Gypcrete is a popular sub-flooring option in condos because it’s fire-resistant and soundproof. Unlike concrete floors, it’s lighter and easier to install.
These are more reasons why it’s commonly used in condos and apartments. However, as beneficial as a gypcrete subfloor is, it is vulnerable to cracking and other types of damage.
If you are currently dealing with damaged Gypcrete, here are some repair options you can explore.
How to Repair Gypcrete in a Condo?
If you have noticed that the gypcrete subfloor in your condo needs repair, you first need to assess the extent of the damage.
When a gypcrete subfloor starts to crack, it becomes chalky and soft. Eventually, the gypcrete crumbles into pieces, and there is a possibility of detaching completely from the floor beneath.
These are recommendations for the best repair methods for damaged gypcrete;
• Minor Gypcrete Damage
After your assessment, should you discover minimal damage on the gypcrete subfloor, you can repair it yourself. Kick off the repair by removing the current floor covering.
This is crucial as it gives you better access to the gypcrete subfloor. Proceed to remove any loose gypcrete that may have softened. This procedure is pretty dusty so you will need a dirt mask.
To clean loose gypcrete particles, you can use a broom and an air vacuum to remove the finer pieces of dust. Once the gypcrete is free of particles, you can apply a primer of your choice, such as the USG Duroc Fusion Primer, and let it cure.
The next product that should be used next is a floor patch. For those unfamiliar with floor patches, these products are formulated to fill in holes and cracks on subfloors such as concrete and gypcrete.
The best method of applying a floor patch is by using a trowel. Give it time to cure fully. The curing duration will depend on the product in question. After it dries, you can re-install your floor, which should be as good as new.
• Major Gypcrete Damage
Unfortunately, if the gypcrete in your condo is extensively damaged, a floor patch may not be an effective repair solution. The best repair method, in this case, would be to rip out the old gypcrete and replace it with a new subfloor.
This is not a DIY procedure. Therefore, it’s not something you and your buddies can do over the weekend. You will need to seek the services of a professional gypcrete installer.
Depending on the extent of the damage, sometimes sealing the subfloor with a self-leveling gypsum capping product can work. But this is a discussion you should have with an expert and licensed contractor.
What Can Damage a Gypcrete Subfloor in a Condo?
Before we continue discussing how to repair gypcrete in a condo, we must address the key factors that can damage this subfloor type.
• Excess Weight and Traffic
Gypcrete is a lightweight material. This feature can be both advantageous and disadvantageous. For instance, because it’s light, installation is pretty straightforward.
On the other hand, the same feature makes it vulnerable to excessive weight. If you have heavy furniture or items in your condo, the excess weight can cause the gypcrete subfloor to crack.
When you compare gypcrete to other types of subfloors like concrete, it’s not the most durable. Eventually, all gypcrete subfloors weaken and begin to crumble.
Therefore, if the gypcrete in your condo was installed many years ago, don’t be surprised when you discover some damage.
• Exposure to Moisture
Gypcrete is also susceptible to water damage. If your condo is affected by floods caused by nature or human error, as the gypcrete dries up, it may soften and turn chalky.
• Poor Installation
Like all other subfloors, poorly installed gypcrete won’t last long. That’s why it’s always essential to have a gypcrete subfloor installed by a reputable contractor.
What are the Signs of a Gypcrete Subfloor that Needs Repair?
Diagnosing damaged gypcrete in a condo is relatively easy. But if you want to be sure that your gypcrete subfloor is damaged, these are some warning signs you should be looking for.
• Low Compressive Strength: When your gypcrete subfloor gets damaged, you may notice that some areas within your condo have low compressive strength.
When you step on the floor, it sinks a little bit deeper. This is a sign of extensive gypcrete damage, and action should be taken immediately.
• Chalky Surfaces: This is one of the first signs you will observe when the gypcrete subfloor starts to misbehave.
To determine that the gypcrete needs repair, perform the coin test, which entails scraping the surface using medium pressure. If the gypcrete disintegrates easily into a chalky substance, it should be repaired soon.
• Cracking: Cracks are another sign of a damaged gypcrete subfloor. These can be easily spotted when you remove the floor in your condo.
• Detachment from the Substrate: This is a sign that indicates extensive damage to a gypcrete subfloor. When gypcrete begins detaching from the substrates, there is no option but to replace it.
Should You Buy a Condo with Damaged Gypcrete?
Whether you want to buy a condo to rent or live in, you must be careful when inspecting its condition.
As mentioned earlier, most condos have a gypcrete subfloor because it is more fire-resistant and dampens sound transfer. However, gypcrete is susceptible to damage after a while, and its repairs can be pretty expensive.
You should only buy a condo with damaged gypcrete if the association and managers are honest about it and have agreed to cater for the repair costs.
If not, you should explore other options. Otherwise, you may have to dig deeper into your pockets for expensive repairs.
Who Should Pay for Gypcrete Repair in a Condo?
This has been a hot topic of debate for years. Most people who live in condos claim that the association should pay for gypcrete repairs.
On the other hand, the condo association claims vice versa. There is no definitive answer regarding who should pay for the gypcrete repair in a condo.
That’s why you should always refer to local state laws, your deed, and other supporting documents. If you need more clarity, you can always seek the help of an attorney.
In most cases, however, the current tenant is the one who usually ends up paying for the gypcrete repair. The reason behind that is the association can argue that you caused the damage.
Or if you have done some work on the floor, they may blame your contractor.
Can You Repair Gypcrete Using Cement Board?
There is another DIY method of repairing gypcrete subfloors in a condo. But before you execute it, you should confirm with the state laws.
This method entails filling the damaged areas with self-leveling mud and then installing a cement board, preferably one measuring a quarter inch so that it doesn’t raise the thickness of the floor.
A cement board is an ideal substitute because it’s stronger and meets the fire barrier requirements. Plus, it’s way cheaper than replacing an entire gypcrete subfloor.
You will have to get a green light from the condo association and local building codes to pull off this repair job.
It’s also worth mentioning that this mode of gypcrete repair is ideal for minor damages. If the damage to your gypcrete subfloor is extensive, you have no option but to replace it.