary solutions like self-leveling concrete. Ensure your concrete floors remain in stable condition with trusted professional concrete leveling from Groundworks.

Our teams know how frustrating it can be to deal with concrete problems, but you can benefit from our expertise and personalized, lasting repairs. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and repair estimate and take the first step toward a safer living environment.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

Disclaimer: “Concrete leveling” means the process by which cracked, uneven concrete is stabilized, and in many cases lifted, by means of PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam. Groundworks does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make your concrete perfectly level.