There is nothing new about underfloor heating. It can be traced back as far as 7,000 years ago when people cut trenches into the floors and covered them with stones which were heated by strategically place fires. However, we have come on with our heating systems since those days, and today your underfloor heating can be either an electric system using electric cables, or a water-based system with heated water being pumped through a system of pipes under the floor.
One of the best developments as regards to underfloor heating has been the use of liquid floor screeds which has been rapidly increasing since the turn of the century. These screeds are a vast improvement over the traditional sand and cement screeds that have been used for many years, and are, indeed, still used, but not to such a great extent.
Over the years, sand and cement screeds were made of a mix of somewhere between 1:3 cement to sand to 1:4.5 cement to sand. The screed was mixed in a simple concrete mixer and barrowed on to the substrate where it was (and still is) laid by a labourer on hands and knees using a trowel. Quite obviously, the first thing to note is that each cement mixer load is not going to be of the exact same consistency as the last one, so today it is becoming more common for the screed to be delivered to site ready mixed. Either way, the method of laying the screed remains the same.
Unfortunately, this takes a considerable amount of time, and the larger the floor area, the longer it will take. This means that, although the screed mix itself is cheap, the labour element will cost a lot. It also means that any other contractors who need to work on the site cannot start until the screed has been laid and has dried sufficiently to be able to be walked on.
Compare this with a liquid screed in Gloucestershire. At UK Screeds we deliver our liquid screed to site ready mixed. Once there we will already have set up levelling gauges called tripods and set them to the right depth to ensure that the finished screed surface is level throughout the building. We then simply connect a pump and long hose to the delivery truck and pump the screed into position. We can do 100 square metres in around 45 minutes! That is a lot faster than anyone can lay a sand and cement screed by hand. In fact, we calculate that we can work up to 20 times as fast. The only thing that we then need to do is to run over the screed with a dappling bar to remove any air bubbles.
Dry Enough To Walk On In 48 Hours Or Less
Furthermore, our liquid screed will be dry enough to walk on in 24 – 48 hours depending upon the temperature. What all that means is that the labour cost of laying the screed is minimal and there is no real delay to other contractors who need to work on the site.
However, there are several other benefits to using a liquid screed, one of which is that it can be laid more thinly than sand and cement, so you need less of it. Certainly, it costs a little more than sand and cement does, but since you don’t need so much of it, that levels the playing field. Add to that the labour cost of laying, and liquid screed comes out a hands’ down winner.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Because the screed is laid more thinly, it is not necessary to use so much energy to heat up underfloor heating when it is being installed, as is the case with so many new builds today. Not only that, but the ingredients used in our liquid screeds produce a mix which has nearly twice the thermal conductivity of sand and cement. So added together, there is an ongoing saving on the amount of energy required to heat the room and that saving continues for the life of the building. Anything that you can do to reduce the amount of energy that you use for heating – or for anything else – is beneficial to the environment and therefore helps in the battle against climate change.