Q: I have a garage that has a pebble-finish concrete floor. Several of my large tools (table saw, etc.) on rollers do not easily roll on this surface. Is there some material that can be applied to this floor to make it smooth and that would hold up? - H.K., via e-mail
A: Howard Clark, licensed construction supervisor in Hopkinton, Mass., recommends looking into a family of engineered products designed for leveling existing subfloors. These "self-leveling" underlayments and toppings puddle in low spots on the slab and harden into a new, even plane. Designed to bond and have structural integrity at a feathered edge or when several inches thick, they're like silky-smooth cement without aggregate.
In this case, one of these materials could be poured over your pebbled surface to fill just the voids. Within two to four hours after application, you can walk on it. Large supply houses that serve commercial clients carry these products. Mr. Clark has used several leveling products manufactured by Ardex (www.ardex.com) that have performed well. If these products seem expensive, you might apply them only in the area where you use your rolling tools.
First, vacuum your garage well, then wash it, scrubbing oily spots with a cleaner designed for the purpose. Power washing, if practical, would be a good idea. Finally, paint the new surface with quality porch and deck paint about 72 hours after the product sets. The new surface is softer and more permeable than the original concrete, so a couple of coats of exterior-grade concrete sealing paint will help it wear better.
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CORRECTION A Fridge item about tablespoons, page 12, Oct. 13, should have specified that salt was being measured.
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