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DIY Concrete and Cement Screeding

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Screeding is a process that smooths out concrete, plaster, cement and other building material after being applied on a surface. The process is meant to flatten and smooth out building materials applied on a surface, such as poured concrete. Although best left to the professionals, screeding is incredibly simple that you can do it yourself. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to screed concrete and cement:

You will need:

Flat point shovels
Sugar soap or regular detergent
Duct tape
Ready-mix mortar
Hammer and a chisel
Concrete sealer
Self-leveling concrete compound
2×4 piece of wood (length slightly longer than the site for screeding)

Step 1: Prepping the Site

Using a trowel, you want to remove any loose material from the site you will screed. Dust, dirt and other debris could comprise the stability of the cement or concrete so keep the site free from any obstructions that can otherwise affect the performance of the material.

Once the area is clean, remove grease or oil stains using sugar soap. A sugar soap is a cleaning agent that contains sodium carbonate, sodium phosphate, and sometimes, abrasive materials like sodium silicate. If sugar soap is not available in your local hardware store, use regular household detergent. After removing the stains, let the construction site dry completely.

Step 2: Making Your Marks

Add marks to the area you will screed using a duct tape to measure how much materials you need accurately. The marks will also serve as protection from areas where the concrete compound is not needed.

With a bag of ready-mix mortar, which is a building paste used to fill openings or bind bricks together, fill any holes that are larger than 55 mm or 1 inch using your trowel. Smooth out the mortar very well and leave it overnight to cure.

Step 3: Seal the Floor Surface

Once the mortar cures for 24 hours, remove all the skirting boards or the baseboards of the floor using a chisel and hammer. Because you won’t reuse the baseboards, you don’t need to remove them gently. Just hammer away.

Now, seal the concrete floor by brushing a thin, even layer of concrete sealer over the entire screed area. Let the concrete sealer dry according to the instruction.

Step 4: Pour the Concrete

Once the concrete sealer has dried, mix your self-leveling concrete compound for two minutes to incorporate all the ingredients together. Pour the self-leveling concrete compound on the concrete floor evenly. You want to overfill the area at an uphill then pull the excess material into the low spots.

With a 2×4 piece of wood, screed the poured concrete to achieve an even layer. You want to start screeding from the end of the site then slowly work your way outwards the other end. Shake the screed from side to side, as you flatten the surface. If you need more concrete compound, stop and add gradually before screeding again.

Once you’ve screeded the entire surface, take a closer look to check for holes or unevenness. Let the screeded area cure completely for at least 24 hours before stepping on the screeded floor.

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