Underfloor heating screed
As demand grows for energy-efficient and comfortable living spaces, many homeowners and developers are exploring innovative heating solutions. Among these, underfloor heating has emerged as a front-runner, offering unparalleled comfort and efficiency. But the key to a successful underfloor heating system often lies in a component that’s beneath our feet and sometimes overlooked: screed. In this guide we’ll delve into the world of underfloor heating and discuss how floor screeding plays an essential role in making it all come together.
The basics of underfloor heating
Underfloor heating offers a more energy-efficient way to warm your home. Instead of bulky traditional radiators, this discreet system sits beneath your floors, ensuring your rooms maintain an ideal temperature.
An underfloor heating system consists of channels which carry warm water or electricity, and as they heat up, they evenly distribute warmth throughout the floor. This ensures a consistent temperature from corner to corner, transforming cold tiles or wooden planks into a cosy surface that’s a joy to walk on.
What is floor screeding & WHY is it neccesary for underfloor heating systems?
What is Screed?
Screed is a blend of sharp sand, cement and water. Because floor screeds have a much finer tolerance than concrete, they achieve a smoother and more level finish, allowing for the final flooring layer to be laid on top. Check out our ‘What is Screed?’ in-depth blog to learn more about floor screeding.
Why Screed is Essential for Underfloor Heating Systems
Floor screeding plays a crucial role in underfloor heating systems due to its excellent thermal conductivity, ensuring heat is evenly distributed across the floor. Acting as a thermal mass, screed stores and slowly releases heat, enhancing the energy efficiency of the heating system. Beyond its thermal properties, a screed layer offers an optimal base for the flooring, delivering a smooth and level surface suitable for various finishes. Furthermore, screed serves as a protective shield for the underfloor heating pipes, safeguarding them against potential damages during the flooring installation or from impacts over time.
Types of floor screeds used with underfloor heating
The most popular type of floor screed is traditional screed, composed of sharp sand, cement and water. While it is the most commonly used screed over underfloor heating, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice – it often depends on the type of build. Traditional screeds are typically more suitable for surfaces covering smaller areas.
Flowing screed, also referred to as liquid screed, is poured directly onto the required area straight from a mixing truck. This method of screeding allows for the coverage of larger areas at a much more efficient pace than traditional screeds, with the capability of pouring over 1000m2 in a day. Due to its quicker application and faster drying times, underfloor heating systems can be utilized sooner with liquid screed.
Things to consider when screeding over underfloor heating
When installing screed over underfloor heating systems, it’s essential to ensure that the installation is prepared correctly to maximize the efficiency of the heating system and to prevent any potential issues down the road. Here are five key things to consider:
- Type and Thickness of Screed: The type and thickness of the screed play a significant role in how effectively heat is transferred from the underfloor heating system to the room above. A thinner screed layer typically allows for a faster heat response, while a thicker layer may have better thermal mass but slower response. It’s crucial to choose a screed type suitable for underfloor heating.
- Insulation: Proper insulation is necessary to prevent heat loss downwards and ensure that most of the heat is directed upwards into the living space. A good layer of insulation beneath the underfloor heating pipes can make the system more efficient and prevent unnecessary energy wastage.
- Expansion Joints: To prevent cracking, it’s important to ensure that there are adequate expansion joints or movement joints in the screed. These joints allow the screed to expand and contract without causing damage.
- Preparation and Pipe Positioning: Before laying the screed, ensure that the heating pipes are securely fixed in place and there are no sharp objects or debris that could potentially damage them.
- Curing: Once the screed has been laid, it’s essential to allow it to cure properly before turning on the underfloor heating. Turning on the heating too soon can lead the screed to cracking. Typically, you should wait at least a few weeks after laying the screed before turning on the underfloor heating system.
In summary, always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider hiring professionals if you’re unsure about the installation process. At Screedfast we are aware of the best practices and the latest industry standards, ensuring a successful and long-lasting installation, contact us today to make an enquiry.