The levelling of a sub-floor (the floor beneath your final floor covering), can be a nightmare for many. Not just in a diy context, but even for seasoned professionals. Often leaving people with the expensive option of using a levelling compound, which can be extremely tricky and if not done right, easy to fail (as I’ll explain later). Alternatively, messing around with packings etc. Sometimes we need a simple method that can be manipulated for as long as you like, will not set in the same way as a cementious material will, is cost effective, can be installed up to seven inches thick over pretty much any solid sub-floor, and WORKS!! Sound too good to be true? Well, read on…
Of course, you can gather from the title of this article, I’m talking about a system called ‘Eco Pearls‘. What are Eco-Pearls? Eco-Pearls are essentially a fine mixture a wood derived chippings. Such a simple idea, and oh so effective! If you’d like to skip my opinions, there’s a video showing the Eco-Pearls system in full flow.
Why are they so good?
I’m going to purposely avoid marketing fluff here and talk to you from the point of view as a floor installer.
One of the main reasons they’re so good is the lack of drying time. When we compare eco-pearls to its wet cementious counterpart (you may know this as a ‘self – levelling compound‘), you should know that with any compound there is a certain drying time required after it’s installed. The length of drying time is often proportionate to the depth applied. With Eco-Pearls, there’s no mixing, no water involved, what comes out of the bag is the finished and dry product. This may sound pretty trivial, but trust me, waiting for a wet compound to dry can take a surprisingly long time. Add that to the fact that compounds can often look dry but can be secretly harboring moisture at its core, ready to destroy your new floor covering, Eco-Pearls are a re-assuring dream for anyone installing a floor.
The series of pictures below show a recent installation of Eco-Pearls on one of our projects. The floor covering was Quick-Step Impressive laminate flooring. The installation of the laminate flooring was done at 45 degrees to the room, however, the installation can be carried out in any direction.
There are two advantages to Eco-Pearls not being classed as permanent. The first being that, as mentioned above, they don’t set solid. Therefore, you’re not on a frantic time limit to work with them once they’ve been poured on the floor. Take as long as you wish to play around and get them exactly where you want. Put too much down and left with high spots, simply remove it, whenever you want. Put to little down and left with low spots, simply add more, whenever you want! Doesn’t that sound like the most stress free system you’ve ever heard of??!!
The second advantage is they aren’t stuck down. Should you need or wish to remove them, due to another floor covering being installed that requires more extensive preparation perhaps i.e. Ceramic Tiles, well, simply scoop them up. No hacking, hammering, grinding, chiseling. Try scooping up a well set compound or plyboard that’s been nailed/screwed. Trust me, they don’t scoop very well!!
Problem uneven sub-floors are a common issue for any floor installer and/or diy installer. It’s a fine rarity to find a sub-floor that’s perfectly flat or with no issues such as cracking or old adhesive residues that need removing. Eco-Pearls will remove any unevenness up to a massive seven inches!!! To try correcting that sort of deviation with anything but eco-pearls is complete folly.
I’ve decided to add a special sub-heading for Ashpalt as it’s such a common problem in many homes. Ashpalt is a floating system, which means it’s not bonded to the concrete beneath. It’s also often relatively thin, around an inch. These two latter points are a problem. They essentially mean that installing a standard wet mix levelling compound on top at a thickness of more than 6 mm can result in the Ashpalt lifting/popping/tenting/failing as the compound tightens up during the curing process.
When you consider that most Ashpalt floors have some deviations/unevenness (although they often look flat, this can be deceiving); with that fact and the above paragraph you can see where Eco-Pearls steps in to solve these problems.
What floor covering can go over Eco-Pearls?
Essentially, any floor coverings that are classed as ‘floating’. Used in conjunction with Jumpax, this system will accommodate sheet Vinyl, Vinyl Tiles (LVT), carpet (additional work would be required to accommodate the gripper rods should your particular carpet require them), laminate flooring, and engineered wood flooring.
Again, to compare Eco-Pearls to a self levelling compound, there is often a certain amount of preparation to the sub-floor that requires consideration prior to applying a self levelling compound. For example, the sub-floor may need grinding, sand blasting, scabbling, to remove old adhesive residues and general contaminants. Then the sub-floor may need priming to prevent suction issues and aid adhesion of the compound. Then there’s moisture to consider. Should the sub-floor be damp, then certain self levelling compounds will blow/fail/debond, often resulting in a failed floor covering.
All this is not required with Eco-Pearls. Simply place down an appropriate damp proof membrane (DPM sheet) when required, and pour in the Eco-Pearls. It really doesn’t get any easier!
Is this system an option for you?
Made your mind up?
Great system aye?! If this solves all your flooring issues, which it does have the habbit of doing, you can contact us here for a price. You can expect the Eco-Pearls system to cost around a third of the price compared to a typical self levelling compound..
*For full installation guidelines and product information, please click here.© Copyright 2016 Wes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Fitmywoodfloor