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What is the Difference Between Concrete & Screed?

The primary difference between concrete and screed is that concrete is used for numerous high-strength applications, while screed is more commonly used as a top-level finish for flooring. Both are useful and popular materials for the construction industry, so let’s take a deeper look at the key differences between them.  

Pouring a concrete slab

What are they? 

Simply put, concrete is a strong, durable material used in the construction and engineering industries to create walls, floors and other structures. It is created through bonding together cement, water and coarse aggregates, which together form a high-strength substance with multiple applications. 

Screed is a mortar substance made from cement, water and finer aggregates such as sand, and is primarily used to provide an even finish for flooring or sub-flooring. It is usually applied in a thin layer over the top of a thicker concrete base or sub-floor. 

How are they different? 

  • Composition: Both screed and concrete share the same three basic ingredients: cement, water and aggregates. The key difference is that the aggregates used in concrete are much coarser, whereas screed uses finer particles, such as sand. Compositions of either can be adjusted to suit the specific application they will be used for.  
  • Appearance & Texture: Due to the inclusion of large stones and aggregates, concrete has a coarser, rougher texture than screed, which is much smoother. This difference is most apparent when the materials are in their liquid state. 
  • Strength: Thanks to its much coarser aggregate particles, concrete boasts a much higher strength than screed, making it ideal for load-bearing applications. Screed is much smoother and lower in strength, and is more commonly used as a finish than for any load-bearing purposes. 
  • Thickness: Concrete usually is laid very thickly – in fact, the minimum thickness recommended for domestic applications is 100mm. This is because it needs to withstand greater weights than screed, which is primarily used as a finish, and therefore is laid sometimes as thinly as 50mm. 

What are the uses of screed and concrete? 

Both screed and concrete are widely used in the construction industry, and are easily identifiable by the application they have been used for. Strong and durable, concrete is used for a variety of purposes, including flooring, walling, driveways, roads, and for other structural jobs. It is usually laid as a base level, with materials such as screed, laid over the top to deliver a smooth and even finish that is free from bumps.  
Get the perfect finishing touch with high quality screed and concrete from the professionals. Here at Neil Sullivan & Sons, we’ve been supplying a wide range of materials for domestic and commercial applications. For our customers’ total convenience, we operate an only-pay-for-what-you-use policy, and also offer same and next day delivery. To find out more about our services across the South East, simply contact our friendly team today.