New basement bathroom - Bad concrete pour?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by JeffV, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Moving right along on my basement bath project, the last thing I thought I'd screw up was the concrete patch. - I'm not real sure what to do at this point, but I poured 14 bags of 80lb quickrete and one week later, the finished floor surface is rough and gritty. Anytime I walk on it I kick tiny particles of sand. If I sweep it w/ a push broom, cement dust kicks up into the air. I'm thinking I used too much water and/or finish-troughed it too much.

    My intent is to tile the bathroom and I don’t want to have bonding issues w/ the mortar down the road. Does anyone know of any products I might be able to put on it to fix the issue? Is the only fix for this to jackhammer it back out and re-pour?

    Any thoughts, comments, opinions appreciated…

    Thanks - Jeff
  2. BigBoschMan

    BigBoschMan New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    New York
    Are you good with a hand trowell?...If so,either do a drymix mortar bed before your tile project or use latex modified thinset to make a smooth surface for your tile.
  3. harleysilo

    harleysilo New Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Georgia
    Have you vaccumed it with a shop vac to get all the dust and sand etc. up? To ensure that it just not deteriorating each time you walk on it?
  4. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    A self-leveling mix might be the easiest route.
  5. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

    Messages:
    26
    I scrubbed the whole area yesterday w/a very coarse, hard brush (made for cleaning concrete) then took the shop-vac to it. That definitely seemed to make it better in the sense that there is not as much sandy, gritty substance coming off....but it still comes off it you drag your foot accross it while pressing down.

    There is definitely some good, hard surface that I think/hope something will adhere to. So are you thinking the latex modified thinset might bond to it OK?

    My surface is nice and level w/ the old floor so I don't think a floor-leveler would really work unless I was to take some of the new pour out or just do leveler over the whole floor, a 6x6 area...never used floor leveler...can I do areas that large?

    Jeff
  6. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    6x6 is a small area, and you can put it on in a very thin layer to save material cost.

    You could do a whole basement, but that can get pricy.
  7. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

    Messages:
    26
    That may be my best option then. No drywall or anything up at this point, just framing, so the bottom plate would make a good perimeter to run the leveler up to. Thanks for the reply.

    Jeff
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,237
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    concrete

    One problem could be that that concrete mix is often coarse. I often add some Portland to it to make a richer mix.
  9. just tile it

    Your initial description talked about a problem with dust and grit. I'm not there to see it, but I think that any thinset will stick to it. A latex additive is even better.

    If you are happy with the level-ness, you don't need to spend big money leveling it with Self-Leveling Cement (SLC).

    Nobody has ever posted about thinset not sticking. Just tile it.

    David
  10. GregO

    GregO Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Virginia
    thinset

    As long as the dust/sand/grit stops coming up, I agree that using a high-quality thinset should do very well. Actually, a coarse surface is ideal because it creates a far better mechanical bond.

    Greg
  11. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I had the same kind of problem when I made a new lid for my septic tank last summer, and in my own case, I believe a weak mix needing more portland, like hj said, was the cause. I would also say you will be just fine finishing it off with some thinset prior to tiling. Or, maybe something like Mapei's compatible "Planipatch" might be a little better if you have to fill 1/4" or more.
  12. patching mix

    yes, a patching mix (a cement product) or a grout mix (which is also a cement product) will be good.

    david
    edit: if you are not happy with the surface flatness or if you need to raise the height. Otherwise just tile it.
  13. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Thanks for all the suggestions. You all have been a great help.

    I do believe I can get away w/ just tiling over it. At minimum I may have to use the SLC to fill in a couple very small low areas in my pour.

    The sand/dust are definitely down to a minimum now and I'm thinking the thinset will bond to it w/o issue. I may even test a small section.

    This is truly a lesson learned. I'm just glad it was a small pour. Had I done anything more substantial or needed to have a smooth finish this could have been really ugly.

    Thanks again everyone - Jeff
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Use a long straightedge to determine the extent of the depressions you want ot fill. Thinset can be used up to about 1/4", and is cheaper. You can do it in layers if you let it cure inbetween, too. I'd consider that before I tried SLC (although I've used both). SLC has an extreemely short pot life...you mix it, pour it, and stand back and watch it harden. You have nearly no time to feather the edges, and unless you are covering the whole area so you don't have edges is tough, since determining exactly the right amount to fill in the bowl can be hard, and you have to use it all up and feather edges all in a few minutes. If you try to work SLC once it starts to cure, you will end up with a really big mess. It flows, but when it is thin, you need to move it around to wet the surface, otherwise surface tension will keep an edge; sort of like cold honey - the edge will have nearly a circular shape, not a feathered edge unless you spread it out.
  15. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    There are different grades of SackCrete or QuickCrete.

    The least expensive should not be used for any project that requires finishing. It has too much large stone, and too little sand and cement.

    Problems with concrete often arise from too much water and too little water.

    When it is mixed, the mix should be only as wet as necessary to place and finish it. It should stand in a pile. It should not run. When you are finishing it, you should float up enough fines (sand and cement) to get a smooth surface. If you get a puddle of water when you finish it, you used too much water.

    After it sets up and is not susceptible to being washed away, it shold be kept moist. The cement needs water to bind the molecules into what is called a hydrate. Too little moisture, as from low humidity in the winter, prevents curing of the surface.

    Concrete should never be allowed to freeze until it is fully cured; at least a couple of weeks.

    At this point, you probably need to scrub off the loose stuff and go with a tile set mix that may be used thick enough to give you the spacing that you need. http://www.tileusa.com/thinset-mortar_faq.htm#medmortar

    You are not likely to be able to "fix" the problem as good as you can do with a medium bed thinset.
  16. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

    Messages:
    26
    This is EXACTLY what happened in my situation...

    "...When you are finishing it, you should float up enough fines (sand and cement) to get a smooth surface. If you get a puddle of water when you finish it, you used too much water."

    At least I know what I did wrong. My only past experience w/ pouring concrete has been filling a hole in the ground for a deck footer - not a situation where the consistency seems to matter as much.

    Thanks for the thoughts and link for the medium bed mortar - that's exactly the approach I'm going to take in fixing this.

    Jeff
  17. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

    Messages:
    26
    I had taken pictures after I poured it and floated it. Incriminating evidence below. I think I could have gone for a swim! Yikes :eek:

    Attached Files:

  18. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Whew. I just had to come back here with a word of caution about that stuff, folks. The picture-directions clearly show a 25# bag being mixed into a gallon of water, yet the written instructions say not to mix more than you can put down in 8-10 minutes. Knowing I could spread the entire amount in five minutes or less, I mixed the entire bag only to have it kick during the extra minute I took to stick my drill-mixer in a bucket of water to do an initial cleaning. The happy ending to all of this, however, is that the big store then willingly took the empty bag back as "defective" over the matter of insufficient instructions and I was able to leave that still-steaming bucket right there in the cart at the service desk!

    That stuff must be some pretty good stuff if one can get it from the pot to the floor ...
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Most of those give very explicit instructions about how long you can take to mix it as well...remember that stuff starts to cure as soon as the water hits it - any delays and you'll have problems. Using warm water or being in a warm room will accelerate it, too.
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