Performance flooring manufacturer Flowcrete’s high strength proprietary K-Screed has been installed at the New Zealand Government Archives facility in Auckland.

Some 2,780 sqm of Flowcrete’s proprietary screed system known as K-Screed, has been installed at the New Zealand Government Archives Facility, providing a smooth, high strength surface for the final floor finish.

According to Barry McGee of Flowcrete New Zealand, K-Screed was selected by the client and main contractor Mainzeal Construction over other systems for several key reasons.

“The first is K-Screed’s unparalleled proven track record. It has been used in high profile airports, car parks, hospitals and public buildings around the world, primarily because it delivers performance benefits that are significantly greater than those offered by traditional concrete, and at a more favourable price than most self-levelling compounds.”

The added strength and durability of K-Screed, achieved due to the reduced water content of the system, eliminates the cracking, curling and debonding that often occurs with sand/cement screeds.

Curing times for K-Screed are favourable at as little as 2-4 hours, as compared to 7 days for sand/cement. Drying times are also significantly faster, with K-Screed requiring only 24 hours per 10mm thickness (depending on ambient temperature), while sand/cement can take up to 75 days (11 weeks).

Working in partnership with reputable local company Firth Concrete, the semi-dry cementitious K-Screed was provided at the Archives site ready-mixed, ensuring consistency and quality of product.

K-Screed was installed at a thickness of 30 to 35mm in the high level racking area of the facility. “This required thickness was another reason for selecting K-Screed over concrete, which has been known to fail at such depths,” says McGee.

K-Screed can be laid from thicknesses of 15mm up to 100mm. “Unlike concrete, it can also be screeded to very tight tolerances and to falls if required. Superior impact resistance also protects thinner section floor finishes, such as vinyl, for far longer.”

The K-Screed was finished to a level tolerance of 1mm in 3 metres, a surface finish that would have been difficult to achieve with normal concrete, according to McGee.

“Concrete is often specified to be finished to the Finished Floor Level and to the level tolerances. This is often never achieved, and results in the concrete needing to be topped with a levelling compound in order to meet the desired level tolerances before applying the final floor finishes. This is an extremely expensive and time-consuming exercise, all of which can be avoided by using K-Screed laid to the correct falls or tolerances,” he says.

“We like to think of it as our ‘Black Magic’ system – that’s the colour and that’s how it performs!”

In another first for the region, the K-Screed was installed at the New Zealand Archive Facility using the K-Master, an innovative mechanical screeding machine. “The K-Master enables large areas to be laid to a consistent quality and flatness.”

One of the primary benefits of mechanical screeding however is speed of installation. “The rates achievable with mechanical screeding are 4 to 5 times higher than with manual installation, up to 60m2 per hour. This kind of saving is invaluable on large-scale projects such as hospitals, airports and municipal buildings,” says McGee. For smaller areas, the K-Screed can be applied by hand using traditional concrete placing methods, without the need for specialist flooring equipment.

Flowcrete’s Flowcoat SF41/OP system was selected as the final floor finish for the Facility, installed over a total area of 4,000sqm. “The selection of Flowcoat represents another first for us in New Zealand. The final result is a seamless, smooth and aesthetically pleasing floor that is easy to clean, and easy to keep dust free and maintain,” says McGee.