If you have always wanted to build a home that combines Scandinavian and industrial design to play with both cold and warm look using cement screed as material for your flooring and wall, think again.
No doubt cement screed looks good in interior design magazine spreads, but it is not what you think it is – hardy and easy to maintain. The idea that cement screed is hardy and easy to maintain remains a myth than a fact. The picture-perfect cement screed you find online for interior design ideas are probably done over a few times.
There are some difficulties which can be caused by using cement screed for your home and we list them out here for your consideration before you take the plunge in choosing cement screed as your primary material to renovate your home.
Potentials of cement screed
The popularity of cement screed in Singapore soared in response to the rise of industrial home designs with interior design magazines praising its cool quotient. No doubt that cement screed does look cool with a warehouse chic and modern retro. It does provide a natural and simple minimalistic look. It definitely has a role as a material to consider when you are looking to designing your new home with a sleek and contemporary look.
- You may not get what you want
Despite the promises of that contemporary and chic look that cement screed can bring, the truth is, it is not easy to install cement screed. In fact, interior designers have said that it is a tedious process and requires sealing, because it is a porous material.
You need to seal cement screed if you do not want to stain it easily. There are different options out there to get the cement screed you want such as flat, glossy, rough or smooth. Although you can choose not to seal, you must be aware that this will cause a powdery texture in the future unless the surface is buffed down with a buffing machine, which most contractor will reject because it is a very time-consuming process.
Also, brace yourself when the cement screed is completed because you may not get what you expect. There could be running tones such as uneven patches caused by the cement reacting to parts of the existing floor base. Since cement screed is applied using hand by the contractor, you will get slightly varying outcomes – they may not turn out like what you see in interior décor magazines or even the contractor’s portfolio.
- Not Easy to Maintain
Although most home owners think cement screed is easy to maintain, they are wrong. Once the cement is set, you literally cannot change anything much thereafter. You cannot maintain cement screed because its surfaces will wear over time with traffic.
There is no way for you to patch up areas unless you start again with a completely new layer. But day to day maintenance isn’t difficult as all you need is to use a dry cloth or broom for daily cleaning and to occasionally wipe the area with a wet cloth or mop.
- It will chip and crack with time
Cement screed is not a flexible material and you can expect to see cracks and chips over time depending on the humidity and temperature levels in your home.
Renovation works by your next-door neighbor can also cause crack on your cement screed flooring. As the floor surface is constantly exposed to the activities of everyday life, it is inevitable for chips and cracks to appear.
Your cement screed’s durability also depends on the brand you use. The material is made up if Portland cement mixed with some form of hardener or elasticity that helps to prevent chipping and cracking and the amount of hardener and elasticity in the form of polymers/compounds and binders can vary, thus the number of cracks and chips can vary as well.
- To consider for those with budget constraints
Cement screed surfaces is relatively cheaper than other floor surface materials. The price for cement screed is dependent on the compounds in the mix. For better compounds it starts at $5 psf and can go up to $10 psf.
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