Screed Concrete

How to Screed Concrete?

“How to Screed Concrete?” Almost everyone has encountered this question before starting a construction process. Lucky for you, we have the answer.

Concrete screeding is the process of spreading a thin layer of screed on an already concreted floor to give it a smooth finish. It can be done by hand or using professional equipment, and it guarantees a smooth and flawless finish.

Concrete screeding is crucial in creating a smooth, level surface for different construction projects. Whether you are working on a patio, driveway or your floor, you need to understand how to screed concrete properly, as it will make the most difference after the finish.

In this guide, we’ll cover the actual process of screeding a concrete floor, the step-by-step process, practical tips, and common mistakes to avoid.

In short, we’ll give you the answer to “How to Screed Concrete?”

What is Concrete Screeding?

Concrete Screeding is the process of levelling and smoothing freshly poured concrete to ensure a flat and even surface. This is usually done with a screed board, which can be made of wood or aluminium. The board helps to level and smooth the screed on top of a concrete floor, resulting in an even finish with no holes or bumps.

The type of screed depends on the project because it can directly impact the ease of use and quality of the final result after it has been laid on the concrete floor.

Process of Screeding Concrete?

Various methods to screed concrete are suited for different project scales and requirements. Hand screeding is ideal for small projects or areas with intricate details requiring basic tools like a straightedge and a level. On the other hand, professional equipment such as power screeds and laser-guided screeds are better suited for larger projects, providing precision and efficiency. In this guide, we will discuss the steps involved in hand screeding and using professional equipment, ensuring you achieve a smooth and level concrete surface regardless of your chosen method.

General Process for Screeding with Professional Equipment

Prepare the Area

  • Ensure the subgrade is compacted and free from debris, such as rocks or roots, which can interfere with the concrete’s stability.
  • Set the screed rails or guides to the required height using a tape measure and level. Double-check your measurements to make sure the rails are perfectly aligned.

Mix the Concrete

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a consistent, workable mix. Use a concrete mixer to achieve a uniform consistency, ensuring all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Pour the Concrete

  • Using a shovel or rake, distribute the concrete evenly in the area to be screeded. Make sure the concrete is spread out to fill all corners and edges of the designated area.

Level the Concrete

  • Place the screed board on top of the rails. Ensure the board is long enough to span the width of the area.
  • Start at one end and move the board in a sawing motion across the surface, pushing and pulling to create a level finish. Keep the pressure even to avoid dips or high spots.

Compact the Concrete

  • Use a concrete vibrator to remove air bubbles and compact the concrete. Move the vibrator systematically across the area for uniform compaction.

Smooth the Surface

  • Use a bull float to smooth further and compact the surface. This tool will help to bring the finer particles to the surface for a smoother finish.
  • Allow the concrete to set slightly before using a hand float for a finer finish. This step is crucial for detailed areas and ensures a professional look.

Finish the Edges

  • Use a concrete edger to round off the edges for a professional look. This step enhances the appearance and adds durability, preventing chipping.

Cure the Concrete

  • Protect the newly screeded concrete from rapid drying or exposure to direct sun or wind, which can cause cracking. Cover with a curing blanket or plastic sheeting and occasionally mist with water to maintain moisture levels.

We hope that this has answered your question, “ How to Screed Concrete?” If not, let us explain other techniques for screeding concrete using DIY tools and professional equipment.

How to screed concrete by hand?

Concrete Screed

If you’re levelling a small area of a floor, like a small project or a DIY job, you can do it by hand. You’ll need the following tools:

Ready-mixed concrete, stones, tape measure, wooden screed boards for the frame, shovel, concrete rake, manual screed, and a hand trowel

What steps should you follow when screeding concrete by hand?


Ensure the concrete mix is prepared correctly and poured into the designated area.

Set up guides or forms to mark the edges and the level to which the concrete should be screeded.

Screed Selection:

Choose a straight piece of wood or metal slightly longer than the width of the pouring area.

Initial Screeding:

Position the screed at one end of the pour area, resting it on the guides.

Drag the screed across the surface in a sawing motion, filling low spots and removing excess concrete.

Final Screeding:

Repeat the process until the surface is level and smooth.

Use a bull float or magnesium float to smooth the surface further.

How to Screed Concrete by Professional Equipment?

Concrete Screed

When considering screeding over a larger space, you need to be equipped with professional screeding tools. Screeding concrete can be tricky. Using the right tools makes it more accessible. Professional equipment helps you get a smooth finish. Here’s how to do it.

Laser Screed:

Laser screeds are advanced tools that use laser technology to ensure precise levelling of concrete surfaces. These machines are equipped with sensors and laser receivers that guide the screed to achieve a perfectly flat and level surface. The laser screed moves across the concrete, automatically adjusting to maintain a consistent level, which is crucial for large-scale commercial and industrial flooring projects.

