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Knauf 's dry screed reduces load and boosts heating options

Knauf 's dry screed reduces load and boosts heating options

New lightweight flooring technology makes underfloor heating an attractive proposition in tall buildings – both new and refurbished. With greater energy efficiency required by regulation – and common sense – across almost all the property spectrum, underfloor heating has much to offer. Combined with the tough new lightweight dry floor screed from Knauf Drywall, the case is compelling.

Underfloor heating is strongly challenging the dominance of radiator heating. Because it provides uniform heating in a room, an underfloor system achieves and maintains comfortable conditions at lower temperatures – involving less energy input and reduced CO2 output. A drawback in tall buildings has been that underfloor systems have mostly been laid on top of the concrete slabs, and then sealed into a heavy wet screed, often 60mm thick.

Ideal for a wide range of residential and commercial applications and weighing almost 80% less per square metre than traditional wet floor screeds, new Knauf Brio Dry Floor Screed has the potential to reduce the structural load of a big multi-storey building by hundreds of tons. The potential benefits of this include slimmer structural columns – translating to savings in material costs, simpler foundations, and more usable space.

In most existing buildings, an upgrade to underfloor heating with Knauf Brio on top poses no structural problems – and is achieved by sacrificing no more than 50mm in room height. Knauf Brio can also be used on its own, or with a levelling compound, to create a firm, safe and level floor surface.

In addition to the potential weight saving, Knauf Brio is more thermally efficient than a wet screed – and its thermal transparency optimises the efficiency of underfloor heating and cooling systems. Underfloor heating in a traditional screed has to heat the surrounding material before the benefits can be felt in the room above. With Knauf Brio, heat flows up into the room immediately, so no energy is wasted in warming the structure instead of the space.

The boards are 1,200 x 600mm for ease of handling and installation. Depending on their type, Knauf Brio boards weigh just 22–30kg/m2. By comparison, a traditional site mixed sand and cement screed, 60mm deep to provide 30mm cover over underfloor heating pipes, weighs about 110kg/m2. The potential weight saving is about one ton for every 11.5m2.

Knauf Brio is a gypsum fibreboard with precision engineered tiered edges. The boards are laid directly over an underfloor heating array of routed polystyrene containing the pipes and supporting diffuser trays, or over the subfloor. The Knauf Brio edges are glued, then screwed together. This fast-lay flooring can take traffic as soon as the glue has dried – just a matter of hours.

For underfloor heating applications, Knauf Brio is available in a 23mm thickness. For use without heating systems, Brio comes in 28mm and 33mm overall thicknesses, including a sound absorbing 10mm wood fibre laminate on the underside.

Knauf Brio is the latest in a long line of gypsum based solutions for the building industry. Its debut – coinciding with record high energy prices and pressure for more energy efficient buildings – gives specifiers an excellent new possibility. 

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