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What to Consider Before Hiring Your Liquid Screed Expert

Thinking of renovating your home? If so, you must be looking for a liquid screed expert who can help you with the project. But before hiring any contractor, there are certain things that need to be considered. Need some guidance? Here are some tips on how to find the right liquid screed expert.

Do your research before hiring any screed expert

Whether you know what you need, or you need an expert to help figure it out for you, the first step is always to do your research. You won’t be able to evaluate your screed expert unless you know a fair amount about the field.

Once you have shortlisted a few companies who seem like they might be able to help with your requirement, take some time to check out how other clients have fared with them in the past.

Also, go through their website. Any screed expert worth their salt should have a website that provides at least basic information about the services they provide. If they don't, then it's probably not a good idea to hire them.

Think of it this way: a true professional will always invest in themselves and their business before expecting their prospective clients to do so.

Check the service provider's online profile

It is worth checking with several screeders to see how long they have been operating and whether they have built up a good reputation with previous clients. Whether you are looking to hire a plasterer or flooring expert, always check for references, testimonials, and reviews.

Screed experts will also often post client testimonials on their websites or social media pages. Look for a company with happy past clients and glowing reviews — these are indicators of true professionals who know how to do good work, communicate well with clients, and deliver projects on time and within budget.

Most importantly, ask for a list of completed projects so that you can reach out to the clients and find out whether the company has done a great job in the past or not. This way you will be able to feel confident about investing your money in them.

Check the company's accreditation and insurance status

Whether you are constructing a new house built or renovating an existing one, one of the most crucial steps in hiring a liquid screed expert is checking the service provider’s qualifications.

You want someone with experience and training for the job. You also want someone with the proper insurance coverage so that you are not liable if something goes wrong. This will ensure that you don’t end up paying more than what you signed up for.

Look for experience

Experience will always matter when it comes to liquid screed. It is only through experience that a company can learn the best techniques and practices for pouring floor screed.

The number of years a company has been in business is an indicator of its capabilities. The more years a company has been operating, the more likely they are to deliver high-quality services due to its experience in various areas of floor screeding.

Don't stay fixated on discounts and offers

Many companies offer super low prices to attract customers. But they do this by cutting corners — and in the case of liquid screed, this can mean that the job will be poorly done or the quality of the screed itself may be poor, which may even lead to problems with your floor after the screed has been laid.

It is a better idea to pay a bit more for a trusted company that uses high-quality materials and takes the time to do your job properly than to spend more on the rework.

Ask questions!

We cannot stress enough how crucial it is to ask relevant questions about everything from the quality of products being used to the benefits of the products. Make sure you and your liquid screed expert are on the same page regarding expectations for the finished product.

Ask if they offer any guarantees or warranties! If a problem does arise later down the line, you want to be sure that your liquid screed expert will take responsibility for it.

Finally, make sure you get an estimate of how long it will take for your flooring project to be completed. While deadlines are not always a guarantee, it is good to have an idea of how long things will take so you can plan accordingly.

The power of screeds with floor cleanups and underfloor heating

The history of underfloor heating dates back to the Neoglacial and Neolithic periods. Today, the modern-day underfloor heating systems use either electrical resistance elements or fluid flowing in pipes. Essentially, the Underfloor Heating (UFH) system gets embedded within the screed, and any issues with either affect both.

Yet another reason for the popularity of underfloor heating is the drive towards ‘greener’ building systems. This is now applied in varied sectors, including education, leisure and residential.

What are the causes of underfloor heating failure?

Typically, these are attributable to any of the following:

  • Lack of address to the floor layout at an early stage
  • Failure to address the floor finish early
  • Incorrect installation of the UFH system or screed
  • Inappropriate screed mixture
  • Excessive moisture in the screed

Types of Screeds

At the outset, screeds come in varied categories. The most common variants are:

  • Bonded Screed. The screed layer is fully stuck to the substrate using a primer or bonding agent. This method is ideal for thinner screeds that involve heavy leading. It is also best to use when there is insufficient space available to lay an unbonded screed. Now, bonded screed can be sand or cement, and the optimum thickness ranges between 25-40 mm.
  • Unbonded Screed. These screeds get applied over a damp-proof membrane (DPM). This screed gets laid on top of the concrete base. Note that the minimum thickness of unbonded sand and cement screeds are usually around 50 mm. However, there are exceptions! Calcium sulphate unbonded screeds require a minimum depth of 30 mm. The flooring does not come in direct contact with the structure. Hence, the potential impacts of settlement or shrinkage are deemed less problematic. Here, the DPM forges a barrier that prevents the damp from rising from the substrate. Another aspect is it is prone to curling if dried quickly. However, calcium sulphate screeds are not susceptible to curling.
  • Floating Screed. This one gets laid on top of the insulation. The objective is to create a thermally-efficient floor. This type of screed gets used where the UFH systems are provided or acoustic insulation is required. Here, the sand and cement screeds have a thickness greater than 65mm for lightly-loaded floors and 75mm for heavy-loaded ones. Once again, calcium sulphate screeds are the exception! These can get installed at 35mm for domestic use or 40mm for commercial applications.
  • Flow/Liquid Screeds. This is poised to become the industry standard in floor screeds. The floor type is also known as self-compacting screed or calcium sulphate screed. This flow screed is best for light-foot traffic in 24-48 hours. Plus, partitions can get installed, or the screed can get loaded out a week post-installation. Note that most screeds get applied as floating screeds. This method is the most practical for placing on top of underfloor heating and insulation solutions.

