Screed and Self Leveling

Difference between Screed and Self Leveling Compound

When it comes to flooring solutions, screed and self-leveling often come up. Both these materials are vital for constructing and finishing floors, but being important does not mean they are the same thing. Each serves different purposes and possesses distinct properties. You must understand the key differences between screed and self-leveling compounds to ensure excellent flooring. It is a known fact that:

Self-leveling compounds can save upto 50% of the time required for floor preparation compared to traditional screeds.

Based on this fact, a self-leveling compound is the best choice for your flooring needs. But another point is that.

Eco-friendly screeds and those using recycled materials will make up 15% of the market by 2024. 

As per this stat, a screed might be the better option.

This is where we come in. This blog will explore the definition, importance, and, most importantly, the difference between screed and self-leveling compound.

What is a Screed?

Screed and Self Leveling

Screed is a mixture of sharp sand and cement applied to a floor base. It creates a smooth, level surface for the final floor finish, such as tiles, carpet, or wood. Screed can be of many types, like traditional sand and cement screeds, flowing screeds, bonded and unbonded screeds, etc.

This layer enhances the floor’s appearance and provides a durable and stable base for various floor coverings, such as tiles, carpets, or wooden flooring. Properly applied screed ensures an even and polished finish, essential for both residential and commercial construction projects.

Importance of Screed:

Screed is essential for creating a durable, level base that can handle heavy load-bearing floor coverings like tiles, stones, or hardwood. It ensures a smooth and even surface, reducing the risk of cracks or shifting over time.

Additionally, a well-laid screed helps in effective load distribution. This enhances the overall longevity and stability of the flooring.

To know more about screed, its types and applications check out our blog:


What is a Self-Leveling Compound?

Screed and Self Leveling

A self-leveling compound is a chemical mixture poured onto a substrate to create a flat surface. It is designed to flow and settle evenly. This allows automatic filling in low spots and creates a smooth, level floor without troweling.

This innovative material simplifies the process of creating a smooth, even surface, making it ideal for preparing subfloors to install tile, carpet, or other flooring materials. By eliminating the need for extensive manual leveling, self-leveling compound saves both time and effort in achieving professional-quality results.

Some other aspects include:

Structural Integrity: Screeds provide a stable and solid base, enhancing the floor’s structural integrity.

Durability: They offer long-term durability and support for various floor finishes.

Flexibility: You can use screeds in various settings, ranging from residential to commercial projects.

Importance of Self-Leveling Compound:

The self-leveling compound, including flow screed, is essential for quick and easy minor floor corrections. It ensures a smooth and even surface, preparing the floor for various coverings such as vinyl, carpet, or laminate. This enhances the overall finish and durability of the installation. By using this compound, you can achieve professional results with minimal effort. The self-leveling compound also ensures that your floor coverings adhere correctly and last longer over time.

Some other aspects include:

Precision: Self-leveling compounds ensure a perfectly level surface, critical for specific flooring, such as vinyl and tiles.

Time-Saving: They dry quickly, allowing for faster project completion.

Ease of Use: The application process is straightforward, requiring less manual labor compared to traditional screeding.

Difference between Screed and Self-leveling Compound

Both materials, Screed and Self-leveling compounds, are understood to have different properties. Here is a detailed table on the difference between screed and self-leveling compound:

