Liquid screed is a relatively new innovation, but it has become a popular material valued for its pourability, durability, and the smooth results it produces. It is an excellent choice for any subfloor, as it creates an even base on which wood, carpet, tile, vinyl and linoleum can be laid.
Its consistency also eliminates air pockets and voids. For this reason, it is an ideal partner for water underfloor heating systems, as it is extremely energy efficient and can be poured in very thin layers around the pipes.
Despite its many virtues, it can be unclear exactly what liquid screed is. Keep reading to find out more about its composition, and its uses.
What is it made of?
Like ready mix concrete, liquid screed is composed of a few very basic elements: water, sand, and a binder such as concrete, or calcium sulphate – which is the same compound used to produce stucco and plaster of Paris.
Although concrete and liquid screed share the same basic components, they produce very different results. The ingredients in liquid screed are much smaller, meaning that the consistency is smoother and the screed can be poured evenly around obstacles, such as pipes for water underfloor heating.
What is it Used For?
Since concrete is made up of larger, coarser constituents, it is more suited to building frame structures and foundations.
Liquid screed, on the other hand, is a popular choice for projects that require a smooth finish, such as laying a subfloor over water underfloor heating systems. Due to its consistency, it dries without voids or air pockets, which means that it creates an energy efficient seal that will ensure even, all-around warmth in your home. What’s more, it can be poured very thinly, which means a faster drying time and better heat exchange.
There are a few different types of liquid screed, such as bonded, unbonded, and floating. Professional floor screeding contractors will be able to let you know which is best suited to your project.
How Thinly Can it be Poured?
Liquid Screed can be poured incredibly thinly – a bonded liquid screed can be as little as 25mm thick – and will produce a much smoother and more even surface than concrete. Using only a thin layer means that your screeding will dry much faster, allowing you to keep on schedule with your build project.
The exact depth of floor screed you require can be calculated with laser technology, which is why you will need experienced floor screeding contractors to visit your site and determine how much liquid screed is needed.
How Long Does it Take to Dry?
This is dependent upon the type of screeding you have used, and how thickly it has been poured. Using cement as a binder to your liquid screed means that it will cure much faster than a calcium sulphate based screed. You should be able to walk on your floor screed within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of it being poured, although full drying takes between two to three weeks.
After drying, it is essential that your liquid screed contractors return to undertake final moisture testing, as well as laitance removal – although, with a liquid screed, this is often minimal.