What is the Difference Between Dry Screed and Flowing Screed?

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Posted on 18 January 2022

Screed is a thin layer of material, typically consisting of cement, aggregates and water, used to create a smooth, even surface at the top of a concrete subfloor. Screed is applied for two main purposes: to enable the successful installation of finished flooring, and to facilitate the efficient movement of heat in an underfloor heating system. 

There are two types of screed available: dry screed and flowing screed. Both types are effective at delivering a smooth surface to the subfloor, but both types offer contrasting applications and price points that may not be suitable for every project. Read on to see what is the difference between Dry Screed and Flowing Screed?

Dry screed

What is dry screed?

Dry screed consists of aggregates (such as sand) and cement, with a ratio of between 3-5 parts aggregate and 1 part cement. This creates a thin, concrete-like substance that will clump together when squeezed. It is often referred to as traditional screed because of its widespread use across the industry; 78% of all the screed projects in the UK use dry screed, making it a reliable product with proven results. 

Dry screed is applied in a sequential manner using a float and trowel. It requires a manual application to all areas of the subfloor by hand.

What are the benefits of dry screed?

There are various benefits to using dry screed:

  • Dry screed can also be used to create non-flat surfaces if needed. This may be necessary in a wet room, for example.
  • Dry screed is inexpensive; It is the most affordable type of screed.

Flowing screed

What is flowing screed?

Flowing screed, also known as liquid screed, uses smaller and fewer aggregates than its solid counterpart. This creates a flowing, liquid-like consistency that allows it to be poured rather than handled.

Flowing screed is applied via a pump. The pump pours the screed onto the subfloor, where the self-compacting substance arranges itself by filling all the available space. The layer of flowing screed is thinner than drying screed but still creates an extremely strong and durable surface. 

What are the benefits of flowing screed?

  • As flowing screed can be poured in one go and not applied piece by piece, it is extremely quick to apply.
  • Flowing screed dries quickly too; almost all flowing screed applications will have dried within 24 hours, though further time will be needed for the entire floor, including tiling, to be completed.
  • As the flowing screed is thin, it provides space for bulkier insulation to be installed along with it. This will result in more efficient heating.
  • The liquid-like screed completely surrounds the pipes, making their heat transfer more effective. This perceptibly increases the effects of underfloor heating.


Which is best for me?

If you value your time and seek the best effects from underfloor heating/insulation, choose flowing screed. Flowing screed will be applied and dry much quicker than dry screed, all while offering the best results for insulation and underfloor heating.

Dry screed benefits from one factor in particular: it is slightly cheaper. This draws people to it without considering the alternatives.

However, dry screed may not even be cheaper in the long run. Flowing screed benefits from providing effective underfloor heating. This means the heat will be retained in your home, saving you money off your energy bill. Also, over time, the money you save may make up for the extra money spent. This is why many people consider flowing screed to be a great investment.


Needing more advice on which screed is best for you? Contact us today to discuss further

Here at Doncaster Quickmix, we offer two types of flowing screed: Gypsol flowing screed and Cemfloor screed. Furthermore, we strive to offer the highest-quality screed, meticulously mixed using our state-of-the-art technology and machinery. If you’re a customer in Sheffield, Doncaster or the surrounding areas, we will deliver your screed directly to you, irrespective of quantity. To enquire further, get in touch with our team today.

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