How to screed a floor

Updated November 21, 2016

It is essential to have a level floor before covering it with vinyl, carpet, wood or any other material. Known as a screed, a cement mixture is commonly used to create an even flooring. Bags of self-levelling compound are easier to use than sand and concrete that you mix yourself, and a larger area can be covered with less mixture. Before purchasing the compound, consider the floor traffic and any heavy furniture that may be positioned over it. Stronger compounds can be bought to support the extra load, usually latex and epoxy create stronger screeds. Screeds are also applied to flooring to preserve heat.

Laying the Screed

Sweep away dirt with the broom and remove any grit from holes in the floor. Fill in holes that are deeper than 5mm with ready-mixed mortar. Spreading over with a trowel.

Remove skirting boards with a chisel and hammer if there are any.

Coat the concrete surface with a concrete sealing agent.

Mix the self-levelling compound. Follow the instructions that come with the mix. Be aware that it dries very quickly, so it’s best to mix small amounts and do the floor in small sections.

Spread the mixture evenly by using the plank of wood and spirit level. Start in the corner of the room that is opposite the door and work your way forward.

Leave mixture to dry once the floor is covered. Do not walk over it while it’s setting.


If your home has underfloor heating, check the instructions for the self-levelling compound before you buy it to ensure it can be used. A screed that isn’t suitable can crack in the heat.

Use clean tools and a clean bucket for mixing. Dirt and grit will spoil the mixture.

It’s a good idea to wear gloves so as to not get your hands covered in cement.


Once the mixture for the self-levelling compound has started to set, do not attempt to add water to dilute or it won't be strong enough.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Ready-mixed mortar
  • Trowel
  • Sealing agent
  • Self-levelling compound (quantity depends on area to be covered)
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Plank of wood or similar to use as leveller
  • Spirit level
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