make liquid screed

How to make liquid screed?

If you’re wondering how to make liquid screed for your residential or commercial project, you’ve come to the right place. Creating a level and smooth finish has never been easier than using liquid screed. Although it is an easy process, but still requires professional help and consideration. A DIY project without proper knowledge can be disastrous for your project. Lucky for you, we have the answer right here!

About 60% of new residential projects use liquid screed for underfloor heating systems. Compared to traditional screeds, liquid screeds can reduce installation time by 50%. So we can safely say that liquid screed is the new trend!

We’ll guide you through the whole process of making liquid screed perfectly. We’ll cover its cost, prepare the floor, and much more. Firstly, you must understand liquid screed and why it is vital for modern construction projects.

What is Liquid Screed?

Liquid screed, often called flowing screed, creates a smooth and level surface on a concrete floor using a self-leveling fluid mixture. It is easier to make liquid screed than a traditional sand and cement screed. It smoothly flows to fill gaps and holes in the already laid floor. Unlike traditional sand and cement screeds, which require more manual effort, liquid screed is an easy-going and long-lasting solution.

Why is Liquid Screed Important for Construction Projects?

Liquid screed is essential in modern construction projects. Contractors and other professionals consider it due to its efficiency. It is also favored for its ease of application and high-quality finish. If you consider all elements in equal proportions, you can quickly make liquid screed. Once prepared, you can lay the screed on the floor much faster than cement and sand mixtures. Its rapid installation and drying time make it an excellent choice for projects with short construction time.

Additionally, liquid screed offers superior thermal conductivity. This makes it an ideal option for buildings with underfloor heating systems. Liquid screed ensures the heat distribution is even throughout the residential or commercial building. Its versatility and performance benefits have made liquid screed popular among builders and contractors. Even homeowners going for a renovation prefer liquid screed due to its smooth finish and durable flooring solution.

What is the purpose of using liquid screed?

The primary goal of liquid screed is to create a smooth, level surface. It is best for floor coverings like tiles, carpets, or hardwood. Liquid screed is a self-leveling compound that flows easily. It fills all gaps and provides an even base.

Liquid screed improves the durability and looks of floors. It removes irregularities and ensures a flawless finish. It also saves time and labor. It sets quickly and is easy to apply.

Moreover, it makes underfloor heating systems more efficient. It provides better heat distribution.

How to Prepare Liquid Screed?

Preparing liquid screed involves a meticulous process to ensure optimal results. This includes the correct mixing of materials and proper application techniques. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to effectively prepare liquid screed. Properly making liquid screed ensures a durable and even finish for flooring projects.

Ingredients Required

To make liquid screed, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC): The primary binder holds the mix together. It provides the necessary strength and durability.

Aggregates (sand and gravel): These provide bulk to the screed and contribute to its strength and structural integrity.

Water: Essential for hydration and achieving the desired consistency of the screed mix.

Plasticizers or Superplasticizers: These additives improve the screed’s workability, allowing it to flow more easily and achieve a smoother finish.

Fibers (optional, for added strength): Fibers can be added to enhance the tensile strength and reduce the risk of cracking.

Tools Needed

For the preparation and application of liquid screed, you’ll need:

Mixing vessel or a forced action mixer: This ensures a homogenous mix, which is crucial for the quality of the final screed.

Trowel: Used for spreading and smoothing the screed to achieve an even surface.

Straightedge or Screed Rail: Helps level the screed to the desired thickness.

Spirit Level: Ensures the screed is applied evenly without slopes or uneven areas.

Gloves and protective eyewear: Essential for safety to protect your hands and eyes from cement and dust.

Measuring containers or scales: Accurately measuring ingredients is crucial for achieving the right mix consistency.

Paddle mixer (for large quantities): Useful for mixing large matches of screed quickly and efficiently

Pump or delivery hose (for larger areas): Facilitates the distribution of screed over large surfaces, ensuring even application and reducing labor time.

Now that all necessary tools and ingredients are in order, you can make liquid screed. Of course, some necessary steps need to be followed accurately.

Let us help you by simplifying the mixture to make liquid screed:

Material Ratio
Fine Aggregates (Sand) 150kg or 3 parts
Ordinary Portland Cement 50kg or 1 part
Plasticizers 200ml or as needed
Water 25 liters or as needed
Coarse Aggregates (Gravel) 100 kg or as needed

Step-by-Step Instructions to Make Liquid Screed

make liquid screed

Here is a step-by-step guide to adequately making liquid screed:

1. Measure Ingredients

Measure precisely the required amount of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and various aggregates, water, plasticizers, and fibers. Accurate measurement is crucial for achieving the correct consistency and performance characteristics.

