Although the heating radiator for buildings was invented as long ago as 1855 (would you believe it?) by a Russian businessman, the fact is that even in the mid-20th century they were not common in homes. Most people heated the home using fire and burning coal that was delivered by the coalman in half hundredweight sacks – not an easy job by any means.

Gradually, radiators became more common, and indeed, today many homes are heated with radiators that can run on steam, hot water, or electricity.

However, another form of home heating is underfloor heating, and this is nothing new as it can be traced back 7,000 years when buildings had channels cut in the floor overlaid with stones and heated by a strategically placed fire.

Even so, until recently, underfloor heating was regarded as being only for high-end homes and not for general usage. This is a pity because underfloor heating has so many advantages when compared with a radiator system. A radiator heats the air nearest to it and this is pushed around the room by convection. This means that the area nearest the radiator will be warmest while in other parts of the room there will be cold spots. However, an underfloor heating system covers the whole of the floor and heats all of the room perfectly evenly with radiant heat.

Underfloor heating is also much more environmentally friendly because it only needs to be heated to a maximum of 29 degrees Celsius compared with the 65 -75 degrees of a radiator system. This represents a considerable cost saving on energy bills. Furthermore, when you use a radiator system it will carry dust around the room which is not a good thing for people with respiratory problems. This does not happen with underfloor heating.

Not only that, but a recent survey has found that installing underfloor heating in combination with a liquid screed actually costs about the same as installing a radiator system. Of course, it is necessary for the screed to be fully dry before the final flooring is laid, but this can be speeded up by using force drying and dehumidifiers, as well as commissioning the underfloor heating after a week or so. So, this results in far fewer delays for other contractors who may need to work on the site installing the flooring.

In fact, at UK Screeds, the liquid anhydrite screeds that we install are actually dry enough to walk on within as little as 24 hours after pouring and 48 hours at the most. Nonetheless, the final flooring cannot be laid until the screed is fully dry, and this is calculated as drying at a rate of 1mm per day for the first 40mm of screed depth and 1/2mm per day thereafter. However, those figures are calculated on the basis of the temperature being at a constant 20 degrees Celsius throughout the drying period, and the humidity being no greater than 65%. Translated into English, that means that although under those conditions a 50mm deep screed will be dry enough for the floor to be fitted in 60 days, in practice it most likely will take longer. Force drying can reduce the drying time down to as little as 28 days.

There is another thing to note about liquid anhydrite screeds and that is that as they dry, they produce a layer of fine particles on the surface on the surface which is called laitance. This must most definitely be removed before the flooring is fitted, and so we use floor sanding machines in Devon – and anywhere else – to do this.

The layer of laitance can be anywhere from fine dust to several millimetres thick according to the conditions. The floor needs to be sanded between 7 – 10 days after we have laid the screed. If it is left any longer it will become more difficult to remove, and it may also hinder the drying process of the screed.

Using a floor sanding machine may seem a simple job, but ideally, it is carried out by a team who understand how to do it properly. Nonetheless, if you wish to carry out the floor sanding yourself, we can hire you floor sanding machines for the purpose.