Mastering Formwork: 4 Concrete Forms and Their Uses

What is formwork? Formwork is used by forming molds made from specific materials in which concrete is poured. There are many different kinds of concrete forms available, each for different project specifications.

The Purpose of Formwork

The purpose of formwork is to allow builders and contractors to complete projects quickly. The forms are a reliable way to cast and construct the needed components of certain structures, such as roofs and floors, using Concrete Form Systems. After the concrete is poured and hardened, the formwork can either be stripped away or left in place as part of the structure.

Concrete Slab Wooden Forms

What is the most basic type? The answer is wooden forms. Wooden forms are the most basic and oldest type of concrete formwork. This classic style is frequently used when constructing small-scale structures.

What do wooden forms consist of? These forms are made from wooden boards and plywood that are screwed or nailed together to stakes. The stakes are usually made from wood or steel. The wooden planks are commonly coated with low-grades of oil or a form-releasing agent.

When working with wood versions, it is important to prevent concrete from sticking to the wood. Keeping the concrete from sticking will keep the formwork clean. Another benefit is that by keeping things from sticking, the contractor can re-use the pieces multiple times.

Wall Forms Made of Concrete

Another type of form is concrete wall forms. These are pre-manufactured and concrete and are used for pouring walls and other giant structures like building piers and building foundations. These pre-manufactured wall structures are commonly made from engineered wood. They are then reinforced with metal frames or have a body made up of entirely metal.

Another name for this type of system is a gang forming system. Concrete wall forms are made to attach and create a uniform structure with a system of pins and latches. These pre-manufactured concrete wall forms come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. However, many manufacturers will create custom sizes for special building projects.

Concrete Forms Known as ICFs

Insulated concrete form systems or ICFs are hollow block styles of insulated materials that come together and are filled with concrete. After they are filled with concrete, they are then reinforced with steel. When are ICFs used? ICFs are typically used when constructing foundation slabs.

Another use for ICFs is in the exterior wall systems. With a block of insulating materials in place, metal-reinforced bars are put in the block wall structure. Next, water-mixed concrete, known as a high slump, is put inside the block wall form. Construction companies find ICF as efficient and love that the foam-concrete item produced is highly durable. Construction companies use these in walls, floors, and roofs.

Decorative and Foam Concrete Forms

The last two types are foam forms and decorative forms. These forms are not used as construction components but are used to make a building or home look fancy. Common uses for these two items are in creating fancy concrete countertops and decorative precast items. These components are also used in creating textured finishes.

Decorative concrete foams can be made from melamine, laminated board, or even from screws mounted to large boards. Inside of the forms will be design inserts that create decorative edging or artistic designs. While the other two types of concrete forms are for strength and building things, decorative and foam concrete forms are for finishing touches and making things look pretty.