How Long Should Floor Screed Take To Dry?

When it comes to floor screed installations, one critical factor that often determines project timelines and overall success is the drying time.

As a screed installer, you understand the importance of allowing the screed to dry fully before proceeding with subsequent tasks or floor coverings. But how long should floor screed take to dry? And how does this drying time impact your role as a screed installer?

In this blog, we will delve into the topic of drying times for different types of screed products, including liquid screeds, dry screeds, and specifically, cement-based liquid screeds like Cemfloor. We will explore the benefits of quicker drying times and how they significantly assist you in your work.

Whether you're involved in commercial or domestic projects, understanding drying times and their implications can enhance your efficiency, productivity, and overall project outcomes. So let's dive in and uncover the insights that will help you navigate the drying process with confidence and optimize your screed installations.


Understanding Drying Times of Different Screed Products

As you’re already aware, no two screed products are the same. In fact screed products can vary greatly in both their features, and more specifically, their drying times.


Liquid Screed Products:

Liquid screeds, such as self-levelling or flowing screeds, offer several advantages, including efficient coverage due their free-flowing nature. These screeds often have faster drying times compared to dry screeds and depending on the specific product and environmental conditions, can achieve significant drying within a week.


Dry Screed Products:

More traditional dry screeds, also known as pre-mixed screeds or sand and cement screeds, require the addition of water on-site. Their drying times typically take longer when compared to liquid screeds, which has contributed to their reduced use over recent years. On average , dry screeds can take several weeks to dry completely, depending on factors such as thickness, environmental conditions, and ventilation.


Cement-Based Liquid Screed Products:

Cement-based liquid screed products, offer unique advantages in terms of both performance and drying times. These screeds are specifically designed to provide faster drying rates and a stronger finish, enabling quicker project completion. Some products, such as Cemfloor, offer much faster drying times compared to traditional dry screeds or liquid alternatives. This allows for faster progress and enhanced productivity, all whilst maintaining a quality finish.

So we’ve covered the basics, defining the difference between each screed type. But, let’s take a look at best practices for drying liquid screeds.


Drying Times For Liquid Screeds

The strength and durability of liquid screeds, even when thinly spread, allows for quicker drying, whilst maintaining a solid foundation. However, it's important to note that drying times can be influenced by external factors, such as temperature, humidity, and moisture ingress. Here is a general overview of suggested drying times for liquid screeds:


Drying Liquid Screed - 24-48 Hours:

After pouring the liquid screed, it's crucial to leave it untouched for the first 24 hours. During this period, it's recommended to keep all windows and doors closed. After the initial 24 hours, with products such as Cemfloor, the screed is usually safe for light foot traffic. This allows works to continue and prevents downtime on projects, however, at this point heavy traffic, such as heavy footfall or vehicles and machinery should still be avoided.


Underfloor Heating Liquid Screed - 48 Hours Onwards:

Whilst you should attempt to minimise airflow within the space in the first 24 hours, the opposite is true after 48+ hours have elapsed.

After 48 hours, it's important to encourage airflow within the space. Circulation of air and warmer temperatures assist in the hardening process of the floor screed. Generally, higher temperatures and lower humidity lead to faster drying times.

But why is this?

Proper air circulation is crucial for the drying process of screeds. When the space around the screed surface lacks circulation, it becomes relatively humid, which hinders the drying process. Additionally, if the air is cold, it has a reduced capacity to hold moisture, resulting in extended drying times.



In conclusion, understanding the drying times of different screed products is crucial for screed installers. Liquid screeds like Cemfloor offer the advantage of quicker drying compared to dry screeds. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and air circulation significantly impact drying times.

By following recommended guidelines and allowing sufficient drying and curing time, installers can prevent issues and ensure successful installations. Quicker drying times provide opportunities for earlier access to the screed surface, improving project timelines and productivity.

However, it’s important not to sacrifice the integrity of the screed by misunderstanding when the surface is ready to be trafficked. Whilst cement-based liquid screeds offer extremely fast drying times, this is only when it is installed according to the manufacturer’s precise guidelines.


Cemfloor Approved Installer Program

That's why we created the Cemfloor Approved Installer Program, aimed at assisting screed installers in consistently delivering success and quality to their customers through Cemfloor products. 

Tailored to your needs, this 1-hour training course focuses on essential guidelines for installing Cemfloor's cement-based liquid screeds and meeting manufacturer standards time and time again.

Cemfloor has built a strong reputation as a trusted manufacturer and provider of screeds, specialising in high-quality cement-based liquid screeds for projects ranging from domestic to commercial sites.

With Cemfloor products and our unwavering commitment to quality, installers can confidently install floors, knowing that the product is always of the highest standard, carrying both UKCA and CE marks. 

Join the Cemfloor Screed Installer Program today and become part of a growing community of skilled professionals dedicated to delivering quality-driven projects to their clients.



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