Screeding is a simple act of applying a combination of ordinary cement with water and graded aggregates to the base of a floor. Generally, this process is carried out to craft a sturdy sub-floor, which is able to take on the final floor finish.
Irrespective of how simple the entire process may sound, there is a lot more to screeding than trowelling on the sand and cement mixture. In the entire flooring process this is the most vital procedure, as screeding ensures a quality finish and longevity of flooring expanse.
For projects that require high-quality and smooth floor finish, installing liquid screed is a great option.
It is appropriate for various environments, such as industrial, commercial and residential properties. However, it is crucial to ensure that it is installed correctly in order to avoid any screed failures, which can be very expensive.
Potential floor failures can occur if the screed is applied incorrectly and it ranges from cracks in the floor, to uneven and weak layers. At times, screed failure is also caused due to errors when laying underfloor heating (UFH), which is a popular accomplice for screed applications.
So, when it comes to screeding, even a small error can escalate into a serious and expensive problem. But, how can you prevent these mistakes to make your floor last for as long as possible?
For best results ensure that you are avoiding the most common mistakes mentioned below:
Often, hand-mixed screeds are considered the best option, especially for small projects.
However, if you fail to mix the cement, aggregate, water and additives homogeneously, then small pockets of unmixed materials are formed preventing the screed from developing its required strength. This in turn results in a weaker construction, which can crumble under heavy kitchen equipment or furniture.
In order to ensure that you receive the best end result, it is vital to ask your contractor how he intends to blend the screed. Also, see to it that your contractor uses forced-action mixers, as it distributes aggregates and additives evenly.
Inadequate Drying and Curing
Generally, installing the final floor before the screed has completely dried leads to expensive problems, such as floor swelling, bubbling and buckling.
Additionally, when ventilation or heat is used to accelerate the drying process of screed, the end result is almost always low-quality construction prone to cracking.
Therefore, you should cure standard sand-cement screed formulations and let them dry properly. This is mainly because it can help in preventing these problems, thereby acquiring perfect floor finish.
Significant Flatness Deviations
In order to get a perfectly flat floor, it is critical to use a flat screed. For instance, if you intend to install a larger-format floor on top of your sub-floor with bumps and dips then you are likely to crack it whilst you walk over the surface.
In addition to this, not being able to lay a floor because of an uneven substrate requires extensive remedial work later on.
This may delay the project, thereby costing you more than the estimated budget. So as to avoid remedial costs and delays, you should hire a professional contractor to get the screeding right.
To sum up, it is critical for you to understand your project requirements, as well as the viability of varying screeds and application methods available.
The major factors to consider are budget, involvement of underfloor heating or other forms of insulations and durability requirements. Your planning process shouldn’t be a half-hearted job, as this is the very first step to avoid screeding mistakes.