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Everything You Need to Know About Screed

Everything You Need to Know About Screed

All of the terminology surrounding concrete and its different varieties can cause confusion surrounding the varying properties and benefits of each type, leaving you wondering what is the best option for your project. In this article we’ll be focusing on screed – what is it, and how is it different to concrete? 

What is screed?

Screed is a unique type of concrete which is used to level the surface of an existing concrete subfloor. It’s made by adding water to cement and aggregates – just like normal concrete, but with different sizes of aggregates and grades of cement. This results in a consistency that’s much less coarse than standard concrete, which makes it better suited to its purpose. 

When would you use screed?

Most commonly, screed is used as a finishing layer for floors, or to create a level surface to prepare for the application of floor coverings such as carpet, tiles, stone and wood. Screed is used once the concrete subfloor has been laid, and can be placed on top of damp proof membranes, insulating materials or underfloor heating pipes.

Why is screed more expensive than concrete?

Screed is a specialist type of concrete which needs to be mixed to the correct specifications to do its job properly. It also requires a lot more skill than concrete, both to produce and to apply – as its purpose is to provide a level surface. It takes someone with an eye for detail to get a completely flat, even finish.

How long does screed take to dry?

The process can take anywhere between a few hours and several weeks depending on any additives it may have, how modern/traditional it is, and how hot or humid the area is. The drying time is, of course, affected by how much screed is used, as any moisture within it has to evaporate. It takes around 28 days for screed to reach its maximum strength, regardless of what type is used. It’s important to wait until screed is completely dry before laying flooring on top, to avoid it sweating underneath and warping your flooring.

Can screed be used as floor finish?

Screed is used as a final finishing layer on concrete floors but is not designed to stand alone as a final wearing surface. Screed is mostly used as a base for another flooring finish such as tiling, carpet, wood or stone, as it provides a completely level surface that lends it well to other applications.

Can screed be polished?

Screed cannot be polished in its bare, uncovered state – it is not durable enough to withstand the abrasive process, and will most likely deteriorate and break apart. Some people choose to add an overlay or topping and opt for a polished finish, combining style and substance.

Can screed be used outside?

Although it is possible to use screed outdoors, it isn’t preferable as it doesn’t have the strength and durability of concrete. It is mostly only used for interior spaces, where the floor needs to be more practical or colourful than a bare concrete surface.

For even more information about screed, see our guide here on the difference between concrete and screed.

Here at Total Concrete, we supply to domestic and commercial customers throughout Surrey, Hampshire and Woking. To make an order, or to find out more about our services, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.