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The Difference Between Concrete & Screed

Concrete and screed are essentially made up of the same basic materials – cement, aggregates and water. However, typically the biggest defining difference is that, because screed uses finer aggregates than standard concrete (such as sand) it is typically used as a top-layer finish to ensure the floor is even and smooth.

Screed & Concrete - The Key Differences

In this article we will explore some more of the key differences between screed and concrete.

Material Composition

Whilst screed and concrete are both made up of the same core ingredients, their main difference is the type of aggregate used. Whilst concrete is known for its strength and durability due to the incorporation of coarse aggregates in its mix, screed typically uses a fine aggregate in comparison, giving it a smoother quality – hence why its ideal for finishing flooring surfaces rather than more structural construction (that concrete would typically take care of).

Texture & Appearance

Appearance-wise both concrete and screed look very similar, however, if you know what to look for you will notice defining features, including:

  • Concrete will have a rougher texture and appearance due to the presence of larger aggregates, some of which can be as much as 20mm.
  • Screed generally has a far smoother look and texture since it is composed of comparatively small aggregates that are around the 4 – 5mm specification.

How Are They Used?

Concrete is typically used for forming walls, creating floors, building structures, hard landscaping and other construction purposes.

In comparison, screed is used for internal floors – laid on top of the concrete floor thanks to its smooth, aesthetically pleasing finish.

When used together screed and concrete offer a solid combination of sturdiness, durability and polish.

How Is Screed Applied?

Screed can easily be applied evenly with a trowel and needs little skill to complete the job successfully thanks to the fineness of the aggregates used.

How Is Concrete Applied?

As a result of its coarser structure, due to the larger aggregates used, concrete requires specialist equipment to mix and apply, requiring a skilled tradesperson to complete a job to a high standard of quality, efficiency and in a safe manner.


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