Constructing a new building from scratch requires the services of a number of different contractors in order to carry out different parts of the work. At the very top of the hierarchy is the developer who will hire an architect to design the building. Then comes the main contractor and under him come all the subcontractors to carry out electrical installation, plumbing and heating, flooring, window installation, painting and decorating, carpeting, and more.
At UK Screeds our speciality is floor screeds – as you have probably guessed – and we also install and commission underfloor heating. Our sister company, UK Spray Rendering, can install thermal wall insulation and render it to outside walls.
Floor screeding is an important factor in construction because it provides a level base on which to install the final flooring, whatever that may be. Furthermore, many new build homes are using underfloor heating because of the advantages that it has over and above a radiator system. So, we can carry out both those functions, first installing the underfloor heating and then applying a liquid screed over it. Liquid screed is far superior to a traditional sand and cement screed in many ways when it comes to underfloor heating.
To begin with, if you choose to use our liquid screed services in Bristol, we can lay the screed far faster than can ever be done with a sand and cement screed. This is because a sand and cement screed has to be trowelled on by hand by a labourer on hands and knees, and that is a long-drawn-out process. By contrast, our liquid screed is laid using a pump. We deliver it to the site pre-mixed and then attach a pump with a very long hose and simply pump it into position.
This means that we can cover an area of 100 square metres in around 45 minutes and lay up to 2,000 square metres in a single day. That is anything up to 20 times as fast as a labourer can lay a sand and cement screed by hand.
More importantly than that even, is that when you are installing underfloor heating you want the screed to completely wrap around the heating pipes. If it doesn’t, there will be air gaps and voids, and in turn, that means that the heat will not transfer evenly into the room. Since our screed is in liquid form, it stands to reason that it will totally envelop the heating pipes, which is what you want. Now when you compare that to a sand and cement screed laid by hand, it is no contest. It is almost impossible to lay sand and cement screed over underfloor heating pipes with total accuracy. With our liquid screed, once it has been poured, we simply dapple it in two directions to level it off and remove any air bubbles and then it is left to dry.
But the benefits of our liquid screed go further. It is composed of sand and anhydrous (dry) calcium sulphate which becomes gypsum, and the thermal conductivity of the anhydrite screed is almost twice that of sand and cement. This means that when you turn the heating on it will heat nearly twice as fast and accordingly the room will reach the desired temperature faster. That means that less energy is required to achieve the desired temperature, which in turn is more environmentally friendly and saves money on heating bills. Furthermore, our liquid screeds can be laid a lot thinner than sand and cement which also reduces the heating time and saves money on material costs.
Another big advantage of our liquid screeds is that they are quick drying. On any construction contract, time is money, and you don’t want other contractors who also need to work on the site being held up while waiting for a floor screed to dry. Our screeds are dry enough to walk on within 24 – 48 hours which means minimal delay for any other contractors.
There is one other process that needs to be carried out and that is sanding. Our liquid screed forms a laitance on the surface as it dries, and this needs to be removed before laying the flooring. So, we sand the screed between 7 and 10 days after laying. All that needs to happen then is for the screed to be left to fully dry before the flooring can be fitted but the drying can also be hastened by using dehumidifiers if required.