Embossing Leveler

Embossing leveller is a mortar-like compound used for preparing a resilient surface such as vinyl peel and stick tiles to function as an underlayment for new floor covering. It is intended to minimize the effects of any depressions, seams, or raised texture in the old floor on the newer floor covering’s appearance as well as to provide a stable base for adhesion.

If you don’t use the embossing leveler to fill in patterns in the existing floor covering, particularly when installing vinyl over vinyl, the old pattern will show right through.

    It should be needless to say, but for the sake of completeness, ceramic, porcelain or slate tile should never be installed over old vinyl tile; remove the vinyl flooring in this case, since it will not provide enough rigidity to support such tiles without their flexing and cracking.

Embossing levellers are typically Portland cement based compounds with acrylic or urethane additives. Some are also latex resin type, they usually come premixed in a can. If you are using a dry mix type leveller, rather than a wet canned product, it is important to follow the manufacturers mixing instructions closely, as the quality of the levelling will depend on it.


If you have the time, it is best to use the leveler one day prior to installing the new floor covering. It will dry in 20 minutes to half hour, but letting it cure to full hardness makes it’s easier to trim.

  • Mix the leveler per the manufacturers directions.
  • Using a flat-edged trowel, spread it thinly over the floor, troweling at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the embossing in the old flooring.
  • Wipe away any extra leveler with the trowel; make sure all patterning and indentations stay filled.

You will need to work fast, since embossing leveler starts to dry in 10 minutes. If you are good with a trowel, you won’t need to sand or trim, but for most people, the leveller will be uneven when dried. Once applied, it can take from 15 minutes to 2 hours to completely dry, depending on brand used as well as the prevailing temperature and humidity. When it is dried, take a dull scraper blade and go over it, smoothing out any ridges, lumps or high spots.

Other Uses

Embossing leveler is also used for leveling concrete, patching and leveling steel, covering asphalt cutback adhesive residue over concrete, patching and skim coating wood of underlayments; and leveling of suspended wood underlayments.