How Long Does Screed Take to Dry? – Floor Screeding Guide

by | Feb 1, 2024

How Long Does Screed Take to Dry?


In the world of construction, staying on schedule is pivotal, and here at Screedfast, we recognize just how crucial it is to get things right. Whether you’re managing a construction project or coordinating the delivery of essential materials, every moment counts. However, one aspect that is often questioned is the drying times of screed. With a variety of types available, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of how long each type of screed dry properly. In this article, we will provide you with valuable insights by breaking down the drying times for some of the most commonly used floor screeding varieties.

Understanding the role of screed

Before diving into the specifics of drying times, let’s clarify the fundamental role of screed. Essentially, screed serves as a levelling material, creating a smooth and even surface on which flooring can be installed. It’s important to accurately measure how long screed takes to dry because it directly affects when you can start installing flooring or allowing foot-traffic.

Cemfloor Therm Liquid Screed

What can impact drying times?

The drying times of floor screeds are influenced by a multitude of factors, with environmental conditions during the drying process playing a pivotal role. Variables like temperature, humidity, and air circulation can either accelerate or prolong the drying process. Additionally, the thickness of the screed is a critical determinant; thicker screeds require a longer drying period. Furthermore, the type of screed product used is a key factor, as some products incorporate admixtures and additives that can expedite drying times.


There are several methods available to determine if the screed has dried, but one of the most commonly preferred approaches is the concrete moisture test (CM Test). For this test, using a Tramex meter is highly convenient, as it offers accurate and rapid results. To conduct the test, simply place the meter over the screeded surface, and it will display the moisture content in percentage (%). To ascertain the correct moisture content, it’s advisable to consult the manufacturer’s guide for the specific product in use.

Drying times for different screed types

Traditional Screed

Traditional screed is a versatile choice used in various construction projects. It consists of a mixture of sharp sand, cement and water. Typically, traditional screed has a setting time of 24-48 hours and dries at an average rate of approximately 1mm per day.

Fast-Drying Screed

As the name suggests, fast-drying screed has been engineered for rapid setting and drying, making it ideal for projects with tight timelines. Typically, fast-drying screed sets within 1-2 hours and can dry at a rate of up to 10-15mm per day, which is significantly faster than traditional screed. However, it’s important to note that drying times can vary depending on the specific product and additives used. Some fast-drying products may take longer than the typical ones to dry. For more detailed information on different types of products, you can refer to our technical datasheets.


K-Screed, a semi-dry cementitious screed, employs exclusive additives to create a strong, fast-drying surface. This screed is well-suited for commercial projects subject to heavy foot traffic and can be employed as bonded, unbonded, or floating screed. Typically, it achieves its initial setting within a span of 6-12 hours, followed by a drying rate of 25mm per week.

Flowing Screed

Also known as liquid screed, flowing screed contains fewer and finer aggregates compared to traditional screed. It is commonly used over underfloor heating systems due to its better heat transference, and often the preferred choice over traditional screed for its rapid application, especially in larger areas. Flowing screeds typically set within 6-48 hours and have a drying rate of approximately 1mm per day.

Granolithic Screed

Granolithic screed stands as the top choice for projects anticipating high levels of foot traffic, particularly in applications like industrial flooring. This screed variant is distinguished by its use of tougher aggregates when compared to liquid screed, resulting in enhanced durability and resistance. Typically, granolithic screed achieves its initial setting within 12-28 hours and proceeds to dry at a rate of approximately 2mm per day. These qualities make it an ideal selection for demanding surface environments.

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