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Screed floor, concrete floor - what's the difference?

To the untrained eye, it may be difficult to both understand and / or recognise the difference between concrete and floor screeds. Even though both are made from the same basic ingredients; cement, aggregates and water. The basic chemical reactions are the same too - cement and water forms a paste that coats the surface of the substrate (sand or aggregate), this paste hardens forming a durable high strength mass. The different combinations of substrates and grades of cement result in different consistencies and ultimately different finished products. Concrete is typically a much coarser mixture than screed, consisting of larger aggregates, which are the key element that gives it its durability and makes it strong and long lasting.

Owing to the very high strength attainable by concrete, it is used across the construction industry for structural purposes – including floor slabs. It is the most used man-made material in the world. Screed is a smoother mix, which consists of considerably less aggregates, this characteristic allows for a smooth, durable and aesthetically pleasing finish. Screeds are required when a colourful or functional floor is needed rather than a bare concrete surface. For industrial purposes, or commercial locations, which will undergo frequent traffic, a more robust screed is required. Mixes of various chemicals and stains allow for a plethora of colours and textures, adding a sealing protective layer (polyurethane and/or epoxy) ensure a durable, robust and beautiful finish, indoors or outdoors.

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