2. Combine Dry Materials

Combine the dry materials in a clean or forced-action mixer for a homogenous blend. Ensure thorough mixing to affect the final strength and consistency of the screed.

3. Add Water and Plasticizers

Add the water gradually and plasticizers to the dry mix while continuously mixing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount of additives. This ensures the desired workability and flow characteristics.

4. Achieve Desired Consistency

Continue mixing until you achieve a uniform, workable, and flowable consistency. The mix should be pourable and self-leveling but not too runny. If the mix is too thick, it will be difficult to spread. If too thin, it may not be appropriately set.

5. Pour and Spread

Immediately pour the liquid screed onto the prepared subfloor in sections. Ensure the subfloor is clean and primed if necessary, and use a trowel to spread and level the screed evenly. This avoids any setting before spreading is complete.

6. Level the Screed

Use a straight edge or screed rail to level the screed by moving it back and forth in a sawing motion. This technique smooths out the screed and removes air bubbles, ensuring an even surface.

7. Check for Levelness

Check the levelness with a spirit level. Make any necessary adjustments while the screed is still wet. This ensures the finished surface is perfectly level.

8. Allow to Cure

Allow the liquid screed to set and cure per the manufacturer’s guidelines. During the curing process, maintain the specified temperature. Ensure appropriate humidity conditions. This helps achieve proper hardening and strength development.

9. Clean Tools

Clean all tools and equipment immediately after use to prevent the mix from hardening on them. Use water and appropriate cleaning agents. Remove all remnants of the mixture. This will prolong the lifespan of your tools and equipment.

By following these detailed steps, you can ensure a high-quality finish and optimal performance for your liquid screed application.

How to prepare your floor for Liquid Screeding?

Screeding applications do not stop at just making the liquid screed. It has other aspects, such as preparing your floor for liquid screeding. Here are some ways you can prepare your floor for liquid screeding:

Surface Preparation

Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and free of debris or contaminants. Sweep or vacuum the area thoroughly to remove dust and dirt. Remove any loose material, such as old adhesive or paint flakes, and fill any significant gaps or cracks with a suitable filler. Ensure the surface is level and stable to create an optimal foundation for the screed.

Moisture Testing

Perform moisture testing to ensure the subfloor is at the appropriate moisture level for screeding. Use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content across different subfloor areas. Excess moisture can affect the screed’s performance and lead to issues such as cracking. Ensure the subfloor is within acceptable moisture limits as specified by the screed manufacturer before proceeding.

Priming the Substrate

Apply a suitable primer to the subfloor to improve the adhesion of the liquid screed. The primer helps to seal the subfloor and prevent air bubbles from forming in the liquid screed. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of premier to use and the application method. Usually, the primer is applied with a roller or brush in a thin, even layer. Allow the primer to dry completely before applying the liquid screed.

You can also keep a checklist to check out the preparation process of your floor. Let us provide one for you:

Task Completed (Yes/ No)
Cleaned Surface
Installed Insulation
Installed Damp Proof Membrane
Applied Primer
Installed Perimeter Foam
Laid Underfloor Heating Pipes
Checked Levels with a laser

For a detailed view into floor preparation for liquid screed, check out our blog:

How to Prepare Floor for Liquid Screed?

How Much Does Liquid Screed Cost?

The cost to make liquid screed varies significantly based on several factors. These factors include the type of screed, the size of the area to be covered, and regional pricing differences. Generally, contractors calculate the cost per square meter (m²). Basic liquid screed types typically range from £15 to £25 per m². Specialized screeds designed for underfloor heating systems or rapid drying can cost more, ranging from £25 to £40 per m².

Consider additional costs such as surface preparation, moisture testing, and any necessary priming before application. Don’t forget to account for labor costs, which vary depending on the project’s complexity and duration. Obtain multiple quotes from reputable contractors to ensure a competitive price and high-quality workmanship.

You can also read about liquid screeding costs in detail in our blog:

How much does it cost to screed a floor?

Why Hire a Professional Screed Company?

At The London Screed Company Ltd., we make liquid screed application seamless and stress-free. Our experts know the perfect mix of proportions and use top-notch tools to ensure a flawless finish. We meticulously prepare the subfloor, checking moisture levels and priming the surface perfectly.

Our team’s precise measurements and advanced techniques guarantee impeccable mixing and laying of the screed. We also closely monitor the curing process to prevent rapid drying or cracking, covering the screed and maintaining optimal conditions for proper hardening.

We take pride in delivering a level and durable surface, which is especially important for projects with underfloor heating. Trust The London Screed Company Ltd. to get the job done right the first time, giving you peace of mind and exceptional results.