If you’ve ever wondered what the floor screeding cost is, it’s unlikely that you would’ve found a definite answer. This is largely because it depends on various factors which can determine floor screeding prices. However, at Ralph Plastering, we are committed to being as transparent with our pricing as possible.
As such, this article will dig deep into the different types of screeding, what the screeding cost is, and which type of screeding is the best for your situation.
What is Screeding?
According to Constructor.org, screeding is the process of cutting off the excess wet concrete to bring the top surface of a slab to the proper grade and smoothness.
In other words, it helps with providing your property floor with flat surfaces and also cover underfloor heating. It also allows you to bring the surface of the floor to any desired elevation. This is especially useful if you want the flooring to be lifted up from the ground level.
Screeds are generally more applicable to concrete floors that need to be prepared before the installation of a floor covering, such as tiles, carpet or timber.
Factors that affect screeding cost
- Screed type: as detailed further down in our article, choosing one of the three main types of screed will have an influence on the price. Typically, liquid screed has a more expensive material and preparation cost overall.
- Screed depth: this cost factor is directly related to the volume of screed required to reach the minimum depth requirements for your project.
- Floor size: as to be expected, the larger the area of the floor needing screeding the bigger the overall project cost, both with increased material and labour charges. However, the per m2 cost could be lower for larger spaces.
- Location: Transport and material costs are going be a big factor. This can major determinant for your screeding cost too. In this instance, it’s best to look for screeders in your local area who can help minimise transport costs. For instance, at Ralph Plastering, our screeding services are based in South London serving various locations around the area.
- Drying time: Certain types of screed have longer drying times which can affect the amount you will pay.
Different Types of Screeding
In a previous article on the comparison between dry vs liquid screeding, we identified the difference between dry vs liquid flooring. We will be discovering more types below in terms of what it is, benefits of each and how much they cost.
What is liquid screed?
Liquid screed, also known as flowing screed, is fast becoming the industry standard in floor screeds. It’s a quicker way of applying screed compared to the conventional method. They’re ideal for both commercial and domestic buildings and uses smaller and fewer aggregates that creates a flowing, liquid-like consistency.
Benefits of liquid screed
- Faster application method: They can be poured to the surface instead of applying it piece by piece. This makes the process much quicker.
- Energy efficient: The energy required to spread and distribute the floor evenly is less thereby making it a more environmentally friendly option to screeding.
- More flexibility: Given its higher tenacity and strength, they can be used in places that have more footfall which is ideal for commercial and industrial projects.
- Shorter project timeframe: Forced drying helps make liquid screeds suitable for light foot traffic in 24-48 hours.
How much does liquid screeding cost?
Depending on timelines, materials used and application method, liquid screeding cost between the range of £18 – £24 per m2. This does not include labour or the necessary costs for additional equipment or services.
Given the benefits mentioned above, it is worth noting that that liquid screeding is comparatively a superior option which is reflected in its premium price.
Sand & Cement Screed
What is Sand & Cement Screed?
Sand cement screed is usually a cementitious material made from a 1:3 or 1:4.5 ratio of cement to sharp sand. Once installed, they should be allowed to dry naturally. Given a favourable climatic condition on site, they can be opened to foot and light vehicular traffic after four days and full site traffic after seven days.
Benefits of Sand & Cement Screed
- It can be laid into falls which helps in easily and efficiently disposing any excess water
- Fully bonded, partially bonded and un-bonded screeds can all be achieved with sand and cement screed.
- If any reinforcement is needed within the sand and cement screed, they can be looked at individually.
How much does Sand & Cement screed cost?
On average, depending on the ratio of the materials used, drying time and materials used, a basic cement and sand screed will cost between £14 and £18 per m2.
What is lightweight screed?
Lightweight screeds are generally used for surfaces that require less thickness (between 20mm to 50mm). However, because of the nature of lightweight concrete, the surface finish is not as smooth as for standard cement or liquid screed.
Benefits of lightweight screed
- Lower weight per square meter
- They have very low thermal conductivity and is therefore non-combustible
- It has a reduced sound transmission on impact
- Less chances of breaking into smaller pieces on impact
How much does lightweight screed cost?
Lightweight screeds are generally cheaper compared to other types of screeding given the use of less materials. It typically ranges between £12 and £15 per m2.
What is unbonded screed?
