When it comes to screeding, even a small error can escalate into a serious, costly problem. In this article, we address five common screeding mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.
When mistakes happen, the screed may crack, debond from the substrate, or crumble, which may affect your final floor finish irreversibly and lead to costly repairs.
How can you prevent all these and make your floor last a very long time? By simply ensuring that the screeder you intend to hire avoids the following five mistakes:
Hand-mixed screeds would appear to be a great option especially for small projects. But if the screeder fails to mix cement, aggregates, additives, and water homogeneously, small pockets of unmixed material may form, preventing the screed from developing the required strength. This will result in a weak construction, which may crumble under heavy furniture or kitchen equipment. To ensure the best outcomes, it is essential to ask the screeding contractor how he intends to mix the screed. The best screeders use forced-action mixers, which can help distribute aggregates and additives through the mixture evenly.
Insufficient drying and curing
Installing the final floor before the screed has dried completely may lead to expensive consequences, including floor swelling, buckling, and bubbling. Additionally, using heat or ventilation to accelerate the drying process of traditional screeds will result in a low-quality construction, prone to cracking. Curing traditional cement-sand screed formulations and letting them dry properly can help prevent these problems and achieve a perfect floor finish. To meet tight deadlines, expert screeders use proprietary, polymer-modified screeds, which do not require curing and can dry in as little as three days.
Significant flatness deviations
A flat screed is critical to get a perfectly flat floor. If you intend to install a large-format tile floor on top of a sub-floor with bumps and dips, for example, the tiles may crack when you walk over the surface. As well, not being able to lay your floor because of an uneven substrate may require extensive remedial work later on, which will delay the project and cost you more than the amount estimated. To avoid delays and remedial costs, you should hire an expert screeder, who is able to get the screeding right the first time.
Major variations in floor levelness
If your floor shows significant variations in levelness, you may need to level and prop up your furniture and appliances. Screeders typically use advanced electronic devices, such as laser levels, to assess floor levelness accurately. When discrepancies between newly laid screeds and project specifications are detected, self-levelling screed formulations can be used to correct excessive deviation from datum, which may negatively impact the serviceability of your floor.
Lack of care
Lack of proper care after the installation of the screed can result in irreparable damage. Special materials, such as reinforced paper and corrugated plastic, can be used to protect the screed against direct traffic and impact until the final floor is installed. Usually, the builder is responsible for providing adequate protection once the screed has been laid.
Specialists in all kinds of screeds, the experts at HomeScreed are ready to give you more details on screed mixing, drying, levelling, and protection. For additional information about screeding, we invite you to get in touch with our friendly staff or download our “Essential guide to the perfectly screeded floor”.