Why use a wet screed to level a floor when dry screed options are available?

Why use a wet screed to level a floor when dry screed options are available?

09/08/2019

In today’s fast paced building environment, it’s no surprise that more and more contractors are looking for ways to improve build speed. From foundations through to finishing, if there’s a time saving to be made, it’s worth exploring.  After all, time is money, as the adage goes.

And manufacturers like James Hardie are working at a pace to keep on top of product innovation that does just that; speeds up installation and build times to make labour savings for installers. Waiting times are unwanted, and getting back on a job to push a project to completion to time and on budget is the order of the day.

As such, innovation is taking place in every facet of building engineering, from advanced under floor heating systems to quick drying render.

When it comes to screed options, there are a plethora of wet screeds available; from sand and cement liquid or calcium sulphate through to pumped anhydrite screed. Indeed wet screed accounts for over 90% of the market.  Yet, is this the most cost and labour effective option? 

There are several issues with using liquid screed. Firstly, and particularly in the case of anhydrite screed, it can be very costly.  There is also a lot of preparation to do: tanking, insulating, and accurately estimating liquid volumes needed – this is particularly challenging where uneven floors are concerned. Moisture penetration can also pose problems, with wet screed susceptible to cracking. 

But lastly and most significantly, drying times can hold up building works for an extended time period, causing disruption mid build and requiring very tight planning to ensure work across multiple jobs is well co-ordinated.  This can be extremely problematic for even the most organized contractor.  With a one day minimum drying time per mm of screed, the average dry time can be well in excess of two months. 

Conversely, dry screed options remove this risk, with most methods ready to work on the very next day. Engineered systems such as fermacell™ gypsum fibre flooring offers a dry screed overlay (available in several thicknesses) which optimizes both acoustic and thermal performance.  There is no drying time and a fermacell floor is ready to work on the next day, eliminating the need for wet trades completely.   The complementary self levelling compound levels off the most uneven of floors, and the overlay flooring has an interlock system for quick and easy installation.

So why are we still using outdated screeding methods?  Much of the answer lies with tradition.  Sometimes it is challenging to change mindsets when ‘it isn’t broken’.  But modern construction requires modern materials, and fortunately early adopters are now making the switch to contemporary dry screed alternatives.

Find out more about the options available by clicking here.
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