Have you ever wondered how construction workers manage to create perfectly level concrete floors? The answer lies in a crucial step called screeding concrete. Before applying any surface finishes, whether it’s for a small patio or a large commercial floor, screeding is necessary to ensure levelness, surface smoothness, and durability. In this article, we will dive into the details of what screeding concrete is, its importance, and how it’s done. So, if you’re curious about the magic behind screed concrete, keep reading!
What is screeding concrete
Screeding concrete is a step before the surface finishes the floor. It involves leveling the concrete using a manual or powered screed.
It is widely used, no matter various concrete slabs or large commercial floors, before the final finish, the step of concrete screeding is needed to level the foundation.
You should consider three things about screeding concrete: levelness, surface smoothness, and durability.
After concrete screeding and troweling, the concrete floor can be used directly as a finished floor or be laid with other types of finishing.
How to screed concrete
The equipment and method adopted will vary greatly due to the wet screeding concrete size. Below we will explain the classification for you according to the screed area (large and small).
Small area projects or DIY concrete construct
If you are pouring a small patio, a sidewalk in your yard, or a few square meters of parking space, you can screed concrete entirely by hand.
Commonly needed materials and tools are: ready-mixed concrete, stones, hand tamper, laser level or mason’s line, tape measure, wooden board (for formwork), saw, hammer, nail, shovel, concrete rake, manual concrete screed, concrete hand trowel.
- Use a tape measure to determine where the concrete should be laid and mark it accordingly.
- concrete screeding areas need to be cleared, and lawned surfaces should be removed.
- Saw 4×2 boards into strips of wood with a width of screed concrete thickness, and stakes with a higher. Use these wooden strips and stakes to set up the formwork around the screed area. Use a laser level or mason’s line to measure the levelness of the template.
- Sprinkle stones on the surface of the foundation where concrete needs to be spread. Use a hand tamper to tamp down the foundation.
- Prepare the concrete you need by ordering it from a concrete supplier or mixing it according to the concrete mix. The general concrete slab mix ratio is – cement: sand: stone: water = 1:1.18:2.63:0.41 (weight ratio)
- Pour the concrete into the formwork, preferably with two people. A person uses a concrete rake to lift the concrete slightly above the formwork. Another operator uses a hand screed to scrape the wet concrete back repeatedly according to the formwork height to scrape the concrete flat. If conditions exist, you can also vibrate concrete during construction.
- After concrete screeding work, you need to hit the sides of the formwork with a hammer to remove any air bubbles and prevent a honeycomb appearance.
- After waiting about 20 minutes (this is not a fixed amount of time, see our other article on when to start troweling work), use the hand trowel to finish the concrete surface.
- Now, you can wait for the concrete to set completely. Generally, within 48 hours can not walk on the concrete, and they need to spray water to cure of concrete (to prevent concrete cracking). Concrete usually reaches full strength after 28 days.
Large area projects
Large-area concrete screeding projects are similar to the small-area ones mentioned above, except that more efficient equipment is used. We’ve covered 3 ways to make screed concrete easy before, below briefly introduce the relevant equipment, the use of these equipments makes screeding concrete easy.
- Power screed is the most widely used concrete screeding equipment. It is suitable for almost any type concrete screeding project. It can help to speed up the construction process and improve the overall quality.
- Roller screed is a versatile concrete screed device used for concrete slabs, slopes, and pervious concrete. A spinning screed pipe smooths out any high spots and fills in any low spots, resulting in a level surface. This equipment produces minimal vibrations, similar to a hand screed scraping the concrete repeatedly. It also brings a reduced amount of water to the surface, resulting in a more robust and long-lasting concrete surface.
- Laser screeds are often used in large concrete construction projects such as warehouses, airports, and industrial plants, where a level and flat concrete surface is critical. They can cover large concrete areas fastly and accurately, reducing the time and labor input. The use of a laser-guided system also reduces the need for manual labor, making the process more efficient and less labor-intensive.
Screeding concrete is essential in creating a level and durable foundation for any concrete flooring project. Whether a small DIY project or large commercial construction, choosing the right equipment and method for screeding is crucial to achieving the desired levelness, surface smoothness, and durability. So, grab your equipment, get to work, and enjoy a perfectly screeded concrete surface that will last for years! Following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can successfully screed concrete for small and large area projects.
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