Screed Construction: Choosing the Right Screed for Your Project

Construction workers who pour concrete are familiar with using a screed, a device used to smooth concrete after being applied on a surface. Simply pouring concrete mix onto the road will produce, well, a big pile of concrete mix. A screed flattens out the poured mixture to produce a level surface.
There are many types of screeds on the market, and choosing which one to use will depend on how big the project is, how flat the concrete surface should be, and what kind of concrete mixture is used. If you’re scratching your head right now, here are the different types of screeds that you can use as a guide to choose the right screed for your project:

The simplest and cheapest type of screed is a piece of wood – usually a 2x4 – that is manually applied onto the concrete surface. After pouring the mix, the concrete is smoothed out by running the wooden screen manually over the concrete. While this type is one of the least expensive, the results may not be as accurate as the others. It's generally good for do-it-yourself projects around home.

This type is best used on roads and highways, and when handling low slump concrete. Some variants are handheld while others are motor-driven. Roller screeds can also be used in ramps, steep slopes, and uneven base surfaces.

Although most of the variants of this type of screed are handheld, mechanical screeds involve motor-driven vibrations that propel the screed forwards and backwards. The person handling a mechanical screed only needs to control the motor. This type is beneficial in small construction projects such as sidewalks and driveways.

The most expensive type of the lot but producing the best quality is the laser screed. This type is characterized by a motor-operated vibrator, an auger, and a plow. The operator can control the laser screed through a joystick to steer and rotate the screed. Output is a near-perfect level concrete surface done in a single pass.

All in all, choosing which type of screed depends on the project budget and size. The construction company and the project owner must strike a balance between output quality and overall expense. Learn more on our concrete estimating software from ProEst today!