Before you embark on any screeding project, read our easy Essex guide to Underfloor heating screeds, quick drying screeds and laying traditional screeds

Floor screeds in Essex – Where do you start?

To lay a screed floor you need to combine Cement with graded aggregates and water to create a mix that will when set, form a sturdy sub-floor base, capable of taking on a final floor finish or will act as the final hard wearing surface. The process of laying screed may sound quite a simple task, however, there is actually far more involved in screeding than sloshing a mixture of cement and sand together and shoveling it down. You will find that being able to lay a screed floor correctly is actually an extremely important step in the entire flooring process and the getting this part of the job right ensures the overall performance of your finished flooring for years to come.

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.

So read our easy Essex guide to screeding and discover our five top tips which should see you right if your thinking of laying a screed floor in Essex.

Five top tips for the perfect Essex floor screed

  1. Choose a skilled Essex floor screed contractor
  2. Which screed will you use? – Select the right one for the job
  3. Blending the screed – whats involved
  4. Lay your screed flooring correctly
  5. Protecting the screed surface

Choose a skilled Essex floor screed contractor

The team of Essex floor screeders you select for the job should have plenty of experience and a team with the necessary skills and equipment. Apart from excellent references or good recommendations to prove they know what they are doing they should also be on the ball when it comes to the latest technology. The more experience, the better your screeder will prove to be when managing your Essex floor screeding project. This will include such things as project planning, selecting the appropriate screed, mix design, laying the screed and of course protecting the screed. And don’t forget you want them to deliver on time and within the specified budget.

Which screed will you use? – Select the right one for the job

It can take longer than you think selecting the appropriate screed for your project and if time is of the essence it can also be stressful. It is important to think about each type of screed and what it has to offer, will it tick all the boxes? Mistakes at this point could prove costly in the future.

  • The traditional sand and cement screed mix:  A traditional floor screed is a mixture consisting of sand and cement. Polypropylene fibres are added and these are evenly dispersed into the screed. This will help to minimise shrinkage and cracking. This type of screed is perfect for underfloor heating installationa and floated floors.
  • Rapid set or quick drying screeds: If timing is crucial and a fast drying application is necessary then a quick drying screed may be the bet choice. A rapid set screed can be covered with a moisture sensitive finish just one day after application. It is worth noting though that exact drying times will be determined by other factors such as humidity, temperature and the mix
  • Underfloor heating screeds Whilst dry screeds like the traditional sand and cement mixes are perhaps more cost effective and convenient for smaller projects, self-levelling screeds, although more costly have the advantage when used in vast industrial or commercial areas. Dry screed mix ratio is 1:3-5 = cement and sand. Mix with water and add fibre additives as a cracking preventative.  Further additives can enhance drying time. Self-levelling screeds also known as liquid screeds (or flowing screed) is simply poured or pumped onto the area and since it it self spreading, it will achieve the desired level by itself.

Blending the screed – whats involved There are four methods that are generally used by screeders in Essex:

  • Hand Mixing the screed: This method is suitable only for very small areas and will not be adequate for larger projects. The mixing and work involved is tiring and the use of estimated quantities along with manual errors whilst blending the screed can lead to the finished quality of the screed being poor.
  • Free Fall Mixers: These mixers are sometimes used by Essex screeders for mixing larger quantities of screed at the work site. These are fine for mixing general concrete mixes and mortar which are of a fluid consistency. However, screed surfaces mixed by free fall mixers are generally found to be inadequate in the long run and can become easily damaged under heavy traffic.
  • Forced Action Mixers: This is an ideal way to mix screed when additives or admixtures need to be added.
  • Ready Mix Screeds: Ready mixed screeds should be your first choice when looking for consistent reliability. The team at Complete Floor Screeds only work with ready made batch products which have been produced in quality controlled plants. Errors and dangers associated with other methods are eliminated and the ready mix screed guarantees our clients a successful and durable finish every time.
  • Lay your screed flooring correctly

    Implementing an organised approach to laying your screed will guarantee that the best results and achieved. Have the bullet points listed below on your check list to ensure success:

    • Specification – is it fit for purpose?
    • Substrate – has it been well prepared to receive the screed?
    • Access and egress – are these suitable for screed installation, plant and materials?
    • Has the building been made watertight?
    • Record the measurement down to finished screed level to ensure minimum and maximum depths are achievable and compliant with tendered nominal allowance.
    • Do you have running potable water readily available close to the material location.
    • A waste facility should be adjacent to the working areas.
    • Check that all the mixing plant is safe to use.
    • Mix screed in the correct proportion.
    • Apply the screed in a sequential manner and be careful to avoid dry joints.
    • Cuts with the trowel should be applied where necessary for crack control.

    Protecting the screed surface

    This is your last step to a successful screed floor project, but an important one – you need to provide adequate protection for your screeding to ensure that you will achieve a screed of high quality, finish and durability:

    • Allow no site traffic for at least for 24-48  hours after the installation of the screed
    • Regulate heavy site traffic until the installation of the final finish
    • Restrict the loading of heavy weights unless signed off by your structural engineer

    Complete Floor Screeders for all Floor Screeding in Essex

    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 Essex 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 Essex, 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.