The screed is an often unseen but often vital part of the floor.
In amongst a floor’s many layers (starting most often with a concrete substrate, the screed and then potentially acoustic insulation, underfloor heating or even a damp proof membrane underneath the final coating or finish) the screed is responsible not only for levelling out the concrete substrate but also serving as a retaining system for any of the additional flooring components.
If it is properly applied the screed need never be seen throughout the entire lifespan of the building. However if incorrectly laid then it could cause the entire floor build-up to fail! Necessitating costly patch repairs, specialist treatments or even an entire relaying of the floor.
To help avoid screed failures Flowcrete has produced an informative whitepaper and a slideshare presentation on the topic. The whitepaper goes into particular detail on how to install underfloor heating without compromising either the screed or the effectiveness of the heating system.
The whitepaper and presentation show that the main causes of failure usually occur during the installation process. If it is not properly applied then developers will often have to deal with flooring problems such as sand pockets, hollow finishes, weakness, blistering, curling and debonding when instead they should be progressing to the next stage of the project.
Incorrect mixing, ineffective vapour transmission or inadequately prepared substrates are just a few parts of the installation process to be aware of; however the specific cause of failure could vary depending on the type of screed and method of application.
Whilst there are general rules that can be followed to prevent a failure, the whitepaper explains that each aspect of the subfloor zone needs to work together. A comprehensive knowledge of the requirements, properties and capabilities of every element is essential to ensuring that the floor is properly installed and that it will function effectively throughout the lifetime of the building.
If the screed suppliers are not involved in the flooring design then it is much more likely to fail at some stage, as the specific qualities of the screed and how it interacts with the materials around it may not be realised.
To minimise the risk of screed failures Flowcrete has developed the Floorzone solution, which gives clients the ability to source every part of the floor from one single supplier who fully understands how each component works together.
Click here to find out more about all of these areas of screed failure and how you can make sure that they don’t affect your floor.