Repairing Cracked and Crumbling Gypcrete Floors

For soundproofing and radiant floor heating, contractors use gypcrete flooring. Gypcrete contains cement, sand and gypsum. It is typically used as a subfloor, with another type of flooring, such as hardwood or tile, over the top of the gypcrete. Over time, gypcrete will begin to crack and crumble from regular use. The gypcrete can be repaired, but it may be a challenging project for a do-it-yourselfer.

Material Needed

When repairing cracked or crumbling gypcrete flooring, you must remove any tack strips or nails from the floor. A floor-leveling product fills in any gaps or cracks in the gypcrete and creates a smooth surface. The floor leveler comes in a powdered form that you mix with a small amount of water. Hydraulic cement or mortar works equally well at repairing the old gypcrete. Hydraulic cement dries faster than mortar, and it is sold in different amounts, depending on whether you are doing minor repairs or restoring a major section of the gypcrete flooring.

Repairing the Damage

Repairing the gypcrete involves sweeping away any dust caused by the crumbling material. Once you have a clean surface, apply the floor-leveling product or mortar to the damaged areas. Remove the excess product by scraping a flat-sided trowel across the surface. This will leave a smooth surface behind. The floor leveler fills in the cracks on the floor and reduces the crumbling texture of the gypcrete. Installing plywood or something similar will cover the gypcrete and create an even floor.

Considerations

According to the eConnect Newsletter, you can install a gypcrete floor only if you have a license. Licenses are only given to applicants with experience working with the floors, such as contractors and building professionals. If the gypcrete flooring requires a significant overhaul or has a large amount of damage, you need professional help. Gypcrete typically sits between layers of concrete subflooring and a top flooring material. Accessing the gypcrete layer requires removal of the top flooring material.

Warning

You might notice the gypcrete problems when installing new flooring. Ceramic tiles, for example, can tear away pieces of the gypcrete as you remove the tiles from the floor. Hiring a professional for a large job like this is mandatory because the fire codes state that the new flooring material must be equal to the old flooring material. A flooring professional lays fresh gypcrete on top of the existing flooring, focusing on the damaged areas, and blends the two flooring materials together.