In recent years cement floors have become increasingly popular. This is due not only to their attractive appearance, but they are also very durable and require little maintenance in comparison to other flooring materials. Concrete floors are also extremely versatile. The cement can be textured, colored, or stamped and can also modified to resemble more expensive flooring materials such as granite. Laying a cement floor can be a challenge, but it can be done by avid do-it-yourselfers.
The most important part of successfully laying a cement floor is being prepared. Depending upon where you live, you may need a permit for pouring cement floors. It is always best to check with your local town to ensure you do your job legally and you meet local building codes. You also need to ensure that the subfloor you will be pouring cement on is sturdy enough to support the intense weight. You may need to reinforce floor joists to ensure they will hold the weight of the cement. You will also want to ensure that you have plenty of materials before starting. It is especially important to have enough concrete on hand to complete the entire job because various batches of cement can have slightly different compositions which can result in an uneven floor.
Before you start pouring your cement, you will need to build a base, and in most cases you will also need a form to hold the shape of the cement pad. The form is most often made from 2 X 6 inch boards. Once you’ve built your form you can start laying the base. The base is most often composed of sand, gravel, and a vapor barrier. The vapor barrier is designed to keep moisture out. Local building codes will dictate exactly what layers the base will need to be made up of.
Once your base and form are ready you can begin to carefully pour your cement. Often the floor is done in two layers. The bottom layer typically has more gravel to create a stronger base. The top layer is composed mostly of fine sand for a smooth finish. Do not pour the second layer until the first layer has dried completely. As the top layer of concrete dries, you will need to level the surface. This can be done using a straight edge. Once the floor is level and partially dry you will need to smooth the surface using a trowel.
Laying a cement floor is a project that is best to do with help. Because it is a challenging job, it is also best to know a professional whom you can contact should you need expert advice. With careful planning and preparation, a cement floor can be a beautiful and long-lasting addition to your home.