• What Is Screed?

    | by Holly Wood

    Screed is the unassuming material that bridges the gap between the structural foundation and the finished surface, serving as the crucial middle layer that ensures a building’s strength, stability, and functionality. From the concrete floors beneath our feet to the perfectly levelled surfaces of our tiled bathrooms, screed is the hidden foundation that makes it all possible. But what is screed? Read on to find out.

    The Basics of Screed

    At its heart, screed represents a layer of material, usually crafted from concrete or a mixture of sand and cement. 

    It serves as the intermediate layer between the structural foundation and the finished surface in buildings and infrastructure projects.

    Contractors apply screed directly atop concrete slabs, providing the essential base for the final floor finish, whether it involves the installation of wood flooring, tiles, or any other preferred finishing material.

    Its use distributes weight evenly and helps prevent cracking or settlement of the finished surface. What’s more, by adding reinforcing materials like fine metal or glass mesh, its durability and strength can be further enhanced.

    Types of Screed

    Each type has its unique properties and applications, making it suitable for different construction scenarios.

    1. Bonded Screed: In this case, builders directly bond screed to a concrete base. This ensures a robust connection and structural integrity. It proves particularly useful when enhancing strength.
    2. Unbonded Screed: In contrast, unbonded screed doesn’t attach directly to the concrete base. Instead, it remains separated by a damp proof membrane. This approach is especially beneficial in internal floor applications, particularly when there is a need for additional features like moisture protection.
    3. Floating Screed: A floating screed finds its place atop an insulation layer, avoiding direct contact with the concrete subfloor.
      In underfloor heating systems, builders commonly use this approach to facilitate the installation of underfloor heating pipes without compromising the floor’s structural integrity.

    Screed Applications

    Its use extends well beyond residential projects and extends to a wide array of applications in commercial and industrial settings.

    • Concrete Flooring: Screed is used to provide a smooth and level surface for concrete flooring. It ensures that the concrete aims for structural integrity and a long-lasting finish.
    • Underfloor Heating Systems: Screed is often incorporated into underfloor heating systems, providing an ideal base for the installation of heating pipes. This ensures efficient heat distribution throughout the space.
    • Commercial Locations: In commercial locations, screeds are used to create a level surface for various finishing materials. It accommodates the vast majority of flooring options.
    • Construction Industry: The construction industry relies heavily on screeds to achieve the desired level surface for a wide range of applications.


    Common materials used include cement mixtures, sharp sand, and, in some cases, hard core aggregates.

    The Drying Process

    This process is crucial for it to set and harden properly. The time required for drying can vary depending on factors such as the type used and environmental conditions. It’s essential to allow sufficient drying time before proceeding with the installation of the final floor finish.


    In conclusion, screed is an integral component of construction that provides a level and smooth surface for various applications. Its ability to provide a stable, level surface contributes to the overall quality, safety, and longevity of structures.

    Understanding its different types and applications is essential for any construction project. With a thorough understanding and proper installation, you can ensure the structural integrity and functionality of your floors.

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