It’s commonly known throughout the construction industry that screed takes a lifetime to dry. Whilst it may be said that perfection cannot be rushed, for contractors and the like working to tight margins and even stricter project programs, screed drying is a process that must be accelerated. Steve Warne National Sales Director from Ideal Heat Solutions explains why temporary boilers increase the speed of screed drying so that planned work goes ahead as scheduled.
Screed is a popular leveling compound that is added to a floor surface in order to bring it to the specified construction height. Screeds are usually made from pre-blended mortar mixed with either cement or anhydrous based binders, with different types of screeds chosen to suit a variety of needs and conditions. This material can be divided into ‘free-flowing’ and ‘traditional’ types; themselves encompassing a variety of options depending on a project’s requirements:
– Free-flowing: Gyvlon, Supaflo and Truflow are examples of this kind of screed. These offerings hit the mark on time-sensitive projects.
– Traditional: Sand and cement screeds are suitable for domestic use. These types have a strong bond, making them ideal for ceramic tile applications.
In order for screed to dry properly, optimal conditions have to be created. Too chilly and the screed will not dry, too hot and it will spoil. The environment has to be just right.
Not only will types of screed require alternate conditions, the thickness will affect the drying time too. The team at Ideal Heat Solutions are often asked to provide temporary boilers to accelerate the screed drying process. Once the screed is cured, a portable electric boiler is the perfect solution for increasing screed’s drying time as heat can transfer right into the material. Whilst drying it too excessively will compromise its quality, it can ensure the moisture is removed within a quicker timeframe.
The free-flowing Gyvlon screed often incorporates an underfloor heating system, where heat is supplied by a boiler. Conditions-dependent, 40mm-thick Gyvlon screed will dry at an average rate of 1mm per day. By utilising an electric boiler as part of an underfloor heating system it is possible to dry this screed seven days after it is laid. For a minimum of three days, lower flow temperatures of 20-25 degrees are ideal. These temperatures can be raised in 5 degrees increments over the course of seven days to a maximum water temperature of 55 degrees. This approach increases drying time by 50%.
Each temporary boiler is small, lightweight and produces little noise, meaning it can be placed conveniently close to the floor it is heating. These economical boilers have the power and controllability required to aid screed drying during construction, as well as heating when
construction is complete. Furthermore, sites with no gas or oil supply benefit from a low-cost, environmentally friendly solution that can increase screed drying time.
In terms of looking into the future, temporary portable electric boilers are an excellent solution in an emergency in case of a boiler breakdown.
During the screed drying process, several factors should be paid attention to. Moisture is, after all, leaving the material, meaning it is important to monitor the conditions at regular intervals. Assuring the suitable environment is achieved will reduce the chances of the screed cracking, curling and shrinking. Whilst artificial drying pays in dividends it is essential to ensure the installers undertaking the task are experienced.
The benefits of increasing the speed of the screed drying process are numerous. Not only does this make lighter work, it ensures programmes are kept on schedule and minimises any delays for the following trades. In an industry plagued with long projects and added costs, speedier screed drying really is a win-win situation.