Read our essential London guide to Underfloor heating screeds, quick drying screeds and laying traditional screeds – get it right first time!
Floor screeds in London – What’s it all about?
Laying a screed floor is the simple act of applying a well blended mixture of Cement with graded aggregates and water to create a sturdy sub-floor base that’s capable of taking on a final floor finish or act as a final wearing surface. However, as simple as this process of laying screed might sound, there is a lot more to screeding than shovelling down a mixture of cement and sand. Having the ability to lay a screed floor correctly is one of the most crucial steps in flooring and plays a major role in ensuring the quality, finish and durability of your finished flooring.
While an expertly laid screed floor will lengthen the life of the finished flooring laid down, a failed screed can drastically affect the quality of the floor and could turn out to be a very expensive problem with drastic measures needed to bring it back to an acceptable condition.
Therefore we feel it our duty to guide you through the essential steps of getting the simple act of laying a screed floor in London, right first time!
Five essential steps to get your floor screeding correct
- Choose the right London floor screed contractor
- The correct type of floor screed for the job
- Mixing screed process
- Laying the screed correctly
- Protect your screed flooring
1. Choose the right London Floor Screeding Contractor
Whoever you decide to use, the team of London floor screeders you use, should have extensive experience, a work force with the necessary skills and modern equipment. They should be up to date with the latest technology and have strong references or recommendations to prove their worth. The more the experience, the more capable your screeder will be in the overall managing of your London floor screeding project. From the initial planning, choice of screed, mix design, screed laying and screed protection to delivering on time and within budget.
2. The correct type of floor screed for the job
Choosing the right screed for the job can be a time consuming job and stressful if you need to make a quick decision. You must consider what each type of screed has to offer, does it meet your requirements? And then make an informed decision.
- Traditional sand and cement screed: Traditional floor screed basically consists of a sand and cement mix. Polypropylene fibres are added and evenly dispersed in a screed mix. This helps minimise shrinkage cracking. Ideal for underfloor heating installation projects and floated floors.
- Quick drying screeds/rapid set screeds: For fast drying applications where drying time is crucial. Rapid set screeds can be covered with moisture sensitive finishes as early as one day after application. Drying times are determined by many factors including humidity, temperature and mixing.
- Underfloor heating screeds While dry screeds such as traditional sand and cement mixes are cheaper and used in smaller areas, self-levelling screeds offer an advantage when used in vast industrial or commercial areas while being more expensive. Dry screed mix ratio is 1:3-5 = cement and sand. This is mixed with a water and a fibre additives to avoid cracking. Also another additives can be added to ensure fast drying. Self-levelling screeds also known as liquid screeds (or flowing screed), made of calcium sulphate, sand, water and other chemicals, is simply poured or pumped on the area and it spreads and achieves the desired level by itself.
3. Mixing screed process
The four methods that are generally followed by screeders in London for mixing of screeds are:
- Hand Mixing: This is suitable only for very small areas and is not recommended for bigger projects, as the work is strenuous and the estimated quantities and manual errors while mixing can seriously affect the quality of the screed.
- Free Fall Mixers: Free fall mixers are sometimes used by screeders for mixing larger quantities of screed at the work site. When these are sufficient for mixing general concrete mixes and mortar which are of a fluid consistency, screeds mixed using free fall mixers are often found to be of poor quality, weak and crush easily under impact.
- Forced Action Mixers: Forced action mixing is ideal when additives or admixtures are to be added.
- Ready Mix Screeds are the number one choice for consistent reliability, so the team at Complete Floor Screeds only work with ready made batch products made in quality controlled plants. This eliminates errors and dangers often associated with site mixed floor screeds and promises a successful finish every time.
4. Laying the screed correctly
Carrying out the process of screed installation in a systematic manner will guarantee you achieve the best results. Tick these off your list before installing the screed and you won’t go wrong:
- Is the specification fit for purpose?
- Has the substrate is prepared to receive the screed?
- Is the access and egress is suitable for screed installation, plant and materials?
- Is the building is watertight?
- Record the measurement down to finished screed level to ensure minimum and maximum depths are achievable and compliant with tendered nominal allowance.
- Check that running potable water is available at an adjacent point of the material location.
- Ensure that a waste facility is adjacent to the working areas.
- Is the mixing plant safe and suitable to use?
- Screed must be mixed in the correct proportion.
- Apply the screed in a sequential manner, avoiding dry joints.
- Trowel cuts should be applied where necessary for crack control.
- The working area should be kept tidy.
5. Protect your screed flooring
The last step, but definitely not the least important when it comes to protecting your screeding. Put these measures into place right after screed installation until the laying of the final floor finish to achieve a screed of high quality, finish and durability. At a basic level, it is imperative to ensure that:
- Ensure that no site traffic is allowed at least for 24-48 hours after the installation of the screed
- Any heavy site traffic should be regulated until the installation of the final finish
- The loading of heavy weights should be restricted unless agreed by your structural engineer
Complete Floor Screeders for all Floor Screeding in London
Getting your screed right is not difficult. But it is quite easy to get it all wrong unless carried out with attention to the minor details. The team at Complete Floor Screeders in London are experts in floor screeding, concrete works and surface preparation. We have over 30 years of experience in domestic and commercial floor screening. Our level of expertise enables us to provide you with the highest standards of floor screeds available in London, from traditional sand and cement screeds to underfloor heating and quick drying screeds. Our portfolio is vast and ranges from large industrial projects, through to home extensions and renovations.