Floor screeding helps keep floors level and even before a final finish – but how much does this particular job cost?
During any kind of home refurbishment or development, one of the most important stages of laying a new floor is the application of appropriate floor screeding. Screed is a mixture of sand, water, cement and other sand-based aggregates that helps create a sturdy, even layer of flooring that works as a perfect base for any kind of final flooring material, from wood to linoleum or even carpet. As the final wearing surface before a finish is applied, it’s therefore important to get the floor screeding right first time – after all, a poorly done job will only end up costing you more in expensive repairs anyway.
What is floor screed?
Specifically, the term ‘floor screed’ actually refers to the strips of wood or metal used by builders and labourers to level off a horizontal surface – such as a floor – and make sure the mix of concrete (or equivalent material) is spread evenly across the room for a final, smooth finish before refurbishment.
Such screeds (or ‘sleepers’) are usually accurately levelled strips of various lengths that are pressure treated to prevent moisture or insects from penetrating to the surface, as well as to provide a sturdy base for furniture and other heavy household items that are moved in when the house is inhabited and to protect internal wiring and pipe work below the floor from any lasting damage by human interference.
They are snapped into place and held firm with concrete screws (which are more durable than metal nails) and laid perpendicular to the walls for a clear guide to even application. The term ‘applying floor screed’, however, generally refers to the entire process of covering the floor with a primary base of concrete or cement using such levelling strips.
How can I help?
- Firstly, go over the bare floor with a broom or dustpan to rake out any loose material that may otherwise ruin the mixed screed; any holes deeper than 5mm should also be filled in and levelled out with a trowel so you start with a clean, flat surface.
- Secondly, scrub away any grease or oil stains and allow the dampened areas to dry for at least 24 hours.
- You should also remove any existing skirting boards if you haven’t already done so, as the screed will generally have to be covered in an even coat across the entire floor.
Hiring a Professional Floor Screeder
So why hire a professional contractor to apply the floor screed for you? Well, if you lack experience in this particular area, mixing cement can be a tricky task that takes a few goes to get right – it’s always better to rely on those with years of training and experience behind them instead. A fully qualified floor screeder will, for instance, be able to:
- Clear the area before getting started, removing the skirting boards and sealing the floors as and where appropriate, cleaning the floor with proper sanding equipment to avoid bits of grit and dirt mixing with the screed further down the line.
- Mix the cement so it’s suitable for the climate, materials and environment of your particular property.
- Offer a variety of different screeds and let you know about the differences, benefits and drawbacks of all the types of screed on the market, from traditional to free-flowing and structural screed.
- Avoid damaging the floor or any other part of the property while mixing and laying the screed in your home.
- Use the latest technology and cement-mixing equipment to ensure the floor is laid as quickly and evenly as possible.
- Restrict the approach of site-traffic and/or heavy loads on industrial unit or warehouse floor screed applications.
- Leave the floor to dry for somewhere between 35-50 days, carrying out regular inspections at pre-determined intervals to ensure it remains undamaged and is settling properly.
- Provide a skilled labour workforce to help get the job done to your utmost satisfaction, and to an agreed timetable that means you’ll have your home back just when you need it.
- Offer a competitive price-plan that suits your home development and budgetary needs.
Cost of Floor Screeding
Sand & cement screed costs around £15-£16 per m2, and flowing screed costs between £17-£18 per m2 . For labour alone cost you will need to pay around £10 per square metre.
The cost of floor screeding will depend on a number of different factors such as:
- The type of screed.
- The quality of floor screed you will use
- The size of the floor
- The extend of your home improvement.
As a result, coming up with a projected figure before your chosen builder carries out a preliminary inspection can be incredibly difficult.
Still, there are some ways of estimating the cost before you sign on a dotted line. According to www.homebuilding.co.uk, for instance, screeding a floor of around 100 square metre, at a depth of 50mm, should cost somewhere between £1900 – £3000 – although you might be able to reduce this figure if you combine the screed and your finished floor with the same contractor.
This is, however, just an estimate from a single online source, and for the most up-to-date information you should request a number of different quotes from a variety of different contractors, both from online retailers and local tradesmen. Remember, only by shopping around for a good deal are you guaranteed to find a cost price for floor screeding that suits your budget!