Screed Vs. Self- Leveling Compound
Feature Screed Self-Leveling Compound
Definition A mixture of sharp sand and cement A chemical mixture that flows and settles
Primary Use Creating a solid, level base for flooring Smoothing out uneven surfaces
Application Method Manually spread and leveled with tools Poured and self-levels
Thickness 30mm to 100mm 2mm to 10mm
Drying Time Several weeks A few hours to a day
Load-Bearing Capacity High, suitable for heavy-duty applications Moderate, mainly for a smooth finish
Load-Bearing Capacity High, ideal for heavy-duty applications Moderate, mainly for a smooth finish
Surface Finish Generally rough and needs final finishing Smooth, ready for final floor covering
Ease of Application Requires skill and labor-intensive Easy to apply, self-levels with minimal effort
Material Cost Generally lower Higher
Labor Cost Higher due to manual leveling Lower due to ease of application
Preparation Time More time-consuming due to manual work Quick application, less preparation needed
Suitability for DIY Challenging for DIY, better suited for professionals DIY-friendly due to ease of use
Repair and Maintenance Durable and low maintenance once cured More accessible to repair localized spots
Shrinkage and Cracking Prone to shrinkage and cracking if not properly cured Less prone to cracking, but can still occur
Environmental Conditions It can be affected by temperature and humidity Generally more stable in varying conditions
Shrinkage and Cracking Prone to shrinkage and cracking if not properly cured Less prone to cracking, but can still occur
Environmental Conditions It can be affected by temperature and humidity Generally more stable in varying conditions
Compatibility with Floor Types Suitable for all types of floor coverings Best for tiles, vinyl, and laminate
Setting Time for Use Long setting time before use Quick setting, can be walked on within hours
Bonding Requirement Often needs bonding agents for better adhesion Usually includes bonding agents in a mix

We hope that the difference between the screed and the self-leveling compound is clear. Let’s proceed with making and applying screed and self-leveling compound.

Which is Better for Your Project: Screed or Self-Leveling Compound?

When undertaking any construction or renovation project, understanding the materials and techniques involved is crucial. This knowledge is essential for achieving the desired results. People often discuss two materials: screed and self-leveling compounds. Each has its unique properties and applications. In this section, we will delve into the process. We will compare the processes of screed vs self-leveling compound to help determine the best choice for your project needs.

Screed Application Process

  1. Preparation: Thoroughly clean the subfloor to remove dust, debris, or grease. Apply a suitable primer to enhance adhesion and strengthen the bond between the screed and the subfloor.
  2. Mixing: Combine the required amounts of cement, sand, and water in a large mixing container. Mix thoroughly until you achieve a consistent, lump-free mixture.
  3. Application: Manually spread the mixture across the subfloor, using guides such as battens to maintain an even thickness. Ensure that the screed is distributed uniformly to prevent any weak spots.
  4. Finishing: Use a trowel to smooth the surface, ensuring it is level and free from imperfections. Allow the screed to cure correctly, which can take several days, depending on the conditions.

Self-Leveling Compound Process

  1. Preparation: First, clean the subfloor to remove dust, dirt, or grease. Then, apply an appropriate primer to promote better adhesion of the self-levelling compound to the subfloor.
  2. Mixing: In a mixing bucket, combine the premixed self-leveling compound with the specified amount of water. Stir well until you get a smooth, homogeneous mixture without any lumps.
  3. Application: Pour the mixture onto the subfloor and spread it out using a spreader or trowel. The compound will naturally flow and level itself out, covering the entire surface.
  4. Leveling: Since the compound is self-leveling, minimal manual spreading is required. However, you may need to gently guide it into corners and edges to ensure complete coverage.
  5. Drying: Allow the compound to dry thoroughly before applying any floor coverings. The drying time can vary based on the product used and the environmental conditions. Ensure it is scorched to avoid any future issues with the floor coverings.

Ultimately, the best option for your project depends on the specific needs and requirements of your application. Consult a professional to determine the most suitable product for your flooring goals. So, carefully evaluate your project’s needs and choose the right solution for a successful flooring installation. Whether it’s screed vs self-leveling compound, both offer reliable options for creating a strong, level base for your flooring. The right choice will ensure a long-lasting, professional finish that meets the demands of your space. Don’t forget to follow the practical tips and manufacturer instructions for a seamless application process. With these considerations in mind, you can confidently select the best product for your project and achieve a beautiful, durable flooring result. Get ready to elevate your floors with screed.

Why call The London Screed Company Ltd.?

Choosing the right flooring solution can be tricky. This is where The London Screed Company Ltd. comes in. Our team understands “ Screed vs. Self-Levelling Compound” and will suggest the best choice for your project.

We offer expert advice and ensure the job is done right the first time. Our skilled team works quickly and efficiently. We use top-quality materials so you get a smooth and strong finish.

Calling us saves you time and stress. We handle everything from start to finish. You can trust us to make your floor look and perform its best.

Contact us today for the best “Screed vs Self Levelling Compound” advice and services. Let us achieve the perfect floor for your space.