Should You Choose Traditional Screed or Liquid Screed?

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Anyone who has attempted to lay a floor over a bumpy or uneven surface knows the difficulties that can cause. It’s important to lay the screed down first to create an even surface. The screed is generally a mix of sharp sand, water and cement. It creates as base on the subfloor for any type of flooring you want to go with.

You can pour screed over over floor pipes as well, though some pipes will need to be placed in a conduit to keep them from causing cracks in the screed when they expand and contract.

You have the option of two different types of screed – traditional or liquid, and we want to look at both of those to help you make an informed decision about what to use.

Traditional Screed

It takes traditional screed about five days to fully dry. You cannot speed up this process in any way, and only about 120 square metres can be laid each day.

For very large floors, you probably want to put in some joints to separate one area from the next. This is fairly simple, and there is a lot of versatility in how thick the screed can be. It can be as thin as 40mm and as thick as 100mm. How thick or thin it can be dependant partially on what you have underneath it.

Liquid Screed

With liquid screed, you get a screed that dries much faster than its traditional counterpart. You can walk on it in as little as one to two days. You can also have more of it poured each day, and it’s perfectly fine to lay as much as 2,000 square metres in a single day. That’s lots more than you could get with traditional screed, and that makes liquid screed a better chocies for very large projects.

The screed can be made to dry even faster. If you are running behind or you have a deadline to meet, you can use advanced drying techniques to hurry things along. This is also useful for when cold or rainy weather is coming soon and you want to beat it.

The Price and the Advantages

Quotes for screed installation are given per square metre. Each company has their own prices, but you generally pay more for liquid screed than for traditional screed. In general, the cost difference is about a pound or two for every square metre. The average cost tends to be about £15 per square metre for traditional screed and £17 per square metre for liquid screed.

You should look at the benefits of each of these and see how they compare to the cost. Liquid screed sets faster and requires no joints, and that can save you money, even if the base cost is greater. It you place the screed over insulation, then 40mm of liquid screed is all that’s necessary, whereas you may need up to 60mm of traditional creed. It can be worth the extra cost to get better results.

How deep the screed is and what requirements you have for your project will determine the cost of the screed. If it is very deep, then it can take a long time to dry and it can cost you more. A thick layer of traditional screed can actually cost you more than a thin liquid screed layer. You should figure out how thick your screed needs to be to help you compare the costs. Be sure to get some pricing information from screed experts in your area.

Also note that liquid screed is ideal for thin insulation. You won’t see much difference in the heat loss, though. A thin liquid screed layer can be just as effective as a thick traditional screed layer and actually cost you less.

You should look at these two options and compare their cost and advantages to see which one will be best for you. Keep in mind that you pay for hours of manpower too, and the traditional screed can take longer to pour and finish than liquid flow screed.


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