What is the difference between concrete and screed?

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Posted on 20 August 2020

If you’re not in the construction industry or don’t have experience working with concrete and screed, you may be unaware of the difference between the two. Even though the materials are both made from water, cement, and aggregates, they’re actually very different. Read on to learn more about the difference between concrete and screed and when you should choose one over the other.

How concrete and screed are madeFlowing screed in Doncaster

With both concrete and screed, cement and water are brought together to create a paste which is then used to coat a surface. Hydration then causes the cement paste to harden. What makes concrete and screed different is their mix consistency, finish, cement grade, and aggregate sizes. Concrete is much coarser than screed and has bigger aggregates, making it much stronger and longer-lasting. These qualities make it ideal for many structural projects.

Screed has far fewer aggregates, making it much smoother than concrete. One of the main reasons for using screed is to add a finishing layer to the internal floors. It can also be used to level uneven floors before carpets, laminate flooring and other surfaces are added. 

Screed is often used when a floor needs to be colourful, but tougher screed is normally chosen for a high-traffic environment such as business premises. Screed normally has to be modified with polymers if it is to be used in external environments. This is because it needs to be resistant to water and everything the climate can throw at it.

More about screeds

Screeds are often blends of sand and cement. As it can be hard to determine ratios and properties, some screed floors can crack, peel, and fall apart. Proprietary screeds are often used to prevent this. The aggregate used for concrete tends to be very gravel heavy. This isn’t the case for screeds, which uses fine, sharp sand instead. This explains why it is often used to finish off concrete flooring. Although screed is rough, it is much finer than concrete. 

Screed is also laid much thinner, with a thickness of at least 100mm when used for flooring. For heavy-use flooring, the thickness of the concrete is often doubled. Screed is rarely more than 100mm thick, with an average of around 75mm being used for most projects. Screed is ideal when a smooth, bump-free finish is required. It can also extend the shelf life of concrete flooring, delivering a robust finish that stands the test of time.

What are concrete and screed used for? 

Concrete can reach a high compressive strength, which makes it perfect for building projects. It is also renowned for its affordability, durability, and longevity, as well as the fact that it’s non-combustible. It can be used for various purposes, including high-profile structural projects as well as minor DIY tasks. Concrete is regularly used for driveways, walls, foundations, roads, patios, floors, and drainage layers. Screed is very rarely used for structural works but is instead used to protect concrete flooring, offer better insulation, and ensure surfaces are level. Screed is frequently used alongside underfloor heating systems due to its insulating properties.

Meeting your needs

Screeds and concretes are often produced via volumetric mixers. We can control material ratios to make different forms of screed and concrete, allowing us to meet your needs exactly. Admixtures can also be added to concrete and screed so different qualities can be provided. Many customers require lightweight concrete and screed, or materials with different compressive strengths. We can provide a product that meets your specifications.

What are admixtures used for? 

Admixtures often include plasticisers that make the material more workable, boost bonding, make it more damp-proof, and slow down shrinkage. Admixtures can also slow down and speed up the set times. Fibres can be added to screed to stop cracking, whilst retarders can be added to lengthen the workability of the material. BSI certification is a sign that screed and concrete are high quality and that high standards have been met. 

How Doncaster Quickmix can help

At Doncaster Quickmix, we are eager to hear from you if you require high-quality screed or concrete. We have been supplying screed in Doncaster and Rotherham for many years and serve customers not only in these areas but in surrounding towns and cities like Sheffield too. Our solutions allow you to get your project underway in style, and you can get in touch with us at any point if you do have any queries about any of the solutions that we provide. We can supply you with durable self-levelling screed for domestic or commercial purposes and high and low traffic environments. Talk to us today if you require dry screed, Gypsol flowing screed, or Cemfloor

Serving domestic and commercial customers

We’re here for you whenever you require quality concrete in Doncaster, Rotherham, or the surrounding areas. Our client network consists of domestic and commercial customers, and we can tailor your order to your exact requirements. Look no further than Doncaster Quickmix when you require top-class ready mix concrete at the right price. We are here to deliver the best quality and price, with our four, six, and eight cubic metre trucks and market-leading equipment allowing us to not only meet but beat your expectations. Same and next-day delivery is available, and you can even use our pick up point if you’d rather collect the concrete yourself. Our concrete is designed to meet BS8500 standards. 

Get in touch today

More and more discerning customers are choosing us over the competition all the time when they require screed and concrete of the highest standard. We are more than happy to help when you need advice on selecting the right Doncaster and Rotherham screed or concrete for your needs. Fast delivery is always available when you need it. 


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