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How to prepare your floor for liquid screed

Preparing liquid screed

 

As established concrete experts based in Bristol, Newport and Cheddar, we are ideally positioned to provide guidance on the best way to prepare for liquid screed.

Our Wrightflow Liquid screed flooring is designed to withstand even the most testing conditions and is ideal for customers looking to utilise their underfloor heating and save on their energy bills. The combination of materials, anti-crack and anti-shrink agents used in our liquid screed ensures you are left with only the highest quality concrete flooring and long-lasting results with a range of benefits.

However, this all relies on you undertaking the correct preparation work first. Find out how you can best prepare your site for liquid screed below or contact our team with any queries on 0117 9589 2090.

How to prepare your floor for liquid screed

 
  • Remove any debris from the sub floor.
  • Place insulation in 2 layers. Using dried sand to fill the void around pipes and ensure that this is level before installing the second layer of insulation board.
  • A membrane of 1000 gauge or thicker should be laid immediately under the pipework (above the insulation board) as a slip layer, and to prevent leakage of the screed before setting.
  • Install an edging strip around the edges and corners of the wall and attach securely.
  • Any shuttering across doorways or steps should be fully sealed with expanding foam or mastic to prevent leakage after laying but before setting. Pipe ducts or holes through walls also need to be sealed before placement of the liquid screed.

Wright Minimix - Liquid Screed

Wright Minimix - Liquid Screed

If you are installing liquid screed with underfloor heating

 
  • Install underfloor heating pipes and ensure that they are clipped every 400mm and more around bends. Make sure that the system is full of water prior to the liquid screed being laid. This avoids the pipework floating to the surface of the screed.
  • If you are using an ‘eggbox’ type pipe system, the membrane should be laid under the eggbox, and you should avoid using small off-cuts of eggbox to avoid any possibility of floating.
  • The minimum cover above underfloor heating pipes is 30mm therefore minimum screed thickness is normally 50mm when using a 16mm UFH pipe.

Common mistakes to avoid when preparing for liquid screed

 

Measuring the space incorrectly

Often sub-floor slope or unevenness may cause unexpected differences in the overall floor level and in the quantity of screed required. It is the customer’s responsibility to measure each room/area appropriately.

You will need to consider critical features such as door openings, minimum thicknesses/cover and required differentials in floor height between rooms. These must be agreed prior to installation and marked on the wall above the level of the finished screed so that they are present for comparison should a disagreement be raised about finished floor levels.

Any such disagreement must be brought to our attention within 48 hours of the screed being laid. Should these marks be removed or altered prior to any investigations then we will not be held accountable for any level issues.

Ordering less screed than required

Should extra liquid screed be required over that originally ordered and a separate delivery needed, the client will be charged extra costs,  so it is essential that a proper estimate is made by the client to avoid this.

Do you have any other questions about preparation for our liquid screed? Don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our team will be glad to answer your queries on 0117 958 2090.

Do you have any liquid screed requirements? 
We are the right people for you – let’s work together! Contact us on 0117 958 2090 today to get a quote or to find out more.

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DIY Concrete Finishing – How to Finish Concrete Yourself
17th May 2019

We understand that DIY concreting can be daunting, which is why we’ve put together this guide on how to finish concrete to ensure optimum performance.

Ensuring that you finish your freshly poured concrete correctly is an important step that should not be neglected. Skipping these steps will result in a concrete floor or sub base that is more prone to cracking, lacks strength and is not level. Follow our concrete specialists' guide to perfect concrete finishing.

Tools you will need for concrete finishing:

  • Forms
  • Gravel sub base
  • Tamping tool
  • 2x4 beam
  • Bull float / hand float
  • Potentially hire a concrete pump
  • Joint cutting tool
  • Edging tool
  • Garden hose
  • Plastic sheeting

1. Pre-pour preparation

Before pouring your concrete mix, you should have your forms and gravel sub base already prepared. The forms, most commonly wooden beams, act as a barrier to contain the concrete as it sets, whilst the gravel provides a solid sub base to help prevent erosion and provide a level surface for the concrete to sit on.

