When you are in the process of constructing a building, there are very many things to consider. One of the most important is the flooring because it will take constant traffic from people walking on it. In some areas, there may be heavy furniture sitting on the floor and, of course, this needs to be level because you don’t want your TV at an angle because it is on a TV stand which in turn is on a floor with dips and bumps in it.
This is the reason that we use a screed, which is a layer that is set on top of the sub-base for the exact purpose of producing a level and flat surface on which to fix the ultimate floor surface, whatever that may be – tile, wood, laminate, linoleum, carpet, and so on.
When it comes to the screed, this can be made of several different materials and there are different proprietary brands on the market. For many years now, a screed has been made of a mix of sand and cement in the ratio of 1.3 to 1.45 of cement to 3 of sharp sand to a fairly dry consistency. This mix is laid on the substrate by a labourer using a trowel.
As you might imagine, this is a tiring job, working on hands and knees all day and endeavouring to ensure that the surface is as flat as possible. It is difficult indeed to lay more than about 100 square metres of screed a day this way.
Furthermore, there is another issue and that is that the screed is mixed on site using a cement mixer, and with the best will in the world there are bound to be variations in consistency. This is why many contractors today use a ready mixed screed delivered to site and containing additives to delay setting so that the screed should be usable all day.
However, even this can run into difficulties because, if the mixer truck is held up in traffic, such as a motorway accident, there can be considerable delays getting the screed to the site.
However, over the last few years, there has been a revolution in screeds with the production of liquid screed made using calcium sulphate which becomes gypsum when mixed with water. The main ingredient is anhydrous (dry) calcium sulphate which typically has around 35% of recycled content and this replaces the cement as a binder.
This liquid screed is delivered to site ready mixed and instead of being laid on by hand with a trowel is pumped into position using a pump and long hose. As you can imagine, this is a far faster process, and indeed, our teams at UK Screeds can lay as much as 2,000 square metres in a day. Quite obviously, this has big advantages on a construction site.
But it gets even better because not only is the screed very fast to lay, but because it is in liquid form it is pretty much self-levelling. All we need to do once the screed has been poured is to go over it in two directions with a dappling bar and then leave it to dry. Furthermore, our liquid screed will be dry enough to walk on in 24 – 48 hours, so there is no delay to other contractors who need to work on the site.
If you need to hire liquid screed contractors in Reading, our teams at UK Screeds have got you covered. We are a family firm based in Oxford, so we are not very far away, but we have branches all over England and Wales, including one in Reading, so we can help you wherever your project is taking place.
Our liquid screed can also be laid much thinner than a sand and cement screed so although the material is more expensive, the fact that less of it is required together with the amount of labour saved in installing it means that the overall cost works out at around the same as sand and cement screed. In addition, our liquid screed is subject to very little shrinkage as it dries and will not curl up at the edges.