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Screed structure – get to know your floor

Screed is a jointless, resilient and flexible flooring for residential, commercial and industrial areas. Depending on the material, sealing and installation, it is possible to achieve different application goals with the screed structure, for example as a heating screed, sloping screed or as protection against aggressive chemicals. The adjustment of the screed construction height also allows precise level compensation.

Layer by layer from the shell to the finished floor

The supporting layer for your floor is the floor slabs or floor ceilings of your building. The unfinished floor is often uneven, rough and difficult to distribute loads. A top layer of screed smoothes out such unevenness. This wear layer is suitable to be covered with parquet, tiles or carpet in living rooms. In basements, garages and modern lofts, the screed often remains as an attractive utility or visible screed. Depending on the intended use, the screed structure provides for installation that is floating, gliding or firmly bonded to the substrate. The finished floor is then the totality of the raw ceiling, insulation, screed and an optional floor covering.

Composite screed – for large loads and high power transmission

The bonded screed offers the optimum conditions for withstanding the strongest permanent loads. The screed structure consists solely of the bare floor, the selected screed and an optional covering. For the bonded screed, your screed layer will choose a screed with similar deformation characteristics to the underlying floor slab and ensure a strong and durable bond. This results in optimum power transmission over the entire contact surface.

The typical screed construction height is quite slim and is only about 20 mm for mastic asphalt screed and about 25 to 30 mm for cement screed. Composite screed does not provide any impact or sound protection and is therefore mainly used for industrial areas, underground garages or heavily used basements.

Sliding screed – strong for basements and terraces

If the load requirements are low or if the substrate does not allow a bond with the screed, a bonded screed is the best solution. The screed structure consists of the bare floor, a slippery separation layer, the screed and an optional covering. The single- or double-layer release liner made of plastic-impregnated paper, raw glass nonwoven or thin polyethylene film reduces friction with the substrate. This allows the screed to safely compensate for minor deformations and movements when loaded by the sliding movement.

Since the separating layer hardly bears up, the screed build-up height is mainly determined by the thickness of the screed. The minimum thickness for bonded screeds according to DIN 18560 (screeds in construction) is 45 millimeters for cement screeds and 15 millimeters for synthetic resin screeds. Slip screed provides only minimal sound and heat insulation and is used in residential construction mainly for basements, terraces and balconies.

Floating screed – ideal for all living areas

In the case of floating screed, the processed screed is not in contact with the bare floor or rising structural components at any point. The screed structure consists of the bare floor, an insulation layer lined with barrier layers, the screed and a floor covering. Expansion joints isolate the floating screed from the walls and prevents sound and thermal bridges. As a result, this processing manages to provide very good thermal and impact sound insulation.

The screed thickness for cement screed is about 40-45 millimeters. The thickness of the insulation, the floor covering and an optional underfloor heating system must be added to the total screed thickness. If the floating screed serves as a uniform heat distribution for underfloor heating, experts also speak of a heating screed.

As a screed layer, we are happy to support you in your planning, the selection of suitable types of screed and the determination of your screed construction height for level compensation. The same applies to the selection of suitable insulation materials. Feel free to share this article with friendly builders who also want to learn about screed construction.

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