Peter Wilson, Brand Manager with Setcrete, explains why high performance levelling compounds should be a ‘must stock product’ for merchants, offering higher margins alongside reduced stockholding.
When it comes to floor levelling compounds, it’s easy to think that it doesn’t matter which one you use as they all do the same job — smooth and level the floor. While that’s true, there are some subtle, but important, performance variations between different products. These include compatibility with certain substrates, whether they can be used in light or heavy duty applications, and the climatic conditions they can withstand.
This means that merchants need to stock a range of levelling compounds to be able to provide builders with the right product for their job. In some cases, certain specialist levelling compounds are a must, such as exterior grade compounds that can withstand extreme weather conditions for outdoor applications.
Otherwise, stocking products that perform to a high level in the majority of applications means merchants can reduce the number of product lines they need to stock, thereby optimising the shelf (or floor) space for that product sector, while maximising turnover of individual products.
The latest, advanced-formulation high performance levelling compounds fulfil this precise criterion, offering a product that is suitable for almost any subfloor and any interior application. They are incredibly popular amongst builders. Because of this, and being a premium product, they are also proving increasingly popular amongst merchants.
A key feature of these high performance levelling compounds is the inclusion of fibre reinforcement in their formulation, which offers a number of performance and application benefits. Acting like steel rods in reinforced concrete, the fibres hold the levelling compound together while allowing it to flex slightly when subject to loading. This capability enables it to be used over flexible subfloors, such as plywood, and accommodate small movements in the substrate without cracking.
Similarly, high performance levelling compounds are recommended for heavy-duty applications and for areas such as conservatories, which are subjected to sudden and wide fluctuations in temperature caused by solar gain. Again, the fibre formulation enables the levelling compound to maintain its integrity throughout repeated heating and cooling cycles such spaces experience.
What’s equally impressive about these high performance levelling compounds is their compatibility with virtually any subfloor material — both absorbent and non-absorbent. In addition to plywood and other flexible subfloors such as raised access panel flooring, these include sand/cement and concrete screeds, as well as granolithic, terrazzo, epoxy and polyurethane resins, and ceramic and quarry tiles.
As such, they can be used throughout the entire floor of a property, providing a uniform, unbroken subfloor finish that offers the perfect base for the installation of floor coverings to optimise the aesthetic appearance and the long-term performance of the floor.
Because of the versatility of high performance products, builders can confidently use them to smooth and level most floors in a building as well as applying them across different subfloor types. This makes the selection process simpler and doesn’t require them to purchase multiple types of levelling compound for a job. It also makes it easier to calculate the number of bags needed for the total floor areas, rather than breaking it down room by room. Using only one type of product also means waste is minimised.
With a setting time of only 1-2 hours at 20°C, before it is ‘walk on’ hard, leading high performance levelling compounds will be ready to receive a floorcovering after six hours, or after 12 hours if resilient floor coverings are being installed. In areas where a floor covering is not needed, the levelling compound can also be used as a wearing surface.
For merchants, stocking a high performance levelling compound in their range provides the opportunity to streamline the number of different products they need to hold to be able to offer builders the right product for their job.
Instead of needing three or four different product types for flexible substrates, cement screeds, heavy duty applications and conservatory floors, a single, high performance compound will offer an optimum solution for each and all situations. With the addition of a deep base and exterior option, and, possibly, a general purpose ‘latex’ — not to mention supplementing sales with a bottle or two of all-important primer — it’s a range to keep most builders happy.
Click here for more information on Setcrete’s range of high performance products.
A version of this article appeared in PBM’s June edition. Click here to read the full digital issue online.
Setcrete has unveiled a suite of product demonstration videos for its range of floor levelling compounds and complementary preparation products.
The online library features all of the products in the Setcrete range, including best-selling levelling compounds Setcrete High Performance, suitable for application over both concrete screeds and flexible substrates such as plywood; Deep Base, which can raise floor levels up to 50mm in a single application; and Rapid Set 30 that is ‘walk on hard’ from only 30 minutes after application and ready to receive floorcoverings after just two hours.
Each two-minute, downloadable video — available via www.setcrete.co.uk — explains the benefits of each product, where and how it can be used (e.g. interior/exterior, compatible substrates, depth of application), the preparation required and the correct application process to deliver a perfect result.