General application guidelines

Several pointers are integral when ensuring that a floor screed gets successfully applied over the underfloor heating. These are:

  • Before the installation process, ensure the area is smooth and flat. A flat and smooth surface helps ensure the installation sits level. Also, the correct screed zone/floor buildup is made available before installing the underfloor heating and screed package.
  • The correct screed must be specified; to the right thickness. One should also consider heat output, point loading, size and scale of the floor area and the floor finish. The design of the UFH depends on the screed type and the need for thermal movement, which causes expansion.
  • Make sure to install expansion and perimeter strips as per the project specification. Also, the screed must be mixed and applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When it comes to the placement of movement or expansion joints, typically thought out during the design stage, one must carefully consider the screed and underfloor heating. Doing so is deemed integral for mitigating the cracking in the screed.

Preventing your floor from screed issues

Applying screed to the floor requires that you meet the below conditions. There are specifics that need to be taken care of as well. But, at the outset, the basics are next.

  • First, the substrates must be level. There must be no pockets or high spots. This renders even thickness to the screed.
  • Also, the insulation must be tightly-butted together and level.
  • Keep pedestrians at bay during the drying period
  • Abort constructing screed during cold weathers of less than 5°C
  • Movement joints shall be required if Bay sizes exceed 40m2
  • Adhere to specific drying times. Much depends on the type of screed used.

Additional Considerations

Another crucial aspect is understanding the impact of underfloor heating on screeds. And, even more so, how those screeds react to the heating output. Design parties with a vested interest in the heated subfloor zone approach the task with unique perspectives and knowledge. Also, UFH gets consideration because of the mechanical and electrical (M&E) plan. The objective is comfort for the building user. The screed helps accommodate floor finishes and the loadings of a building. Also, it is not uncommon for experts to look at cracks seen as a fault of the screed. Mostly cracks are a symptom of subfloor zone problems. In this stead, repairing a crack is not the immediate answer. The more pressing issue is to find the cause and then repair it.

At the end of the day
Remember that size and shape of the rooms and corridors shall determine the design and installation of the UFH and screed systems. One must look for any movement joints designed in the screed. Yet another aspect is flexible insulation. Also, corridors and door thresholds require individual joints after laying the screed. If you are dazed or doubtful about underfloor heating and floor cleanup, Screed Easy provides a team of specialists that possess the requisite tools and experience for getting the job done.

 

A brief history of floor screeds

Traditionally, levelling screeds were a semi-dry mix of OPC cement and sharp screeding sand. They cater to the issue of a structural slab with a rough or uneven surface. These are generally installed manually with screeding rates between 125 and 150 square metres per day. However, automated screeding equipment uplifts it to about 500 square metres per day.

Introducing self-levelling liquid screeds

Self-smoothing or self-levelling liquid screeds are a modern-day alternative to semi-dry screeds.

Self-levelling screeds are typically available in two variations. They can either have a cement-based formulation or be made using sulphate/anhydrite-based materials. The pumped anhydrite floor screeds cost up to GBP25/m3. However, with the m2 metric, on average, liquid screeds cost about GBP 21.5.

Self-levelling screeds contain latex, and there are two ways to procure this. One is where the powder and latex liquid come in separate containers. The second is a bag of powder that includes the latex compound. Experts recommend that first-timers go for the latter option.

What are self-levelling screeds?

Liquid, self-levelling screeds are free-flowing. Typically, screeds are for levelling uneven floor structures, especially those with modern precast concrete beams and block floors. These have a distinct camber that can cause issues while laying the floor finishes. Another preferred use of floor screeds is in underfloor heating pipes. Here, as the material absorbs and radiates warmth, the screeds become an integral part of the process. Also, when used in a garage conversion, floorboards are placed over thick sheets of insulation.

They are installed using pumps over large areas. Using this method, screeding rates of up to 1000 square metres per day are no big deal.

