For the uninitiated, a screed is a levelled layer of material that builders put in when they are laying a floor. Traditionally, a mixture of sand and cement has been used to make a very thick screed that would need shovelling and levelling with a screeding bar.
Recently, though, a pumpable, liquid screed has been developed. This is increasingly popular because of its ease of application.
There are different types of liquid screed. The one that’s most commonly used, however, is anhydrite screed, which is also called calcium sulphate and gypsum screed, because of the elements that go into making it.
Is it really a better alternative to the tried and tested method of laying floors, though?
Let’s find out!
Properties of Liquid Screed
- It’s quick and easy to lay. In fact, you can cover up to four times more ground with a liquid screed in a day than you can with more traditional sand and concrete screeds.
- It’s fast to set. Interestingly, it dries at a rate of 1mm per day up to a depth of 40mm. As such, it can be ready to walk on in as few as 24 hours.
- Liquid screed boasts minimal shrinkage, i.e., it won’t curl or crack
- It’s suitable for floating floor construction.
- It’s robust enough on its own. As such, it doesn’t require reinforcement, consequently, saving you time and money.
- It’s renowned for its excellent thermal conductivity and minimum thermal expansion. This makes it ideal for underfloor heating systems.
- It’s much thinner than traditional sand and concrete screed, which makes meeting weight restrictions much easier to achieve.
- It produces a 2R2 finish as per BS8204 regulations.
- It’s free of proteins, which means it cannot contain any harmful bacteria.
- It’s non-combustible
- It’s incredibly energy-efficient and very eco-friendly. Liquid screed significantly reduces the amount of carbon dioxide used across the entire process, as gypsum contains far less CO2 than does your traditional mixture of sand and cement.
Cons of Liquid Screed
- It requires more preparation upfront. Liquid screed cannot be pumped or poured onto a laitance surface. Unfortunately, laitance is a compound that appears in most traditional concretes, and it will need stripping out before application.
- Unlike traditional sand and cement screed, most liquid screed suppliers don’t condone DIY laying. Instead, they insist you use an experienced contractor, which will, of course, cost you more money. Plus, in some cases, it may set your project back, depending upon the builder’s availability.
You can use liquid screed in Northampton or anywhere else as a matter of fact as you can see, the pros far outweigh its cons. Any project worth doing is worth doing correctly, so thorough planning and preparation should not be seen as drawbacks.
And neither should calling in the cavalry! Remember, this is still a relatively new process, and as you want your new floor to look as perfect as possible, it’s probably worth the extra expense of getting someone in who really knows what they’re doing to take a look at things.