Flooring terms you should know – a cheat sheet
Screed, anhydrite, self-leveling screed, polished concrete… is it all Greek to you? Don’t worry, we’ve prepared a little cheat sheet that will make it easier for you to get along with the contractor.
Concrete – a material made of mixing cement, aggregate (e.g. sand, gravel), water, admixtures and additives. The most popular type of concrete in construction is C20 / 25 class concrete.
Architectural concrete / decorative concrete – a type of concrete that is primarily decorative, not just structural. Used for the construction of prefabricated elements such as plates, ceilings, elements of small architecture, flower pots. The structure of architectural concrete is characterized by a smooth surface and a visible structural layer. The number of pits visible in the material depends on the molding or technological treatments used.
Troweled concrete – concrete used for internal floors, which are made by troweling with special trowels. The trowel concrete floor is often finished with a mineral sprinkle in the DST process, thanks to which it obtains greater resistance and a better appearance. Used, among others in production halls or warehouses.
Polished concrete – floated concrete floor, sanded, chemically impregnated, polished and – if it is used as a decorative floor, e.g. in houses – varnished. This method is used to regenerate existing concrete floors or to make new floors, both industrial and decorative – in shopping centers, museums, restaurants, and airports.
Cement – a hydraulic mineral binder obtained from mineral resources (marl or limestone and clay) fired into clinker in a cement kiln. It is used for the preparation of cement mortars and concretes. The most popular is Portland cement.
Dilation – a gap formed between adjacent buildings or construction elements. It allows to minimize the effects of stresses arising in the concrete and prevent it from cracking. Expansion joints in the screed are a few millimeters wide and are usually cut in the thresholds, in the light of the windows and across the floor in rooms larger than 5m x 5m.
Liquid membrane – a product based on synthetic resins used as a waterproofing for insulating in wet areas. Usually applied with a brush or roller. After setting, it creates a waterproof and flexible coating.
Waterproofing – securing the facility against water and moisture. Properly executed waterproofing in wet areas (bathtub, shower, sauna, laundry room, kitchen) allows you to avoid the risk of flooding your neighbor’s apartment and the appearance of fungus or mold. The use of system waterproofing includes securing the contact between the floor and the wall with sealing tapes, bathroom corners and installation transitions with special sealing cuffs, which are glued into the liquid foil.
Screed – a floor underlay on which the floor is made (tiles, panels, parquet, etc.). The task of the screed is to level the surface, e.g. of the ceiling, before laying the finishing material, and to provide acoustic and thermal insulation. The most popular are cement screed and anhydrite screed.
Anhydrite screed – a floor underlay made of a variety of gypsum called anhydrite. Its advantages include the fact that there is no need to make many dilatations, because it shrinks very little. In addition, it sets quickly and can be used for underfloor heating.
Cement screed (concrete screed) – produced on the basis of Portland cement. Its advantage is its low price, its disadvantage is a long drying time (up to 28 days) and the need to use reinforcement and expansion joints to reduce the risk of cracks associated with concrete shrinkage.
Microcement / beton cire – a mixture of selected cements and polymers. After mixing, it is applied in thin layers (approx. 3 mm) and then impregnated. The microcement can be used on a new or existing substrate – on tiles, terrazzo, OSB, etc. Despite the thin layer, the system is durable, resistant to abrasion and easy to maintain.
Self-leveling screed – a floor screed based on cement or anhydrite, used to level, smooth and raise the surface.