Unbonded screed is a type of mix is fitted on top of a damp-proof membrane thereby separating the screen from the concrete. This membrane helps to limit any damage that might be caused by settlement, dampness and shrinkage.
Unlike other types of screeding however, with unbonded screed, you need to be extra careful with drying process; if it’s too fast, the edges of the screed can warp or curl.
Benefits of unbonded screed
- Protection against dampness: Given the damp-proof membrane, it’s an ideal choice for environments where damp could pose a serious problem.
- Less shrinkage: If the drying process is done correctly, it reduces the risk of shrinkage.
What is bonded screed?
Bonded screed us a type of screed that has a substrate being wholly bonded to the screed with an adhesive. It is generally the screed of choice where heavy loading is a major part of the project.
Benefits of bonded screed
- They are suitable for heavy loading projects
- Performs better than partially bonded screed
Bonded screeding cost
In general, it will likely cost between £1 and £3 per kg to purchase bonded screed which has a thickness of around 25-40mm. This however does not include labour and equipment hiring charges which can amount to between £12 and £14 per m2.
What is floating screed?
Floating screed are mainly used in flooring structures with underfloor heating or in cases where thermal insulation is needed. They are generally fitted at a depth of about 3.5cm.
By installing floating screed above the insulation present, it can improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Benefits of floating screed
- Improved energy efficiency: It can be a environmentally friendly solution when used with an ecofriendly calcium sulphate binder
- Quicker application: On average, approximately 1,500m2 can be applied which can vary depending on level of expertise.
Floating screed cost
The average cost of floating screed ranges between £10 – £16 per m2. If the application rate per day is increased, the costs can come down too.
Self Levelling Screed
What is self levelling screed
Self levelling screed is commonly used for levelling of pour substrates that are required to lay tiles, carpets etc. Given its strength and resistance to abrasion, it can also be used as a flooring finish in itself. Additionally, they can be applied over concrete or screed.
The installation thickness may vary however, there are solutions that range from 0mm up to 40mm in one application.
Benefits of self levelling screed
- Quick dry: Self-levelling screeds are fast drying and depending on the product, the surface can accommodate foot traffic within 3-24 hours after it has been applied.
- Faster project completion: Given its quick dry feature, it benefits from shorter project timelines.
- Lightweight: making it suitable for larger construction sites.
Self levelling screed cost
The cost per m2 for self levelling screed can largely vary based on the floor area. The larger the area, the average cost can come down significantly. To illustrate with some actual numbers, a typical self levelling screed cost for 2000 m2 would be around £10/m2 whereas for a 100 m2, it would be approximately £16/m2.
How much screed do you need for a floor?
To determine screed quantity required for your flooring project, you would need the following information:
- Measurements of the width of the flooring area
- Measurements of the length of the flooring area
- The required thickness for the screed
- Sand to Cement ratio (for certain types of screeding only)
Once you have these data, you could use a Screed Volume calculator to determine how much screed you need for a floor.
How is screed made?
The main ingredients to make screed are cement, sand and water. Usually, most screeds follow a ratio of 1:3 to 1:4.5 of cement to sand. There are more enhanced versions of screeds which include additives that help improve the properties of the standard screed. These include extra strength or faster drying capabilities.
Most screeds are anhydrite compounds which allow screeders to cover larger areas more quickly. You must however ensure this type of screed dries completely.
Additionally, depending on the varying climatic conditions around the area, care must also be taken to account for the expansion and contraction of screeds to some degree. This includes having expansion joints or crack inducer cuts in the screed to allow movement without cracking.
How to prepare a floor base for screeding?
Before applying screed, you would need to ensure that the base is thoroughly clear of any dirt or debris. Preparing the base is an important step in the process of applying any type of screed. It would make the screed to adhere to it better which can help avoid problems in the future.
The preparation can vary – whether it’s a rough or smooth based – depending on the type of screed you choose. The depth of the screed should also be considered based on the how fragile the screed is.
Based on our analysis for various determinants that go in to determining how much does floor screeding cost, it is important to choose the right type of screeding that suits your needs.
Undoubtedly, liquid screed is a popular choice given its wide use cases, durability and several other benefits discussed above. Though the initial investment may seem steep compared to the other methods, the cost of maintenance is going to be much less providing you great value for money over its useful life.
If you require liquid screeding services, please feel more than welcome to get in touch with our team and we will get back to you with a free quote.