When it comes to laying liquid screed during the Winter you will always encounter a number of problems. Whilst laying screed in the colder months of the year is doable, if you are planning on starting a new project it is important to be prepared.
One of the biggest factors that affect liquid screed in Winter will always be the temperature. As temperatures can drop rapidly throughout the day you need to be prepared with the tools to maintain the temperature of your screed. If the screed cures and dries below the freezing point the water will freeze and drastically expand causing it to be unfit for use and the project will have to be scrapped. In order to avoid this, you will need to control both the ambient air temperature and floor temperature. Throughout the entire process, you will need to ensure the air temperature does not drop below 3 degrees Celsius and that the floor temperature is maintained at 5 degrees Celsius.
When initially transporting the screed materials i.e. cement, aggregates etc. you will need to ensure the bad weather isn’t able to reach them. Any moisture that reaches the materials will seriously affect the composition of the screed and cause it to not cure correctly when laid. To avoid this, sheets of polyethene should be used to cover everything during transport and storage.
Cold weather, unfortunately, will always increase the drying and curing times for screed but as mentioned, the screed must consistently be kept at a minimum of 5 degrees Celsius for the first five days. Again, polyethene sheets are an effective way of avoiding any cold or moisture entering the screed by keeping it warm enough to cure and dry. After a week the sheets should be removed for the screed to fully dry and any residual water can evaporate.
Although laying liquid screed in the wintertime has its challenges, by simply preparing and allowing an extended time frame for your project to ensure correct curing and drying, your liquid screed subfloor can be successful.