How to gauge the use of a levelling compound?

Now, why do floors become uneven, one might wonder? Typically, because of moisture or cracking.

If you plan to do it yourself, you can check your concrete floor using a long spirit level. Begin by holding up the low-end of the level until the bubble comes to the centre. Once there, measure the gap between the floor and the raised end of the level. If the unevenness is less than 5mm, you can use a self-levelling compound.

The Essential Prep Work

Whatever be the preferred liquid screed, getting the preparation right is paramount.

Clean the Floor

First, get rid of all the furniture and appliances from the room. The floor space should be clear, and only then can it be adequately finished. Also, sweep the floor to ensure it is dust-free. Better yet, go over it again using a vacuum cleaner.

Fill any cracks in the floor

Scour through the flooring for large cracks and cover them using a filler and sealer. You can do this by putting a nozzle of the concrete filler bottle into the cracks and squeezing the filler out. Alternatively, you can use a trowel. Allow the filler and sealer to dry before continuing with any work.

Apply the Primer

Once prepped, you can apply the primer. Simply use a soft-bristle push broom. Spread it across the entire floor surface and make sure to spread it thoroughly. You can do so by applying downward pressure when working into the concrete pores. Once done, leave it to dry. This can take anywhere between 3 to 24 hours. Wait for a tacky finish.

Mixing the Compound

It is now time to mix the compound. Keep a bucket and a mixing paddle handy! Only mix enough to create the required number of screed lines. Do not mix more than a bag at a time. The reason is that you only have between 15-30 minutes to pour and spread the compound.

Drying the Concrete Leveller

Most concrete levelling compounds dry quickly. One can walk over them after four hours, but they only fully dry after 24 hours. Once fully dry, you can install other types of flooring. However, the drying time varies according to temperature and humidity, so make sure to check and assess the levelling compound.

USPs of self-levelling liquid screeds

  • These do not require large volumes of water
  • They can be installed over concrete, wooden, plywood, ceramic, and other surface types
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Hypoallergenic

At the end of the day

There is a considerable demand for self-levelling liquid screeds in the developers’ community. However, these are niche and are cost-effective when used on floor areas of at least 40 square meters. The traditional sand or cement screeds are used to lay the foundation for smaller home extensions.

If you’ve encountered uneven flooring, look no further; Screed Easy is to the rescue. The team is proficient at supplying and pouring screed on your new space. Plus, they help with underfloor heating and tiled flooring as well. The liquid screed specialists possess all the tools and experience to go from home conversion to screeding of floors on large-scale buildings, retail establishments, and heavy-industrial projects.

Liquid Screed, Solving Your Problem Flooring

WE have written numerous blogs about liquid screed floors using countless examples of their undoubted benefits. This time we are flipping things around and focussing on the costly problems customers encounter if they ignore this innovative product by choosing more traditional flooring methods.

You can see from our website that we know what we are talking about at Screed Easy. More than three decades in the business and a glowing portfolio of successful projects make us experts on the subject in anyone’s book. We have all tripped over a protruding tile in our lives, possibly watching in horror as the tray of drinks crashes to the ground. It’s equally possible you will, at some point, have glanced down at the floor and noticed a visible crack that spoils the entire look of a room.

Repairing or replacing the offending tile or tiles can be a costly and timely business. You will probably have to take up most if not all of the floor otherwise the problem is likely to keep coming back somewhere down the line.

Expert Liquid Screed Company

So why is a liquid screed floor company like Screed Easy drawing attention to this, you may ask? The primary reason is to highlight exactly why floors laid in the traditional way will more than likely result in problems as we have described. Tiles laid on top of an uneven surface are always going to be susceptible to damage, no matter how good the quality. The constant wear and tear of heavy foot traffic is simply too much for the tiles to bear and eventually they begin to crack and break up.

Understanding why this occurs is pretty straightforward. The base – often cement – upon which the tiles were initially laid was not perfectly flat and even. It is a common problem when traditional practices are followed. Eradicating bumps and dips – however small – when adopting this old-fashioned and labor-intensive approach is nigh on impossible. The ratio of cement mixes can differ with each load and, when poured, even the steadiest hand cannot achieve the level of perfection required. The result, as we have touched on, is a flawed surface and, more than likely, damage down the line.

Liquid Screed Poured On-Site

This is where self-levelling liquid screed floor can solve those problems and provide you with complete confidence in the surface you are walking on. Then, once our team of experts have poured your liquid floor on-site, it is down to you to add the finishing touches whether it is ceramic tiles, wooden flooring, or a range of other stylish options to brighten any room.

