A self levelling compound is a chemical mixture whose main use is filling dips in wooden floors, smoothing uneven concrete floors and serving as sub floors before the addition of final coverings such as stone, carpet or ceramic tiles. It particularly comes in handy when preparing floors for tiling, as even surfaces are key for ensuring the tiles don’t crack. Self levelling compounds can be used in a variety of situations – from levelling a wonky floor in your kitchen, basement, garage, etc. to encasing underfloor heating prior to laying tiles.
Self levelling compounds can vary depending on the specific situation they need to be used for, but overall there are two main types – acrylic based levelling compounds and water based levelling compounds. In addition to these, many manufacturers produce specialised levelling compounds in an effort to target different surface needs.
The acrylic based self levelling compound requires mixing powder with a liquid polymer to form the finished compound. Meanwhile, water based self levelling compounds come ready mixed, and only require the addition of water before they are ready to use. Because of how easy it is to prepare and work with, the latter is widely preferred for DIY jobs.
The thickness of self levelling compounds tends to range between .04 and .4 inches, making them well suited for both indoor and outdoor jobs. Self levelling compounds can be installed either by hand, or with the use of a special mixing pump.
There are a number of advantages to using a self levelling compound. For one thing, it is incredibly easy to apply – as mentioned above, if you’ve got a ready to use mixture you don’t need any special tools to apply the self levelling compound. If fact, it can be applied fairly effortlessly in the space of 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the floor area covered and the compound brand.
What’s more, the time it takes for the self levelling compound to dry once it’s been applied doesn’t tend to exceed 24 hours. And since most levelling compounds are flexible and moisture-resistant, they provide a smooth, bump-free surface without the need for any further surface finishing. Last, but not least, thanks to how easy it is to use self levelling compounds, the DIY enthusiast can save money on hiring a professional for the installation.
Floor screed is a type of self levelling compound which usually contains latex, due to the need to retain its flexibility once it’s been laid, and be able to move without any cracks appearing. Once the screed has been mixed and poured in a very thin layer on the floor, it flattens out and self levels.
The term floor screed is usually used to describe a mixture of cement and sharp sand which is used for creating a sub-floor that is both hardwearing and smooth. Despite the fact that screed is made up of simple materials, the process of ensuring the floor is sturdy and level is actually rather complex.
Since a correctly laid floor screed brings a number of benefits, such as prolonged lifespan and improved quality of floor, as well as the protection of the sub layers from erosion and wear, it is imperative that it is laid by a skilled professional.
Depending on the setting, floor screed can either be left as the final floor finish (which can then be easily painted), or serve as an underlay that is then covered with decorative flooring such as carpet or tiling. Underfloor heating and pipework can also easily be accommodated by a screed.
There are a number of different types of floor screeds available in the market, that target a range of applications. One of the most common types of screed is the traditional screed – a standard mix of sand and cement suitable for finishing floors for a selection of coverings such as laminate and tiles, which can be used in many settings varying from schools and homes to shops and hospitals.
Floor levelling compounds are more expensive than standard floor screed mixes, but they are also the most efficient when it comes to ensuring that areas are level. This could be especially handy in spaces such as warehouses and industrial buildings where uneven floors could be a safety hazard.
Accelerated screeds, as the name suggests, are fast drying screeds that do away with the need to wait for weeks, or sometimes even months, for the screed to dry before proceeding with the final layer of flooring. With a drying time as short as three days, accelerated screeds are the ideal solution for completing projects on a tight deadline.