How to remove screed from floor?

Removing screed from a floor can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques it can be done relatively easily. This guide will walk you through the steps needed to remove screed from a floor, as well as provide tips on how to make the process easier. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a screed-free floor in no time!

Types of screed:

  1. Sand-cement screed
  2. Oil bond screed
  3. Other types of screeds

Sand-cement screed is by far the most common type of screed found in residential homes, but other types are used as well. If you’re unsure what kind of material your floor is made out of, check with a local contractor or tradesman familiar with the installation process. Once you know what kind of screed lies beneath the surface, it’s much easier to choose the right remover for the job at hand.

If you find that there was oil bond used during your flooring installation, finding an enzyme cleaner won’t be hard – just about any hardware store carries this type product nowadays. The oil bond screed is easy to remove, but the process is slow; be prepared to devote several days of your time removing this type of screed.

If you’re dealing with another type of screed (such as polymer modified cement), then that’s great news – you’ve just eliminated one step in the process! The only downside is that some types of screeds are nearly impossible to remove, especially if they were installed over a lengthy period of time. If you’re unsure about what type of screed was used, take lots of photos beforehand so you know what’s coming when you start pulling up the flooring.  

Tools and materials needed for removing screed:

  1. Pry bar and hammer
  2. Pneumatic floor scraper
  3. Power sander with concrete grinding attachment
  4. Enzyme cleaner for oil bond screed
  5. Water extractor or wet/dry vacuum
  6. Plastic bucket filled with water

How to use these tools removing tools and materials needed for removing screed?

  1. Pry bar and hammer

The screed can be removed from concrete floor by pry bars and a hammer. First, you need to make a hole in the center of the screed using a drill or a punch once you can insert a crowbar into the hole. Use this as a starting point to pry up any portions of glue you come across – this will make it much easier to remove later on! Once you’ve got one portion pried up, take your hammer and start chipping away at the edge until you create a small crater that goes all the way down to the subflooring beneath. Repeat this process around the entire perimeter of the room until all areas have been exposed.

  1. Pneumatic floor scraper

This pneumatic floor scraper works by removing the screed layer in a safe and effective manner. Its heavy duty steel construction makes it ideal for use on concrete with ground granulated materials. The tool helps in removing the glue from between the screed joints quickly, both manually and with a power drill.  It’s easy to attach a ¼” drive power drill bit to the machine in order to eliminate large amounts of screed material quickly. You can easily adjust the depth of cut too, allowing you to work down into the subflooring if necessary. A safety guard is included as well, making sure that your hands are out of harm’s way at all times during operation.

  1. Power sander with concrete grinding attachment

This electric floor grinder has a powerful 5.8 amp motor that allows you to keep the sander at speed without overheating. The 7-inch diamond blade produces awesome results on concrete surfaces, and best of all it can be attached directly to this grinder for hands free operation! If you have any tile or other materials left behind after removing the screed, you can use this tool to go back over the flooring and grind away anything else using the built in safety guard. Any sharp edges will be eliminated once you’ve made your way around the room so there’s no need to worry about them cutting through your socks and shoes as you walk across the newly refinished floors.

  1. Enzyme cleaner for oil bond screed

For this process, you’ll need to use an enzyme cleaner. This type of cleaner works quickly on oil based screeds, and all you have to do is pour it into a spray bottle and then spritz the screed down. Once that’s done, wait for about 15 minutes before walking back over the treated areas with your grinder (using the 3/16″ drum). The enzyme cleaner will start breaking up any residual glue immediately after application so there’s no waiting around! After grinding away at the surface for a few seconds, go ahead and get under there with your wet-dry vacuum in order to pick up any loose debris. If you don’t want to deal with using an actual machine, just stick with the spray bottle and leave the grind off until you’ve wiped up anything that’s still stuck to the ground.

  1. Water extractor or wet/dry vacuum

This is a must-have tool to remove screed from flooring. A water extractor quickly eliminates water which makes it easier for you to clean your newly refinished floors without any delay. The Suction Master 5213 has a high capacity 5 gallon tank that gives you up to 30 minutes of continuous run time, making it perfect for this type of project where you’ll be working on several rooms at once! There are also nozzles available for use with electric drills so you can speed up cleaning time by cutting down on how long takes each individual area to dry.

  1. Grinding and polishing pads; diamond blades

The right accessories for your floor grinder can make a huge difference! The 3M Imperial Hook Loop Pads (5-Pack) are super tough and easy to clean, and they’re designed to work with all types of rotary tools including the ones we mentioned above. When it comes time to reseal your refinished floors, you’ll want to use 60-80 grit pads for the first few passes in order to get rid of any scratches left behind by earlier grinding efforts. If there’s still some glue stuck underneath after that, switch over to 100-120 grit pads so you can eliminate anything else without causing any damage. For protecting your newly finished hardwood floors , we recommend the 4-Pack of Norton Gold Extra Coarse Wet/Dry Diamond Blades.

Tips for removing screed successfully:

  1. Use a rotary tool with a 3/16-inch grinding wheel.
  2. Mix the grout and screed to create a doughy consistency, then remove it from the floor by making rows that run perpendicular to the way you’ll be polishing later on (this is optional).
  3. Spray water on top of the screed and let it sit for 15 minutes before scraping. If you happen to use an enzyme cleaner, make sure not to leave it down on your new floors for more than 5 minutes or it could damage them! After spraying the area, use your wet-dry vacuum to pick up any loose debris as quickly as possible .
  4. Use 30 grit sandpaper after using your spray bottle and vacuum in order to get a smooth finish. Get under the screed with your wet/dry vacuum and use 100-120 grit diamond pads + water so you can polish everything up to a shine afterwards .
  5. Use an enzyme cleaner spray bottle for this step because it starts breaking down residues right after being applied. If it’s not available, just stick with the spray bottle and then go over the area using 30-40 grit sandpaper instead of using a rotary machine .
  6. Use 60-80 grit diamond pads for polishing , followed by 120 grit if there are any remaining scratches from earlier steps! Make sure to check out our blog post about how to protect your newly refinished floors too 🙂
  7. Use 30-40 grit sandpaper on the area with enzyme cleaner, or you can just stick with the spray bottle and sand it down afterwards.

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