Liquid Floor Screed

This week we are ready to pour the floor screed.  I have chosen to go with a liquid Anyhdrite screed mainly because I don’t fancy shifting another 4 tonne of sand & cement up to the site again!!!  Also liquid screed is much stronger than regular screed so it shouldn’t crack.  Finally it doesn’t need to be so thick which means more headroom in the building.

Having carefully read the instructions supplied by it doesn’t look to difficult to do all the prep work ourselves.  I’ve alloted 2 whole days just in case so let’s get cracking…

Day 1: Clean the sub floor of all debris and mess and roll out the DPM as flat as possible…

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Problem… The DPM sheet would NOT lay flat.  We stomped on it, jumped on it, even flippin’ belly flopped it!!!  No dice!!!  I have to say I don’t understand why the DPM manufacturers have to fold the sheet 6 TIMES!!!  It was like origami rolled up.  Consequently the plastic sheeting was creased in every imaginable direction.  In the end we decided there was nothing we could do so carried on and laid the 75mm insulation on top…

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Not as flat as I’d have liked because of the stupid DPM but at least it’s down.  After slicing my hand with the Stanley knife, twice, I decided that was enough work for one day.  Now there’s only 1 day left until they arrive to pour the floor!

Day 2: Tanking the floor

Today my plan is to seal the floor so that the liquid screed doesn’t get under the insulation.  To do this means that we need to first tape the joints of the insulation…

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Then it’s time to install the edge insulation.  This stuff is rarer than a Golden Unicorn.  I had ordered some for delivery but the couriers decided yesterday was a great day to lose my order!!!  So a quick 60 minute (!) ring round all the plumbers merchants in Aylesbury and find the last roll in town, yay!

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Done!  The edge insulation is nicely installed all the way round and in a single piece.  Next job is to lay the plastic sheet, cut it to size, attach it to the edge strip and seal it with duct tape on all joints.

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This being my first time with liquid screed I have no idea how well tanked this needs to be.  So I tape every little joint, split, gap and crease to within an inch of its life!  Fingers crossed it’s good enough for the screed guys tomorrow.

Day 3: The pour…

Today the guys from ELS turn up to pour the floor.  They take one look at the garden and proclaim… ‘We don’t have enough pipe mate!’.  Say WHAT!  I’m like ‘yeah but…  I emailed… but… AAAARRRRGGGGHHH’.  They don’t seem so fussed though.  James says don’t worry he’ll handle it!  Meanwhile they start setting up the level tripods and check over my work.  I’ve done a good job, apparently, yay!

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I decide that I will tackle the rainwater drains while they deal with the floor as that way I’m around but out of their way.  Dad arrives and we both go to Wickes to get some materials.  When we return ELS are nowhere to be seen.  Uh oh, was it that bad they’ve legged it?  Maybe not, all their tools are still on site.  Oh well, time for lunch anyway.  Shortly after lunch they return having been to High Wycombe and bought the pipe they needed.

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That’s it! They’re ready to pour.  Floor levels have been checked, pipe work sorted, pump readied and concrete company called.  Quick as a flash the concrete arrives and the pouring starts…

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This screed is like runny porridge and before long it’s being poured in to the building.

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Once the pour is finished they use a dappler to create a wave effect which levels the floor almost perfectly.

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That’s it!  Quick as that it’s all done.  Unbelievable.  Now the building must be kept sealed with the windows and doors shut tight for 48 hours or so.  This ensures that the floor doesn’t dry out too quickly and crack.  So there is nothing left to do but wait.

Day 6: Ventilation day…

Today is the day that we can first walk and the floor.  The building is so condensated that I can’t see inside so I carefully open the door and see the shimmering floor smiling up at me.  It so smooth in fact that I test it with my hand first to make sure it has set and will take my weight.  It seems good so in I go.  As I open the windows I notice cracks in the floor.  CRACKS!!!  Nooooooooooo…..

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What’s occurring?!  Liquid Screed Floor should not crack!  What’s gone wrong?  Was it that DPM, damn you DPM!  Or was it the sunshine curing the floor too fast?!

As I fall to the floor crying I noticed my knees rub the cracks and reveal that the floor hasn’t cracked at all.  It’s just the top layer of ‘skin’ that’s cracking.  So I rub the cracks in a few other places and notice the same, there are no cracks under the surface.  It transpires that this ‘skin’ is called Laitance and is perfectly normal. Phew!

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And the floor is done, well apart from sanding and priming of course!

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