Floor screed is an important ingredient used in many construction projects, however it’s something that many people have often never heard of. Why’s that? Well, it’s probably due to the fact that floor screed is usually hidden underneath the floor!
What is screed?
Floor screed is a thin layer of mortar that is poured over a concrete base in order to create a smooth and even surface for the top floor finish to be laid. It is commonly confused with concrete, however the two products are in fact very different in consistency and strength.
What’s the difference between floor screed and concrete?
Concrete is made up of a coarse mixture of larger aggregates. This gives it the renowned strength and durability that makes it one of the most crucial materials used in the construction industry.
Floor screed on the other hand, is made up of sand and cement, making it smoother in texture. Screed is not naturally as durable as concrete because it does not need to be. Most screeds are used for internal purposes only, such as levelling floors or covering underfloor heating systems and insulation. When screed is required for industrial purposes, it can be modified in order to make it more robust. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the main uses of this important material.
Main uses of floor screed
Covering underfloor heating systems / insulation:
In residential settings, screed is most commonly used to cover underfloor heating pipes or insulation, creating a smooth surface for the top layer of floor to be laid, whilst enhancing the conductivity of the heating system.
Finishing layer on floors:
Floor screed is applied to a concrete base in order to provide a smooth and even surface for the top layer (wooden floors, carpet, tiles etc.) to be laid.
It can also be used to colour flooring. In commercial areas that see heavy traffic, the screed will need to be reinforced to make it more durable.
What are the different types of floor screed?
One of the most common uses for this material, underfloor screed is poured over heating pipes, creating an even surface and promoting good conductivity from the underfloor heating system.
Similar to underfloor screed, floating screed is usually laid on a layer of insulation. A damp membrane is used to keep the insulation and the screed separate.
This type is used for projects where heavy loading is expected. It is bonded to the concrete base, using an extremely strong agent or primer.
As you can probably guess from the name, unbonded screeds are not applied directly to the concrete base, but rather are applied to a damp proof membrane that separates the final layer of screed from the concrete base.
How long does it take to install a floor screed?
The process of installing floor screed will vary depending on the type that is used. Before flooring can be applied on top of the floor screed, it needs to be completely dry. This may only take a matter of days, however, for robust screeds like those used in commercial construction projects, this can take a few weeks to a month.
If you have any further questions at all about the uses of floor screed then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.