Vibrating Screed:

Vibrating screeds use vibration to help settle the concrete and remove air pockets, ensuring a more solid and stable surface. These screeds consist of a vibrating blade that spans the width of the pour area, making them ideal for large areas such as driveways, patios, and slabs. The vibration not only helps consolidate the concrete. But also provides a smoother finish, reducing the need for additional finishing work.

Roller Screed:

Roller screeds use a rotating drum to level the concrete efficiently. They can cover wide areas quickly and are particularly effective for larger pours, such as roads, bridges, and airport runways. Roller screeds can be adjusted for different thicknesses, making them versatile for various projects. The drum’s rotating action ensures a uniform surface while minimizing manual labour.

In summary,

Method Best For Advantages Disadvantages
Hand Screeding Small projects Cost-effective, simple tools Labor-intensive, less precise
Laser Screed Large commercial floors Highly precise, efficient Expensive, requires skilled operators
Vibrating Screed Medium to large areas Smooth finish, faster than hand screed It can be heavy and requires a power source
Roller Screed Large, flat surfaces Efficient, adjustable thickness Less effective on uneven or sloped areas

Additionally, here are some of the tools you require to screed concrete:

Tool/ Material Purpose
Screed Board Levelling the concrete surface.
Screed Rails/Guides Setting the concrete level and providing a resting point for the screed board.
Bull Float Initial smoothing and compacting of the concrete surface.
Hand Float Finer finishing and working out imperfections.
Concrete Rake/Shovel Moving and distributing the concrete evenly.
Concrete Vibrator Removing air bubbles ensures dense, compact concrete.
Protective Gear Gloves, boots, and safety glasses for personal protection.
Concrete Mix The primary material to be screeded.
Measuring Tools Tape measure and level for setting the height of screed rails and guides.

If you’re wondering if you need to screed your concrete floor, you’ll find relevant information and details in our previous blog:

Do I Need to Screed My Concrete Floor?

Why is it important to Screed Concrete?

Screeding concrete is essential because it offers several key benefits:

  • Screeding Concrete ensures a uniform surface free from dips and bumps. It creates a smooth and level foundation for any subsequent construction work. This is particularly important for projects requiring precise measurements and a stable base, such as flooring installations or structural components.
  • It provides a solid base for further finishing steps such as troweling or stamping. These are crucial for achieving the desired texture and appearance. This step is essential for both functional and decorative purposes. It also allows for a variety of finishes that can meet specific design requirements.
  • It helps to remove excess concrete and bring aggregates to the surface. This improves the overall strength and durability of the concrete and enhances its aesthetic appeal by ensuring an even distribution of aggregates. This gives the concrete better structural integrity and a more polished look.
  • By achieving a level surface, screeding helps prevent future issues such as cracking or uneven wear. It also extends the lifespan of the concrete structure, which is vital for long-term maintenance. It reduces the need for costly repairs and ensures the structure remains safe and reliable over time.
  • Additionally, a well-screeded surface can improve the efficiency of installing other materials, such as tiles or carpets, providing a seamless finish.

What are some common mistakes to avoid while screeding concrete?

By following these detailed steps, you can ensure your concrete project is completed with a high-quality finish. This will provide a durable and attractive surface. It will remain in excellent condition for years to come.

Some of them are:

  • Not setting the screed guide rails at the correct height can result in an uneven surface and ultimately affect the structural integrity of the concrete slab.
  • Overworking the concrete can cause the aggregate to segregate and weaken the final product, leading to potential issues with durability and performance.
  • Screeding over-dry or over-wet concrete, both of which can compromise the finish and strength. Over-dry concrete can result in a rough surface, while over-wet concrete can lead to excessive shrinkage and cracking.
  • Using the wrong screed board material for the concrete mix can affect the finish’s smoothness and level. Different concrete mixes may require different screed board materials to achieve optimal results.
  • Not properly compacting the concrete with a vibrator can lead to voids and weak spots within the slab. Proper compaction is crucial for achieving maximum strength and durability.
  • Failing to protect the screeded concrete from rapid drying or extreme weather conditions which can result in surface defects, cracking, and reduced strength. Proper curing methods should be employed to maintain the quality of the concrete.

Why Call Us to Screed Concrete?

Hiring a professional to screed concrete has many benefits. Firstly, the job gets done right. Mistakes can be costly. The London Screed Company Ltd. knows how to screed concrete expertly. We use the best tools and have a team of skilled professionals, ensuring a smooth, level surface every time.

By calling us, you save time. DIY screeding can take longer and may require multiple attempts. The London Screed Company Ltd. completes projects quickly. This means less downtime for your site. We also handle large areas with ease, making them perfect for big projects. Safety is another reason to hire experts. Concrete work can be dangerous without proper gear and knowledge. We make sure to follow all safety rules. This keeps the worksite safe for everyone.

Finally, hiring The London Screed Company Ltd. offers peace of mind. We have years of experience and many happy customers. You can trust us to deliver quality results. Whether for a small patio or a large commercial floor, we know how to screed concrete to meet your needs.