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How to level a floor (and kill a drill)Sunday, July 25, 2010
Ten 50-pound bags of Tamms self-leveling underlayment, purchased from Cava Building Supply, should hopefully provide us with enough to flatten out our 145 square feet of basement floor. Here are the bags, as well as our fancy corded drill with the new mixing paddle.

We set up a process where Taylor would measure out the water, Katherine would mix with the drill, then I would pour and smooth. Once poured, we're not supposed to walk on it for 48 hours. Okay, here we go!

Pouring the powder into a bucket full of water:

Mixing:

Pouring the mixture onto the floor:

Smoothing:

Seems like a decent workflow, and all was going well, until the drill fantastically self destructed after the fourth bag. The smoke and smell were truly disgusting, and I'm sure the inside of the drill is just a mess of melted plastic. Note to self: this was our only hammer drill, and I have need for one in a few days to introduce a dryer vent to our brick wall, so it's time to go shopping for a sturdy replacement.

Fortunately, I was able to jump over the portion of underlayment already poured to reach the front of the basement and grab the cordless drill, along with the spare battery (while I was there, I should have done something else, but you'll find out about that soon). With concerns about both the drill itself and battery life, we continued the process.

The cordless drill managed to last, and with ten bags we just completed the project, though it would have been nice to have one or two more bags...

Now, to bury the dead drill and clean up all the tools...

Here's a pair of comparisons from early this morning and after the pour.

Now, time to go inside and relax... but why is the microwave off, and why can't we turn on the lights in the kitchen (or our bedroom)? Uh oh - the drill strikes again! When it gave up the ghost, it must have traveled on down the line and popped the circuit breaker, just to get in the last word. Simple fix, you say... just flip the breaker in the electrical panel, right? Well it would be, if said panel wasn't in the front of the basement, which is basically off limits for 47.5 more hours!

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