However, if it sounds like liquid screed floors are designed for domestic projects it couldn’t be further from the truth. They are equally suitable for use in commercial and industrial developments due to the ease of installment and their long-lasting nature.

Liquid screed floors are quick-drying and hard-wearing and, due to the compounds used, ideal for buildings where high levels of hygiene are a priority such as hospitals or buildings of multiple occupancies like student accommodation. So assuming you are sold on installing a liquid screed floor, what comes next? How about you consider underfloor heating? The two are made for each other and there is no need to seek separate contractors because Screed Easy can take care of this too!

Underfloor heating is a cost-effective and modern heating system that ensures no heat is wasted due to the elimination of cold spots – that age-old problem anyone with a room with traditional radiators will recognise.

In this case, heat steadily rises from the floor upwards and is evenly distributed around a living area. It was once the luxury of high-end properties but is now commonplace due to its multiple benefits and economic factors.

There are two options of underfloor heating; one using warm-water pipes hooked up to your boiler and the other a matting system connected to your electricity supply. Both go perfectly well with a liquid screed flood. So pick up the phone or drop us an email and our friendly staff at Screed Easy will talk you through the process and help decide what’s best for you. And remember, no project is too big or small as you will discover by browsing through our website. To find out more about our full range of services call 0118 467 9935 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Happy New Year From Screed Easy

FIRSTLY, we would like to wish our customers a Happy New Year from all the staff at Screed Easy – your premier screeding company based in Reading. It’s time to put those decorations away and look forward to what lies ahead in 2022. For many of you that will mean a new building project or some long-overdue home renovations.

As they say there is no better time to act than present….and that’s where our highly-trained staff can help in a variety of ways. We are a vastly-experienced screeding company in Reading and offer a wide range of liquid and latex floor screeds to suit any development of any size both on a domestic and commercial scale. Our website contains numerous examples of successful projects we have worked on and completed, not just in Reading but across the South of England.

The Perfect Finish For Your Flooring Project

However, we are much more than a screeding company from Reading. The services we offer also include comprehensive underfloor heating solutions that go hand-in-hand with our screeding supply. In fact, it could be said the two are made for each other! If it’s a perfect finish for your flooring project you are seeking then look no further than our liquid or latex screed. This superior product is self-levelling, quick-drying and leaves you with a durable and flexible surface on which to lay any type of wooden or tiled floor.

If it sounds complicated, it isn’t. Our specialist staff at Screed Easy will supply and pour your liquid or latex screed on-site and it has numerous advantages over traditional sand and cement products. It is not difficult to see why this method of screed flooring has become standard within the building industry. This efficient process is equally suitable to single-room developments and much larger industrial projects and you will always be left with a perfectly level and smooth surface. Another major advantage of opting for liquid or latex screed is the materials used in the project make it ultra-hygienic and well suited to developments where safety and cleanliness are of utmost importance such as hospitals and medical centres or buildings of high occupancy like hotels and student accommodation blocks.

As we have already mentioned, Screed Easy is much more than a screeding company from Reading. When customers select our screed floors, they will often choose our underfloor heating systems to go with it. With fuel costs steadily rising, underfloor heating provides the most economic method to add warmth to a room or building. It allows you to cover a larger surface area so rooms can be heated efficiently on a low setting. Whereas more traditional heating methods such as radiators produce hot and cold spots, underfloor heating gives an even distribution of warmth from the ground up. As a result, no heat is wasted, thus saving customers money.

We have Our Installation Process Down To A Fine Art

Screed Easy’s professional staff have the installation process down to a fine art. Warm-water pipes are laid down, attached to a manifold and pressure tested before liquid screed is poured on top. This helps to reduce any cracks that may appear and can be used with workable depths of as little as 50mm. It also leaves you with a perfectly-even, hard-wearing surface on which to lay the flooring of your choice including stone, tiles, wood, carpet and many more options.

Another solution we offer is electric underfloor heating where a layer of matting is placed on top of an existing floor. A network of cables are connected to an electricity supply which again provides an even distribution of heat and zero wastage. This method is ideally suited to rooms that are not uniform in shape or come with tricky corners such as kitchens and bathrooms.

So, as you can see, Screed Easy provide a comprehensive screed flooring and underfloor heating service. Our staff are experts in the trade and possess knowledge and experience along with superb customer service from the first point of contact right through to project completion. Our impressive portfolio includes home conversions, bespoke dwellings and retail developments resulting in a trail of satisfied customers all over the South of England. If you have a query, then please give us a call or drop us an email and our friendly staff will respond with free advice. To find out more contact us on 0118 467 9957 or visit our homepage for a free quote.

Do you need a reliable company to supply and pour your liquid screed?

Contact Screed Easy with your requirements today...

Call us today on0118 334 3509