Concrete form work is the basics of all concrete work. Without forms, concrete would flow like water, making it impossible to make concrete conform to the desired shape and application. With these professional tips and advice for concrete form basics, you’ll be creating your own forms for you concrete projects.
Just like a puzzle
When your creating concrete forms for sidewalks, slabs, columns-whatever-keep in mind you need to remove the form work after the concrete has hardened. If concrete is covering the form in anyway, the nail work is buried or joints are compressed by concrete, your going to have the hardest time removing the form work without damaging the concrete work.
Always plan ahead as you build forms. Think of it like a puzzle in reverse. As you add pieces to your form work, make it easy to remove them later, don’t cover them with cement and make inside corners easily come apart.
Strong is not wrong
While trying to keep the form work simple and easy to disassemble might be best for taking them apart, a happy medium must be found between strong built forms and easily removable form work. Wet concrete weighs much more than dry concrete and as it presses against the forms, you had better hope it holds!
Additional braces and stakes that can be removed as the concrete dries can help to keep concrete in its proper place; behind the form and not all over the ground. Attach diagonal braces at least every four feet per 8″ of concrete. Sidewalks can take a lot less punishment from concrete weight, but footers and slabs will definitely need additional bracing.
Just tack it in
Just like a putt on the green, you don’t want to overdrive it. Using duplex or stacked head nails allows easy removal of form nails when the time comes. The dual head allows the lower head to secure the nail shank tight while the upper head allows a claw hammer to grip and easily pull the nail free.
Let it dry
Unless you need to get in there and finish the concrete, don’t remove the forms for 24 hours. This allows the concrete to shrink from the forms, creating a little space between the form and concrete. Remove the stakes with a set of posthole diggers and pry out the form with a crow/flat bar.