SCREED DREAMS ARE(N'T) MADE OF THESE

laying a screed floor polished

Hey guys. I come to you today with a post that is not of my usual nature... a failure!

For those who follow me on social media you will have seen that we have been working on redoing our bathroom, kitchen and toilet room floor (they are all connected). The plan was to end up with a screed floor that was then glossed with a high shine varnish, with the end result being something along the lines of this...

screed floor

Pretty cool right? Functional and modern. It was a concern whether any future buyers of our flat would 'get it', and I toyed with going for a traditional art deco style black and white diamond vinyl or tile but decided to go for something a bit more out there. I should say at this point that I knew I was taking a risk on trying something out that wasn't normal, and our flooring guys even told us that. But of course I wanted to try it anyway!

STEP 1: SCRAPING

The process started with us having to scrape the black floor paint up that we painted onto the original floor tiles when we moved in a year and a half ago. That was a fun (not) job. At first I started just by chipping away at it dry with a paint scraper, but it quickly became clear that this took way too long and was really frickin' hard work. So we instead bought about 5 cans of this paint stripper, which I've never used before but it was pretty damn nifty! After a couple of coats painted on the paint literally bubbled up and turned into a rubbery film that you could easily scrape away with minimal effort. 

This stripping malarky ended up being a pretty tiresome job, as we couldn't do much of it when Marley was awake due to the fumes, and just finding the free time to do it was hard. But hey, we got there. That was nothing compared to what was coming!

STEP 2: MOVE EVERYTHING OUT

Ok so now all the floor was scraped we had to move out all of our appliances so that the screed could be laid right up to the edges of the rooms. That meant no dishwasher, washing machine or sink (as the pipe was now open after the dishwasher was disconnected). It also meant that the fridge was in my hallway, which now looked like this:

argh just looking at it freaks me out! We prepared for a few days with no appliances.

STEP 3: LAY THE SCREED

We called on the trusty All Flooring UK who have done all of our flooring in the flat - carpets, sanding, staining and varnishing our hallways floorboards and now this. This was probably my strangest request to date, and I have to say a big thanks to Steve from All Flooring UK as he really had to put up with me back and forth-ing over whether to go with the screed and how to varnish it... plus my million other questions! Steve came to lay down the screed which he laid on pretty thick as we had to make sure the lines from the tiles underneath wouldn't show through. this went down in about an hour and then was left to set overnight. 

This is how it looked as it went down...

You have no idea how tempting it was not to touch this! But anyway I sat patiently, contemplated where I was going to wee if the need arose (the toilet floor was still wet!) and waited patiently. The screed was taking around 4 times as long to dry as it would normally. I think due to our flat being quite damp and also it being the depths of winter so we couldn't keep the windows open or anything to dry it out faster. Anyway, I waited patiently. 

WHICH IS MORE THAN I CAN SAY FOR MY HUSBAND.

I heard some stumbling sounds. Was he in the kitchen? No he couldn't be, some of it by the entrance was still wet.

Go to hallway and yep - being the clever clogs that he is he decided to jump over the wet patch, which was now just the middle section between the hallway and kitchen, and enter the kitchen to shut the window. Ok, so now he's in, and as fuming as I am for him trying to be f*cking Lara Croft jumping over the wet patch I decide to try to help him get out, which he has suddenly realised is much harder to exit without stumbling. 

It looks like he will be better off without my assistance. I think he just needs to pluck up the courage to do a big run up and just jump it. 

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I leave.

Stumbling sounds again.

I go into the hallway, and Jaosn is standing there, feet convered in wet screed, looking pretty sheepish.

OMG HE'S ONLY GONE AND MADE TWO HUGE FOOTPRINTS IN IT!!!

This was taken the day after, as I needed about that much time to calm down.

All of the waiting patiently, taking trips to my mums just to have a wee... was for nothing!

STEP 4: LAY ANOTHER LAYER OF SCREED TO COVER THE HOLES

I don't think this needs much explaining. Basically, another layer had to go down in order to fill Jason's foot holes! Except here's the catch, the original layer was done on a Saturday and we now had to wait until Monday evening to lay the next layer because Steve hadn't kept time aside in case of husbands putting feet in the screed and was busy on other jobs. Ok Saturday to Monday you may think, "hey no big deal!", and I would be inclined to agree with you. But maybe I should remind you of this:

That was a few days of washing plates in the bath. Yum.

Anyway, next layer goes down. Steve has the patience of a saint and even pretends to go along with Jason's story about 'a bird flying in'.

All looking good. But then.... it doesn't dry.

Three days later and it's still not dry! It's ok to walk on but in general it's definitely still damp as you can see darker grey patches. So we had heaters on it, windows open, heating up, dehumidifier on....

A week later and it's still the same. For some reason this upper layer is just not drying at the same rate as the other one. I would imagine it's mainly due to it being winter and damp, partly due to two layers being laid in quick succession without either probably being fully dried out.

I have to admit I am pretty devastated, I really had high hopes for this screed thing and wanted to add it to a line of my random experiments that seem to turn out for the best but this one just wasn't meant to be. I knew it was a big risk, but at least we can say we tried! 

Lessons learnt:

- Don't put screed down in the depths of winter and expect it to dry at the normal rate

- Move out of your house for a few days if you are not going to be able to access basic things such as fresh water, the toilet, or your washing machine (no-one needs to be peeing in the shower)

- Do not expect an apology from a man for putting his foot in wet screed. Somehow, it is your fault and you are overreacting because "There are more important things in life to worry about" etc etc

- I've got a new found appreciation for the appliances I am so fortunate to have and rely on everyday!

Anyway at the end of all of this I still love my husband. There are more important things to worry about (I have to give it to him there), and we would have had to lay screed for any other flooring to be put down anyway. We've taken the heartbreaking decision to go for a black and white diagonal tile look floor, similar to below, which I am sure is probably more in keeping with the style and history of the property anyway. Even if it does make me a bit sad!

We've asked Steve to come back and lay the black and white Marmoleum after xmas. I really can't stress just how accommodating these guys were through all of our crazyness. They seriously took it in their stride even with us being, well, twats. Please go and check out All Flooring UK, as the least I can do is throw them some extra work to make up for their help!

Stay tuned for a final update, will probably be some time after xmas now!

S x