  • Once your forms are set up, lay 4-8 inches of gravel and spread evenly before compacting the surface using a tamping tool.
  • If your concrete is going to cover a larger area or is intended to be heavy load bearing (like a driveway) then you should add wire mesh or rebar over the gravel in an overlapping structure.
  • You should now be ready to pour. Use a hoe or shovel to evenly spread the concrete over the entire area. The surface should be relatively flat and lie slightly above the form.
  • You may want to consider hiring a concrete pump to deliver concrete efficiently, especially if your site has access problems.

2. Compress the concrete (if necessary)

Many modern concrete mixes are made using certain admixtures that make compacting or ‘tamping’ an unnecessary step. You should check with your ready mix concrete supplier if compacting will be required. If compacting is required, then you can use a tamping beam or roller tamp tool to press down on the concrete.

3. Begin to level the concrete

You’ll likely need someone to help you with this step. Use a 2x4 wooden beam that is long enough to span the width of your form to level the surface of the concrete and remove any excess.

  • To do this, with one person holding each end of the 2x4, start at one end of the form and move the beam along the surface of the concrete in a sawing motion.
  • Tilt the beam slightly away from the direction you are moving to create a slight cutting edge.

4. Continue to level the concrete

Following step 3, use a bull float (for larger projects) or magnesium/wooden float (for smaller projects) to further level and smooth the concrete surface.

Bull float

  • Move the bull float back and forth across the surface of the concrete perpendicular to the way you moved the 2x4 beam.
  • Push the tool from low down and pull back towards you from higher up.

Magnesium or wooden float

  • Smooth the surface of the concrete by moving the handheld float in overlapping arcs.
  • Cover the surface at least twice.

5. Cut control joints

Control joints are cut into fresh concrete in order to prevent cracking from having a major impact on appearance and functionality. These control joints should be cut 25% of the way through the concrete’s depth. A 4-inch thick concrete slab will require control joints at a minimum of every 10 feet.

6. Tidy the edges

For a cleaner overall look, you can use an edging tool to create level edges and corners to your concrete. This will result in a better overall appearance. It’s important not to press too deeply in to the concrete, as you could leave impressions that are difficult to remove.

7. Apply a brushed finish

If you want a non-slip surface, you can apply a brushed finish using a broom. You’ll need to wait until the bleed water has evaporated from the concrete’s surface before you do this. Judging the best time to make this step takes some experience, but as a rough guide, the concrete should no longer have a wet sheen.

Run a stiff-bristled broom forwards and backwards across the surface of the concrete. The concrete should be wet enough for the bristles to leave an impression, but not too wet that the concrete sinks back into the impressions.

8.  Allow concrete to cure

The curing process will take several weeks. In order to ensure that the concrete cures at the best rate, a common method is to wet the concrete’s surface using the mist setting on your garden hose and covering the surface with a weighed down plastic sheet.

9. Apply concrete sealer

Once the concrete is fully cured, you should apply a concrete sealer to make the concrete resistant to water damage and easier for you to clean and maintain. The concrete should be completely dry before you do this.


If you are considering a DIY concreting project this year, our team of concrete specialists can help. We can suggest the best concrete mix for your requirements, and deliver it directly to you on site. Don’t hesitate to contact the team today on 0117 958 2090 for tailored ready mix concrete in Bristol, Newport and the surrounding areas.

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When is the best time of year to lay concrete?
18th April 2019

Is there a certain time of year that’s best when it comes to your DIY concreting project? Our experts lay out the perfect conditions for concrete installation.

Mild weather is considered best when it comes to ready mix concrete installation – that is, not too hot and not too cold. For this reason, spring and the start of autumn (around September) are considered good times to carry out a DIY concreting project.
 
Not only can you generally rely on the weather to stay above freezing during these periods, temperatures also aren’t as likely to reach higher than mid-twenties. However, this isn’t an absolute rule; the UK generally has a temperate climate, so there’s a lot of leeway. Still, there are certain conditions you should absolutely try and avoid when pouring ready mix concrete.

Snow & Ice

If there’s snow or ice on the ground, then it’s too cold to pour concrete. Fresh concrete that becomes frozen during the first 24 hours after installation can lose up to 50% of its overall strength, so avoiding pouring concrete in very cold weather is very important. 

Generally, if the average daily air temperature is consistently below 10 degrees, then it’s better to wait until later in the year and warmer temperatures.

