The Types and Importance of Concrete Forms
One of the most important things to understand when it comes to laying concrete on your property is the details behind concrete forms. These are the solid barriers that are used to hold the liquid concrete in place while it hardens. Without them, the concrete would not set as desired, and it would not be possible to create a beautiful driveway or patio.
Effective concrete forms should:
- Have tight joints so that there is no leakage of the wet concrete
- Be rigid so that there is now bowing due to the concrete’s weight
- Be strong enough that the concrete can be held in place
- Have proper support and bracing, both horizontal and vertical
- Be completely level
- Be able to withstand the weather during construction without the risk of warping
There are several types of concrete forms available. These include:
This is the most basic form available. It is usually used when casting concrete that will not exceed a height of 6 inches. The wood form is made of wooden boards that are nailed or screwed together in order to form the mold. If properly maintained, wood forms can be used several times.
These are essentially hollow blocks that are made of insulating material. These blocks fit together like building blocks in order to form the mold.
These forms are constructed directly on the foundation slab and form a part of the foundation and wall systems. Unlike other options, the forms themselves do not need to be removed once the concrete has set.
This is a non-traditional option. In this option, the concrete is poured upside down, allowing for the creation of the desired finish. The forms themselves are made of either melamine, laminated board, or acrylic glass.
They are used to create negative spaces, which lend an artistic air to the final cast. Often, inserts are attached to the inside of the form in order to create decorative edging or relief.
Concrete Wall Forms
These are pre-manufactured forms that are used in order to cast last walls, foundations, etc. They are made using either engineering wood with a steel frame or only steel.
The individual parts of the form are attached together using either pins or latches. The frames also use ties in order to hold the reinforcements in place while the concrete is poured.
These are made of steel, and if properly maintained, they can be used for up to 2000 castings. This makes them a great long-term solution.
One of the greatest benefits of using steel forms is that they do not absorb any moisture from the concrete. This means that there are fewer visible errors in the final concrete casting.
Decorative Forming Materials
As concrete gains popularity as an aesthetic material as well as a functional one, another product that is becoming more common is decorative form liners. These are plastic sheets that have relief of stone, tile, or another artistic design attached to the inside. When poured, the concrete takes the shape and relief of the liner, allowing for the creation of decorative concrete.
There are several factors that influence which concrete form should be used for a particular casting. These include:
- The size of the pour
- The pressure that will be exerted on the form
- The weight that will be applied on the form
- The type of compaction desired
- The amount of concrete that needs to be retained
Concrete forms form the basis for a good pour. Without proper forms, the final construction will be unattractive and maybe even dangerous. This essential step means that hiring a professional will always be a better option than doing it yourself – if you use the wrong concrete forms, you will out a lot of time and money and will also need to clean up the wrongly created structure.