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first and foremost thanks for the help :)

I am in the process of redoing my porch and I have hit a road bump along the way. I am planning on laying real thick stone (as seen here) on the porch floor.

I was going to attempt the job my self when I realized that the porch is not level. Its not sloping away from the house, its more "level and slopes toward the house" Nothing crazy and it varies about .25 - .5 of a inch). This needs to be fixed as the porch should slighty slope away from the house.

After talking to a few contractors I was basically given the following advice:

  • Use a self leveling concrete then backbutter with mortar so it slopes away from the house.
  • Back butter the mortar (i.e: when laying the stone use the mortar to make up for dips in certain area) and ensure it slopes away. (So do NOT use self leveling conrete, just use extra mortar as needed)

Any advice would help :) Thanks everyone

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    Generally speaking, and porch should have a slope to it, to make rain or a wash down with water move away from it and the house also. With that in mind, are your intermittent "leveling problems" in different places actually where any water should be running off ? Sorry for my confusion, but please don't make any concrete patio or slab structure "level"...Unless it's a sidewalk 🤔 – Retired Electrician Aug 28 at 23:59
  • Unfortunately it doesn’t slope away from the house. I was thinking of using the back-buttering technique to “level it away” from the house. I will update my question to be more clear, but what I was ultimately asking was: can I backbutter to slope away from the house (even though it’s not level and not sloping in anyway) or should I self level first then use mortar to achieve the slope. – Andrew Montgomery Aug 29 at 16:15
  • I updated my question to be more accurate / clear – Andrew Montgomery Aug 29 at 16:27
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I like it and it should get rid of that trip hazard door threshold. I'd stay away from the self-leveling anything and you don't want nor should now have level anyway. As you said, you just want to bring the dips up.

Self-leveling concrete/cement would destroy the porch's pitch for water to run away from the house. You just want Flat, which is not the same thing as level...like a stairway handrail is flat, but not level.

Also, new cement doesn't really stick to old with much strength, so either way, you'll need Bonding Agent if you plan on a full-bed mortar job. Since, you don't want things shifting and you don't want people sliding off an edge of loose stone. Yep, I've been to quite a few places that just laid stuff naked or on a sand bed.

I'd go with Type-S mortar and just back buttering for the deep areas, as it's hard as the stone and much better at standing up to weather. Type-N is what a lot of people use, but I've found it to crack easily and even crumble back to a sand quite quickly at a number of places I've visited.

  • Thanks this works for me! I am going to just use extra mortar in areas where it's un-level. So basically as I am laying the stone Ill have to make sure everything is level (from left to right) and ensure I am maintaining the slope (i.e: water will run "away" from the house). I wasn't sure if having "extra" mortar in certain dips would eventually crack over time. But it sounds like I can get away with it. Thank you :) – Andrew Montgomery Aug 29 at 16:34
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    Yep, keep the pitch going out and stay level side to side. But nope, no problem on having heavy spots of mortar, even if they're large. Actually, the thicker the better as far as cement is concerned. Just don't walk on it for a couple of days and you'll have it the way you left it for a very long time. – Iggy Aug 29 at 22:21
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You can get away with back buttering if you don't have a lot of areas where the porch is not level. Get a long, straight 2x4 and slide it all over the porch and determine where the high and low spots are and mark them on the floor. Your first tiles have to be set at the highest spot. Make sure they're tilted just enough to allow the rain water to run off. Then work out from there making sure the rest of the tile are even with those first ones. good luck

  • thank you - that is the approach I will take – Andrew Montgomery Aug 29 at 16:35

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