Some years ago, underfloor heating was regarded as something for only high-end homes, as it was deemed expensive to install and run. So, most new build homes from the 1960s onwards have been heated using a radiator system. Certainly, if you use an electric underfloor heating system it can be expensive to run because electricity tariffs can be high. Electric systems are quite cheap to install though.

Conversely, if you install a water-based underfloor heating system it is more expensive to install than an electric one, but it is much cheaper to run and of course, that benefit will continue for as long as the property lasts. This is one of the reasons why more and more homes today are being fitted with underfloor heating instead of radiators.

Not only is electric underfloor heating fairly cheap to run but there are other advantages too. Apart from any other considerations, if you use underfloor heating, you have no radiators and pipework in the room, and this can give as much as 10% more space in a room.

In addition to that, when you use radiators, some parts of the room are warmer than others. The area next to the radiator gets warm and the heat goes up towards the ceiling at which point it is distributed around the room by convection. This can mean that there are parts of the room in the middle where it is cooler.

Not only that, but a radiator system will push dust around the room by convection which can be uncomfortable for anyone who suffers from asthma or has allergies. An underfloor heating system does not do that.

When you install a water-based underfloor heating system, it will heat the room totally evenly, as long as you combine it with a liquid anhydrite screed. Why? Because a liquid anhydrite screed is just that – liquid. What that means is that when the screed is poured into position it will completely envelop the heating pipes without leaving any gaps or voids.

Conversely, when you use an old-fashioned “traditional” screed of sand and cement it is very difficult, if not impossible, to cover the heating pipes completely. This means that there are gaps and voids where the heating pipe does not meet the screed, and the result is that the heat transfer into the room is uneven where the gaps exist.

A sand and cement screed is either mixed on-site, which means that the batches will vary in consistency, or is delivered readily mixed which is the better bet. It is then laid by hand by a man on hands and knees using a trowel. This is why it is almost impossible to ensure that the heating pipes are fully covered.

When you use our floor preparation services in Essex at UK Screeds, we deliver liquid anhydrite screed to the site ready mixed. It is then put into position using a pump and a long hose which makes for a very fast installation time. Indeed, we can lay as much as 2,000 square metres of screed in a day. Now compare that with a man with a trowel on hands and knees. If he manages to achieve 100 square metres in a day he will be doing well.

What this means is that there is a huge saving of time in the installation of the screed. But it gets better, because our liquid screed will be dry enough for a man to walk on within 24 – 48 hours, depending on temperature and humidity, so there is no hold-up for other contractors who have to work on the site.

In addition to that, our liquid anhydrite screed has almost twice the thermal conductivity properties of a sand and cement screed so it will heat faster and use less energy to attain the same level of heat. That benefit will go on for as long as the building lasts.

There is only one disadvantage to a liquid anhydrite screed and that is that, as it dries, it forms a layer of fine particles on the surface known as laitance. This must be removed by sanding before fitting the final flooring, so we do that some 7 – 10 days after the screed has been poured. In order to save even more time on-site, our liquid screed can also be force dried, reducing the overall time before the flooring can be fitted.