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My new basement workshop floor is concrete (duh) but there is a big pylon strut in the middle which holds up the house on a triple carrying beam. The base of the pylon was put down much further than the floor, of course, a few feet at least. But the top is not level with the floor, it’s about 1/4 shy of level, so before I put down (vinyl) tile I need to level it out.

Unfortunately my only experience with floor leveling compound is not a happy one. A contractor used it at our last house before laying a wood floor, and feathered it out nicely and all seemed well. A year or two later there was a definite “crunching” noise every time we walked over that spot and went realized the leveling compound had cracked like a stale Saltine cracker and was being mashed further every time we put weight on it. (Floor store that installed it now out of business, happy to report, since they had no solution and didn’t really seem to care at the time.)(

Anyway, I get that it’s just “pour and mix” but I’m afraid to try to “feather” it out to the edge as there is a slope down to meet the caisson level. I’m thinking maybe I should make a thin vertical slice and have the compound “butt” up against it rather than have thin edges which could crack?

Anyone with any experience using the stuff? Advice would be appreciated.

(I have to use vinyl tile; my other option is epoxy. There are 11 doors to the room or adjacent hallway and there is not enough height for anything thicker. Plus it’s a workshop so it can’t be carpet, shouldn’t be breakable porcelain tile, etc.)
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Will the compound be visible (and need to match the concrete)? If you plan to cover with tile, maybe not. Then spackling paste usually used to fill in wallboard for painting might work. Its soft when first applied, is easy to shape, and can be sanded smooth when needed. Thick layers can have shrinkage problem, but probably not an issue for 1/4".
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Hi pauleckler,

I would not use spackling compound under tile. It is not solid enough.

The adhesive would not stick well to it.

Spackling compound is more susceptable to moisture damage, losing all strength and breaking down when it dries.

I would look at the use of a bonding agent prior to putting down the leveling concrete. Also, see if it is available with strengthening fiber or if it can be added.

If you are going to have ceramic tile, using the leveling concrete may be unnecessary since the tile can be adjusted for level even if you have KERDI, DITRA or other underlayment.

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Goofy my data set is limited - 3 or 4 houses. The data points are houses whose concrete slabs were not sufficiently level to allow engineered flooring to be installed. The stuff the builder used was self leveling - so it flowed slowly - no feathering or trowel work needed. Maybe your unfortunate experience was the leveling product and/or its application.

YouTube has lots of videos showing application which is sufficiently time sensitive that it is not a one person operation in my opinion.
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You mentioned epoxy. I used epoxy in the utility area of my basement, it turned out great. Definitely not a DIY project IMO, but most places have pros who can do it if you look up “garage floor refinishing.”

That said, if I had it to do over, I would’ve just done a polished concrete finish, like you see in a lot of restaurants and some homes. At the time, the only company I could find to do that only did commercial properties, not residential.

Given your first choice is vinyl, can you use epoxy to level first?
(It could be DIY for such a small area.)

In another part of my basement, I carpeted. The floor dipped at the base of a steel pipe column, and I think the contractor used concrete to fill that in, although it might have been leveling compound. The edges where he feathered did chip off, so I vacuumed that up before the carpet went down. So, a bit of a seam instead of perfectly smooth, but not a problem under carpet.
Might be a problem under vinyl.

Also, no one’s going to walk on the floor that close to a column, so if/when it does dry and crack, it shouldn’t crunch.

Decades ago, a contractor used leveling compound on a plywood subfloor, under vinyl, in my kitchen. It was lumpy, so he had to remove it and do it over. Second time was fine. The kitchen table went over it, so I don’t know if it would’ve been a problem with people walking on it.
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Sounds like that broke up because it never really boned.. I would acid etch, then use a bonding agent in the depression, followed by the self leveling concrete mix.. A little more research for ya!

My 16x24 workshop concrete slab, we treated similarly, an acid wash, then an epoxy paint, a pale yellow, I wanted as much light as possible.. It's done well, but over the years, it has worn, but most of the space is covered by stuff, so hard to tell.. It went quick, had to stay off a couple days, let it really set up...

Have fun!
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