What Is Traditional Screed?

If you are looking to have a decorative floor installed or are planning to revamp your flooring, traditional screed is one of the most popular options available, boasting several substantial benefits to your overall project.

Anyone who has tried to lay a floor on top of an uneven surface will know how difficult it can be. Laying a screed first evens out the surface so that you then have an even surface to work on.

Simply put, a screed typically consists of a mix of cement, sharp sand and water in calculated proportions. It is used on top of the subfloor to provide a more levelled base on which the final floor finishes such as carpet, tile, laminate or solid wood can be installed.

A screed can also be poured around or over underfloor heating pipes and other services to cover the systems. However, it has to be done professionally where the pipes of the heating system should be laid inside a conduit, so that they are capable of contracting and expanding without cracking the screed.

Generally, there are two types of screed which can be laid; these are traditional screed and liquid screed.

Following, we will explore both options so you can see what each one has to offer and choose the best suitable screed for your flooring project.


Traditional Screed

A traditional screed consists of a typical mixture of sand, cement and water. Usually, it takes around five days to dry before it can be walked on. The process of traditional screed drying cannot be rushed either. According to the guidelines of applying traditional screed, a maximum of 120 square meters can be laid in a single day.

If you have to cover a particularly large area of your floor, you may well have to insert joints to separate each area from the others. The traditional route is also flexible in terms of how thickly the screed can be laid. The thinnest layer of traditional screed is 40mm, while it can be laid as thick as 100mm if required, depending on what is underneath (underfloor heating pipes, insulation etc.).

Liquid Screed

Liquid screed dries far more rapidly than traditional screed. This means you can walk on it within 24-48 hours of it being laid. It can also be poured on a large area each day too. It is possible to lay up to 2,000 square meters per day. That’s more than 16 times the quantity of traditional screed and thus liquid screed is ideal for far bigger properties.

Liquid screed can also be forced to dry faster if required. This could be beneficial if you are behind with your project and you want to get it done faster. Alternatively, if wet or wintry weather is on the way, you could overcome the dampness in the air by force-drying the screed.

Costs vs. benefits

Costs for screed to be laid are given based on per square meter. The charges differ from companies to companies.

However, you will usually pay slightly more for liquid screed (also known as flowing screed) than you will for traditional screed.

Usually, the cost difference is a pound or two more per square meter for liquid screed than for traditional screed. However, the costs vary depending on a number of factors.

The costs of screed vary depending on the depth of screed your particular flooring project requires.

The deeper it is, the longer it will take to dry and the more expensive it will be for you.

As such, a thicker layer of traditional screed may be costlier than a thinner layer of liquid screed. As you can see, it is important to work out what type of screed would work best for your project.

Access several options to see which one will be the best for your floor to give your final floor finishes a professional and aesthetically pleasing look to your floor that will stand the test of time.

You may also find that the benefits outweigh the difference in cost. The faster-setting liquid screed is faster to work with, since no joins are required in larger areas.

If you are laying it on top of insulation, a 40mm thickness will be sufficient here, compared with 65mm of traditional screed. In some instances, it may well be worth paying slightly more to get the desired result.