Floor screeds – what is the best solution for my project?

Floor screeds – what is the best solution for my project?

Floor screed, a cementitious material made from cement and sharp sand, gives a smooth and level floor on which to lay your chosen floor finish and is used in a wide variety of commercial, industrial, retail and residential settings today.

With an abundance of types of screeds now available, choosing the right screed is important – it offers not only a protective “heat sink”, but also a medium to harmonise levels and provide the substrate for a wide variety of floor finishes. Before choosing your screed have you considered the site conditions? Is it a load bearing floor? What are the operating requirements? What is the timescale you need to work within? What finish do you require?

Below are some of the more popular types of screeds and their uses:

Trowel Applied Screeds

  • Traditional Sand Cement Screeds – used in bonded, unbonded, and floating configurations, level or to falls; available in a wide range of thicknesses.
  • High-performance Screeds – for superior technical performance and faster drying times, we recommend Isocrete K Screed, Mapei Topcem, and Ardex A23 and A35 screeds.
  • Fibre Reinforced Screeds – for improved compressive, flexural and impact strength.
  • Lightweight Screeds – incorporates expanded clay or other lightweight aggregates for use in certain roofing applications, or where loading restrictions apply.
  • Polymer Modified Screeds – incorporates admixtures and aggregates for greater resilience and environmental performance.

Self-Levelling Screeds 

  • Underlayment for various floor finishes.
  • Wearing screeds for industrial areas.
  • Precision smoothing and levelling.
  • Renovation screeds for fast track refurbishments. Self-levelling screeds can be laid to minimum thickness of 7mm and can be installed at a speed in excess of 1,000 m2 per day!

Anhydrite or Gypsum Based Screeds

Anhydrite screeds are bonded by calcium sulphate (gypsum) rather than cement and supplied as a ready mixed fluid suitable for use in larger applications with outputs of up to 1500 m2 per day. Anhydrite screeds can be laid in thinner sections than traditional screeds and will withstand light traffic within 24-48 hours. Their fluid consistency and resistance to shrinkage makes them ideal for the encapsulation of underfloor heating pipes.

Isocrete K-Screed 

Ideal for use in high traffic environments such as hospitals, schools, shopping centres, airports, fast track commercial construction and refurbishments, Isocrete K-Screed provides a quick drying, high strength screed suitable for overlaying with carpet, vinyl, tiles and other flooring finishes. Our specially trained installers can apply Isocrete K-Screed in bonded, unbonded and floating configurations. This screed is ideal for use with underfloor heating systems and can be laid to falls. Fast K- Screed and Screedfast are available for situations where even faster drying is required.

Underfloor Heating Screeds

Underfloor heating offers a wide range of benefits in terms of energy efficiency, reliability, temperature control and the better use of wall and floor space. Screeds to look out for in this type of environment include:

  • Isocrete K Screed, Fast K Screed and Isopol SBR screed
  • Mapei Topcem and Mapeicem
  • Ardex A23 or A35 screed
  • Anhydrite and hemi-hydrate calcium sulphate based screed
  • Unmodified and modified sand cement screed

With over 30 years experience, IFT can advise on all the different features and benefits of each screed to help you make the appropriate choice, taking into account the site conditions, location within the building, load bearing and a range of other environmental factors. Get in touch today to discuss your project and find the best solution.