Floor Screed FAQs

After 13 years in the industry, there isn't much we don't know about floor screed. Below are some of our most frequently asked floor screeding questions. If you have a query or a project we'd love for you to get in touch

General Questions 
Types of Floors
The Process

General Questions

What is floor screeding?

In its simplest form floor screeding is the process of installing a level surface ready for floor finishes. Floor screeds also serve a number of other purposes including carrying underfloor heating, providing acoustic performance and offering environmental improvements.


What is floor screed made from?

This can vary depending on the type of screed being used. Similarly to concrete, cementitious liquid or traditional screed is made from a mixture of cement, sand and water, whereas liquid anhydrite screed is made from anhydrite binders and water. Both can be enhanced through the use of additives that alter certain characteristics of the screed, such as its strength or drying time.


What are the different types of floor screed?

There is a wide range of floor screeds available on the market which can be divided into two categories; liquid and traditional screed. Within these categories, there is a range of options including high strength and quick drying. Whether you are working to tight time constraints or have little coverage over your insulation, we can help you identify the screed your project requires!


What does a screed do?

The purpose of a floor screed is to provide a level surface ready for floor finishes.


Where can floor screed be used?

Floor screeds are designed generally or application in all non-structural, interior floors where a floor finish such as tiles or carpets are to be used. Some specialised screeds offer a wearing surface without the need for subsequent coverings.


Can floor screed be used to finish a floor?

In some very specialised cases yes. It is however rare and the vast majority of floor screeds require a surface covering to provide a wearing surface.


Can you use floor screed over an underfloor heating installation?

Yes! Screeds are the preferred medium for UFH pipes as the material excels at absorbing and radiating warmth, becoming an integral part of the heating process. Some screeds can be used to significantly enhance the overall performance of your underfloor heating and the environmental impact of your floor.


Can you use liquid screed over underfloor heating?

Liquid screed is well suited for underfloor heating due to its high thermal conductivity and form which allows it to fully encase underfloor heating pipework. 


Can a screed make the floor level?

In essence, the idea of a floor screed is to make a floor level, so yes. If you are renovating and already have an existing floor that needs levelling off, we offer thin section screeds and latex options that may be suitable for your project.


How much does floor screeding cost?

Floor screeding is incredibly cost-effective. The actual costs can vary depending on several factors such as the build size, product and depth of screed. For a quick and free quote, get in touch with our team!


Types of Floors

What are the advantages of flow screed over traditional forms of floor screeding?

Flowing screed boasts many great advantages. It can be laid at a substantially thinner depth and is much less time consuming to install than traditional methods. One team could easily install 800-1000m2 in a day, compared to sand and cement screed which could take up to 8 times longer. Liquid screed is also self-levelling and has excellent thermal conductivity, unlike sand and cement screeds.


What is the difference between concreting and floor screed?

Concrete tends to be much deeper and is often reinforced with steel mesh so that it can be used in structural applications as well as out of doors. Concrete is often used to provide a solid but rough subbase to be finished using a screed. Floor Screeds are generally not used as wearing surfaces and contain no coarse aggregate. They are generally designed for interior use.


What is flow screed?

Flowing liquid screed is a pump applied, self-compacting screed. It’s free-flowing characteristics and versatility mean it’s far less labour intensive and can generally be laid at a substantially thinner depth than conventional materials. Liquid screed can also be laid in large quantities at any one time. It is suitable for projects of all sizes allowing from as little as 25m2 up to and over 1000m2 to be installed in just one day!


What are the benefits of sand and cement screed?

With a mix combination of sand, cement and water, this traditional type of screed is perfect for sloped finishes, wet rooms or balconies and can be strengthened further by the addition of fibres. Due to the technological development of additives such as Retanol Xtreme® and Isocrete K-Screed, traditional sand and cement screeds now offer enhanced strength and faster drying times, perfect for those working to a tight deadline!


Is there a minimum thickness a floor screed can be?

Again, this can depend on a range of variants such as the type of screed, whether there is underfloor heating or whether the floor is bonded or unbonded. For projects where depths may be an issue, we can offer thin section screeds and latexes.


The process

Can you lay floor screed in any weather?

As floor screeds are generally designed for use indoors it is possible to lay them in any weather as long as the building is appropriately sealed. However, the governing codes of practice for screeding recommend that the temperature within the building be maintained at between 5 and 30 Degrees Celsius during the setting phase to protect the screed. The manufacturers of the screed also have specific guidance in the form of British Standards which ay they should only manufacture if the outside temperature is within the same range.


What needs to be done to prepare a floor before screed can be laid?

Preparation is key to a successful floor screed! There are many steps to ensuring your floor preparation has been completed to the highest standard so for more advice on this give our team a call! Alternatively, why not leave it to the experts and ask our team to complete all preparation works for you!


How is floor screed laid?

This varies greatly and will depend on the size and nature of the project as well as the type of floor screed selected. We are happy to offer you comprehensive guidance on the best screed.


Is floor screed self-levelling?

No. Liquid screed is self-compacting and self-smoothing but we still have to carry out specialised installation equipment and finishing techniques to get it flat and level. We usually work within the British Standard guidance for SR2 or better.


How long does floor screed take to dry?

This varies depending on the type of screed selected. We can offer screeds that dry in just a few hours where time is extremely critical and screeds that take much longer where time is not an issue. We can discuss with you the program for your project and help you to select the correct screed.


How to ensure floor screed dries correctly?

Screeds dry best in warm dry and well-ventilated areas so the key is to ensure these conditions are maintained. Some screeds can be force dried using underfloor heating which, if done correctly can reduce drying times vary considerably. A moisture test should be completed prior to the installation of any floor coverings.


How do I know if my screed is dry?

Prior to the installation of floor coverings, all screeds must be moisture tested to establish the water content within the said screed. All good flooring contractors will ensure a moisture test is carried out prior to the install of finishes.


Do floor screeds crack?

All floor screeds have the potential to crack however the chance of this can be minimised by good preparation, controlled temperatures and movement joints.



Once laid do floor screeds require maintenance?

Not really. They do require appropriate preparation prior to the installation of floor coverings, which may well require maintenance. The floor screed itself though should require little to no maintenance for its lifetime.


If I want to cover my screed with another type of flooring will any further preparation be required?

This can vary depending on what flooring you intend to use and the moisture content still in your screed. To lay a bonded floor covering the British Standard recommends that the floor be clean, dry, sound and free from contamination likely to cause a failure of adhesion. Proper preparation is key to a successful floor covering installation. You must ensure a moisture test is completed prior to any floor coverings. For more information on this, get in touch with our team.


What is Latexing?

Latexing is the application of a smoothing compound to a screed that is not sufficiently smooth to receive the subsequent floor covering. The need for latexing depends on the type of floor covering used as well as the level of flatness and smoothness achieved with the screed.


What are saw cuts, and why are they needed?

Saw cuts allow movement in the screed or concrete as it cures, releasing stress points that can cause cracking. This can vary from job to job, as well as from screed to screed with different screeds requiring different levels of jointing. You can discuss this in detail with our team to ensure that you can optimise the design of your project.


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