What You Need To Know About Concrete Screeding

5 October 2016
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The installation of a concrete surface is simple enough that many people choose to undertake this task on their own. Yet, to avoid finding yourself with an unanticipated disaster on your hands, it is important to be armed with certain information before beginning the task. If you would like to learn more about the various aspects of concrete installation, read on. This article will discuss the process of screeding freshly poured concrete.

The Basics

Screeding has two important roles to play in ensuring the desired final result. First, and most importantly, it guarantees that the concrete will have a level surface. The forms around the perimeter of the slab are used as guideposts, so it is important that these forms have been installed to a uniform depth. When accomplished correctly, screeding eliminates the hollows and raised areas that occur naturally when pouring concrete. If such features are not leveled out, they will not only make the surface harder to walk on, but they will also result in an accelerated decay process as the result of pooling water.

The second role of concrete screeding lies in promoting the smoothest possible surface. This is accomplished by the fact that, when screeding, larger chunks of gravel aggregate are pushed deeper beneath the surface. Without screeding, this large aggregate tends to lend the surface a rougher, bumpier texture--even when level. By pushing such chunks farther down, a smoother, more uniform appearance is lent to the surface.

Screeding Tools

The nice thing about screeding is that it doesn't take much to accomplish, tool-wise. Many people, including some professional contractors, get the job done with nothing but a 2x4 of the appropriate length. If you choose to go this route, just be sure that the board is straight and unwarped. Otherwise, your concrete may end up marred by unintended ruts and declivities.

If you work in the concrete industry, or even have plans to tackle more than one concrete project, you may find it worthwhile to invest in an aluminum screed. These have the advantage of being lighter than a 2x4. In addition, they are much easier to clean at the end of the project because concrete sticks to metal much less readily than to wood.

The Process

If the dimensions of your concrete project are small enough, you may be able to screed it on your own. That said, most screeding jobs are a two person task. That's because the screed must be dragged across the surface from end to end--a task that requires one person pulling at each end of the screed. It is possible to screed a larger surface solo with the help of a special screed known as a jitterbug screed

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