Getting level flooring – A guide to screed

General, Interiors

If you have ever tried to lay flooring on top of a surface that is uneven then you can understand just how difficult this can be. That is why is it increasingly important to have a layer of screed laid before, so you have a level canvas to work on. Screed is usually a mixture of cement, sand and water. It is used to level out the existing sub-flooring so you are able to install the top flooring of your choice.

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The screed mixture can also been poured over and surrounding underfloor heating piping. However these piping might need some sort of protection that will allow them to expand and contract without cracking the screed.

When it comes to choosing screed, there are two main types to choose from – traditional and liquid. We will discuss each of these below, so you can understand what they have to offer.

Traditional Screed

Once mixed and laid, traditional screed can take anywhere up to five days to dry before it can be stepped on. This drying process is crucial and cannot be rushed. As a recommended industry guideline, we would not suggest laying more than 120 square meters of screed per day. If you have a particularly large area to cover, then it could be advised to split the area into sections using joints. This sectioning is quite easy to do. The traditional method of laying screed provides some flexibility when it comes to the thickness. The recommended thinnest layer is 4cm and the thickest suggested layer is 10cm.

Liquid Screed

Liquid screed differentiates itself from traditional screed with its speedy setting time. Liquid screen sets much quicker when compared. This dramatically reduces the drying time and you could walking on it within 1-2 days.  Liquid screed also benefits from being able to lay it in much larger quantities per day. It is possible to lay up to 2000 square meter in a day. This is remarkably more than traditional screed, therefore this might be ideal for larger properties.  This type of screed can be force dried if needed.

Costs vs Benefits

The pricing for screed is usually given per square metre. There might be slight variations depending on what company you go with. In general terms, liquid screed is only marginally more expensive than traditional screed. The variation is usually only an additional 1-2 pound per square metre.

It’s important to weigh up the benefits alongside the costs. The liquid screed is much faster to work with and does not need to be sectioned. It some cases, it might be worth while paying that little bit extra to get the desired result. The costs will also be dependant on the depth of screed that you require. The deeper it is, the more drying time needed. It is important to identify what type of screed would suit the needs of your projects before you start getting quotes. Remember to ask around before you select someone to do it for you.

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