Fundamentals of Concrete Formwork: Definition, Essentials, and Types

Concrete is one of the most common and pr materials used in almost all buildings, roads, and other construction projects. It is a mixture of water, portland cement, and aggregates such as sand, rock, or gravel.

But, have you ever wondered how a building got its shape out of concrete mixture? How does it become round, curved, or squared? Or, how does it obtain durability, strength, and resistance? If these questions came across your mind, you must check out the method called concrete forming.

To help you understand this construction method, let’s have an in-depth exploration of the fundamentals of concrete formworks.
Concrete Formworks
Concrete forms are solid barriers that temporarily hold wet concrete to form and obtain a particular shape. It allows the mixture to adequately set and keep its strength, giving durability to any structure.

To effectively support the weight and shape of wet concrete, formwork must:

● Be rigorous enough to avoid bowing under the concrete’s mass.
● Have properly sealed joints so that the wet concrete cannot leak through.
● Be strong enough to support and hold the concrete in place.
● Be properly leveled
● Be able to endure the components without warping.
● Have proper vertical and horizontal bracing and support such as stabilizers and poles.

Furthermore, with the correct construction and installation of concrete forms, you can ensure that your concrete building will have the shape you desired with optimal strength and durability.
Essentials of Concrete Forms

Formwork is significant when there are no structural components available to support the wet concrete and hold it to form the desired shape. Thus, it is necessary for the construction of reinforced concrete buildings and other structures such as foundations, columns, chimneys, bridges, towers, public buildings, etc.

Moreover, construction projects are three-dimensional. With that said, formwork concrete services such as horizontal and vertical formworks are essential in constructing any concrete structures.
Horizontal Concrete Forms
Horizontal concrete forms are significant for building concrete ceilings, floors, paths, and beams. This kind of formwork must be reinforced against horizontal and vertical loads using concrete form load-bearers and struts, braces, metal pegs, or a fixed connection to existing structures such as columns and walls.
Vertical Concrete Forms
On the other hand, vertical concrete forms are imperative for constructing concrete walls, foundations, columns, stairs, and pillars. This formwork backs up the lateral pressure of the concrete using tie rods or tie wires. Additionally, a vertical concrete form must be bolted or anchored to the floor to avoid lifting from the buoyant forces of the concrete.
Different Types of Concrete Forms Used in Concrete Casting

Contractors and builders use concrete forms as essential tools to help finish their projects on time or even sooner. Additionally, concrete forming Toronto and in other large cities offers a reliable way to mold and construct the essential components of buildings such as floors and roofs.

There are various types of concrete forms used in casting any construction projects. Nevertheless, selecting the most appropriate type usually depends on the specifications of the design. With that, here are some of the types of concrete forms available in the construction industry today.
Wooden Forms for Concrete Slabs
The wooden form is the basic and the most common type of concrete structure. A lot of construction sites and businesses use this type of formwork because it is economical and budget-friendly.

This formwork comprises of wooden boards—commonly plywood— which is screwed or nailed together to create a desired mold or shape. Then, to properly slope the wooden form based on the requirement, unique leveling devices, including string lines, hand levels, and laser levels, are used.

In addition to this, contractors are using additional boards to secure the areas where one board collides against another. Moreover, if there’s a need for rounded edges and free-forms, slimmer and thinner cross-section boards are much more ideal to use.

However, wooden concrete forms are less than ideal for large construction because of its tendency to shrink, warp, and swell.
Concrete Wall Forms
Concrete wall forms are pre-manufactured forming systems that are usually used to shape piers, foundations, and large-area walls. These systems are typically built with engineering wood and reinforced with a metal frame or consist of a complete steel body.

Additionally, these pre-manufactured wall systems—also known as gang forming systems—are designed to connect and assemble a uniform structure using latches or pins. On the other hand, ties are also necessary in these types of formwork to hold the reinforcement in place when pouring the wet concrete.

Concrete wall formworks come in various shapes and sizes. Nonetheless, some producers can create customized size wall forms according to the required dimensions of a construction project.
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)
Insulated concrete forms comprises of hollow foam blocks that are fixed together to form the desired shape of exterior walls. Furthermore, these formworks are built-up with steel rebar prior to pouring the wet concrete.

The popularity of ICFs has drastically increased because of the combination of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)—which is one of the finest insulating materials—and steel-reinforced concrete—which is the most substantial structural element.

Ultimately, the wall with insulated concrete forms is an excellent blend of durability coupled with efficiency and exceptional comfort. ICF walls are known to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, and even wildfire.
Foam and Decorative Formworks
This type of formwork follows an unconventional and non-traditional concrete forming technique. This method is used to develop inverted forms in which the concrete is poured upside down to obtain the desired texture finish.

Formworks like decorative concrete foams are usually made of components such as acrylic glass, melamine, laminated board, or screw attached to a huge board. Moreover, the interior of this concrete forming system has special inserts that provide an artistic look and decorative edging.
Wrap Up
Indeed, concrete forming is an essential step in constructing any concrete structures. It plays a significant role in obtaining the desired shape, strength, and durability of a building.

Moreover, in today’s time, formworks are not only used to cast wet concrete but also to provide insulation and decorative edging. With that said, the types of concrete forms above might help you choose the most appropriate formworks for your construction project—whether you opt for the most economical model, follows a non-traditional method, or the one which offers comfort and efficiency.