Rain

Whilst there are ways around it, rain is also less than ideal when it comes to pouring concrete. We go into much more detail about the logistics of pouring concrete in the rain here. Simply put, if too much rainwater mixes with a fresh concrete mix, then its overall strength can be compromised. It’s therefore best to wait for a clear day if possible.

High temperatures

Ready mix concrete contains water as an essential component and a higher temperature mean faster evaporation. Hot weather can cause all sorts of problems for freshly laid concrete; not only does surface water evaporate too quickly, potentially causing cracks, the process by which the concrete solidifies is sped up, which means it doesn’t strengthen as much as it should. You can read our top tips about laying concrete in hot weather here.


If you are considering a DIY concreting project this year, our team of concrete specialists can help. We can suggest the best concrete mix for your requirements, and deliver it directly to you on site. Don’t hesitate to contact the team today on 0117 958 2090 for tailored ready mix concrete in Bristol, Newport and the surrounding areas.

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3 Signs your concrete floor could need replacing
04th April 2019

Concrete can start to wear over time and may need re-laying if it’s cracked or discoloured: our specialists highlight some of the signs to look out for.

Eventually, concrete may need replacing. The wear and tear that accrues over time can result in peeling, cracking or worse, so read on to discover how you can spot the signs that you need a new concrete surface.

Spalling

Spalling, or scaling, is when the concrete peels or flakes away. It’s generally caused by moisture getting into the concrete and is a particularly bad problem in basements. Generally, spalling occurs in colder weather when water seeps in, freezes, and then melts again.

When steel is used to reinforce concrete, moisture can also cause a problem, as it causes the metal to expand, putting stress on the surrounding concrete.

Cracking

Concrete cracking is usually an issue caused by external factors, such as it being subjected to a traffic heavier than it was designed to withstand. Whether this is caused by footfall or vehicles, this is referred to as pressure cracking.

Whilst pressure cracking comes from above, heaving cracks come from below and are caused by things like tree roots or a property settling into its foundations. The movement beneath the concrete means that the surface begins to crack as a result.

Discolouration

Often, the surface of concrete can be affected over time by rainfall. The alkaline content begins to be washed away, and this can produce a fertile breeding ground for plant life, such as algae and fungi, followed by more prominent weeds.

This looks unsightly and can cause structural problems like roots growing into the concrete, in turn causing more cracking in your concrete. It’s important to notice if your concrete is starting to look a different colour, before it starts cracking.


For more information about our ready mix concrete, concrete pumping services and concrete mixes, contact our team today on 0117 958 2090.

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3 Common mistakes to avoid when handling ready mix concrete
14th March 2019

A well-managed project is the key to success when it comes to concrete installation. Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid when handling ready mix concrete.

Not preparing the site in advance

One of the most common issues we encounter when delivering ready mix concrete is that the client has not prepared their site properly in advance before attempting to lay the concrete. 

A poorly compacted sub base will result in an uneven surface finish and an increased risk of weak points. Using gravel that is too small or too thin on the ground can also result in settling. It’s therefore incredibly important to ensure you've prepared your site properly prior to laying the concrete.

Not preparing the concrete mix correctly

This can be a big problem for those who choose to mix concrete themselves, either by hand or using a mixer. A good concrete mix is hard to achieve and involves finding the right balance between water, cement and aggregates. Too much water and the concrete mixture will be weakened, whilst too little will make it unworkable.

Ordering ready mix concrete from trained experts such as ourselves is a sure-fire way to ensure you receive a top-quality concrete mix for your project. Whatever type of concrete mix you need, a concreting specialist will be able to tailor a concrete mix to meet your specific requirements.

Poor concrete finishing work

Just because the concrete is laid doesn’t mean your job is done. Concrete finishing is an essential part of the process, whether you’re installing a concrete shed base or a concrete floor for a warehouse.

Compacting the concrete is important and will help ensure its strength and durability, whilst going over the surface of the concrete with a screed tool will also help ensure that the concrete is smooth and level.


If you need any further advice when it comes to installing ready mix concrete, our team of experts will be able to provide you with all the help and guidance you need. For quality ready mix concrete in the South West and South Wales, don’t hesitate to contact us today!
 

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