We want to finish our (currently unfinished) 800 sqft basement. The current floor is concrete, in good condition, but slopes substantially toward a drain near the middle of the floor. I'd guess the difference between the high and low points is about 2-3 inches.

We are planning on hiring a pro to do this work, but all the companies I've reached out to say they don't do this kind of work. Self-leveling concrete would be very expensive for this volume. Another option would be laying a wood subfloor over sleepers or something, but we want to keep as much of the height in the basement as we can. I've seen some suggestions to use deck mud, but can't find much info.

What's the best option for leveling the floor so we can lay vinyl flooring over it, and what kind of contractor should I be looking for?

  • 1
    Have you considered roughly leveling it out with normal concrete, then once it is close then use self-leveling concrete?
    – cutrightjm
    May 2, 2018 at 17:59
  • That's something I've considered, but I don't know if it's the appropriate course of action. Not sure if there's concern in terms of the layers bonding together.
    – BasementQ
    May 2, 2018 at 18:05
  • What is the maximum height change across the floor? How much thickness are you willing to add to high part of the floor?
    – virtualxtc
    May 2, 2018 at 18:45
  • 6
    If you can leave it sloped you'll be glad if it ever floods down there. Sheet vinyl can still be installed on the sloped floor
    – freshop
    May 2, 2018 at 18:46
  • Just been looking at leveling our kitchen floor and found this on youtube, not sure if it will be of any help: youtube.com/watch?v=diDVtXpAcLg
    – 5202456
    May 3, 2018 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


Option 1: As cutrightjm mentioned you could use a cheaper cement below the self-leveling cement. This might be the slimmest option, but I personally won't trust multiple thin layers of concrete not to crack and breakup due to their differences in thermal expansion. If you choose this route, do your homework on the expansion properties vs your existing foundation.

Option 2: If you are willing to add 3-4" of cement to the highest point of your floor, you could just repour right over the top of your existing floor and then refinish it so it's level. This would likely be the easiest job to contract out.

Option 3: The easiest method would be to use a moisture locking floating subfloor such as DRIcore.
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Such a subfloor can be shimmed to be level, and DRIcore even sells a leveling kit.

Option 4A: The most inexpensive route would be to attach GC (ground contact) treated strapping to the floor to act as joists and install a plywood subfloor over the top of it. You can shim the joists with composite shims, or cut the joists to slope. For this you'd likely want your strapping to be at least 3/4 thick at the high point of your floor so you have something to screw into.

Option 4B: Similarly, if you are worried about moisture problems and want to reduce the floor height, you could use cement board instead of plywood. Cement board could be attached directly or shimmed to your floor at the high points. After it's screwed down you could level out any small imperfections between panels with some that you could level out any small imperfections with thin-set.

  • Thank you, this is incredibly helpful. I'm waiting on a laser level so we can get an accurate measurement of the slope, but I'm guessing it's about two inches, and it's gradual over the whole basement, so not just one spot that needs to be raised up. Your response gives us a number of avenues to pursue, so thanks again.
    – BasementQ
    May 2, 2018 at 21:41
  • 2
    I don't think cement board would hold up, if it wasn't completely supported.
    – Tester101
    May 3, 2018 at 11:16
  • That's an interesting point - I only brought up cement board because a realtor had once recommended it to me.
    – virtualxtc
    May 3, 2018 at 17:09

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