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We have a small area of concrete foundation that we need to patch and level prior to ceramic tile installation (12×12 tiles). It is concrete that we chipped the old tile mortar off of, so there are some places where there are small holes and there are some uneven places. I’m trying to determine which Mapei product we need to use. It is a small job and the whole floor doesn’t need leveling, so we don’t want to spend a fortune on large bags of things and expensive additives, so I’m trying to find the most economical option that will work for us. I’ve look at Self-leveling compound and Planipatch, but as far as I can tell they both require liquid additives. What would be the best choice for our situation?

These are the products I’ve looked at so far:
MAPEI 50 Lb. Self Leveler Surface Preparation
MAPEI 25 Lb. Floor Patch and Leveler

Would the same mortar we plan to use to put down the tile be acceptable to use for filling things in and smoothing them out?

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Can you add a pic of some of the problem spots? Post a link, and we can edit it into your question. Small holes, like a dimple where a concrete nail was pulled can be filled with the thinset when you lay the tile. High spots that are made of excess concrete splatter, can be chiselled off. –  Chris Cudmore May 16 '13 at 16:28
    
Just link to them in a comment, we'll edit them in. –  Chris Cudmore May 17 '13 at 13:16
    
You could email them to me. Email in my profile. –  Chris Cudmore May 17 '13 at 13:18
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2 Answers

If you only have chips and small holes to fix, the floor patch and leveler will be a sufficient and cheaper.

If the holes are minor ( < 1/2" deep and < 1" in diameter), skim coating the area with your thinset and then pulling the notched trowel will safely allow you to bridge with 12x12 tiles.

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I agree with @Herr. I have tiled many bathrooms that had floors that were concrete. While removing the old tile I would chips or make a few small divots in the concrete. I use the same thinset I would use for laying the tiles and just skimcoat the entire area. This should add about 1/8 inch to the floor. You really have to take your time skimcoating because if you have "lines" that stick up you will have to chisel/sand them out. It isn't about being level - it is about being flat. –  DMoore May 16 '13 at 16:53
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I think you can get away with thinset here. In the big one, you may want to patch one day, and lay the tile the next, giving the filler thinset time to harden. I'd also try to layout the tile in such a way that you don't end up with a corner or edge right over the patch on the large hole.

Keep in mind that the floor doesn't have to be level, just smooth. That is, it needs to be free of bumps.

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