When it comes to formwork, it’s imperative to know the available options and the advantages that each offers the project. While some may be generally preferred, it’s a great idea to evaluate the possibilities with each project to avoid missing an opportunity to use a formwork option that may offer a better outcome on the intended product. Many factors, such as the type of concrete, the concrete temperature, the intended use of the structure, and the requirement for removing the form, can impact or sway the formwork goals. Consider the following materials to see which may be most indicated for your next project.
Timber and Plywood
One of the earliest types of formwork used in concrete projects, timber formwork continues to be one of the most popular options for low-height projects. Timber and plywood are easily and affordably acquired, are comparatively lightweight, and are easily removed at the project’s end. The downside is that these materials are porous and frequently not expected to be used repeatedly due to environmental degradation and concrete moisture exposure. Whereas timber is constructed one piece at a time, plywood offers one panel at a time.
Steel And Aluminum
The metallic framework’s initial cost is higher than timber options, but this material has the advantage of being reusable. The metal is impervious to any exposure to moisture. It is strong and durable so that it can support an increased volume of wet concrete. Additionally, metallic sheets can be bent or arranged, allowing for more creative curving.
A Column Formwork System is most advantageous to projects with anticipated taller vertical heights. These flexible forms can be adjusted to any special shape and offer the added benefit of strength to hold back massive quantities of concrete making it possible to erect structures in place quicker than other form options.
Plastic also offers repeated use. These forms work best for smaller projects that may feature repeat concrete pours. Plastic forms typically are project-specific since they must be prefabricated. The cost of the premade mold must be factored over the expected use of the form. Once it’s designed and created for a project, that is the only use this type of form can offer.
It may seem unlikely, but a fabric barrier can support a large volume of concrete. It is a newer method of formwork that allows for more nontraditional shapes and structures. The fabric can be manipulated as the fluidity of the concrete becomes hardened. The downside of using this type of material is that it is uncommon and fewer engineers and designers may have experience wielding the fabric and guiding the outcome.
This type of formwork incorporates the insulation into the structure, allowing it to become thermally, acoustically insulated, fire-resistant, and even better protected against pests. This is accomplished by pouring the concrete around polystyrene boards that will remain within the structure. An insulated structure can expect to be more energy efficient.
Some formwork is essentially a component of the structure. Stay-in-place formwork serves as the axial as well as the reinforcement. It is typically constructed on location from prefabricated plastic forms with the intent of remaining even after the concrete has dried and solidified.
Avoid getting into the habit of always opting for the same formwork. Try to evaluate the subtle differences that each type of form offers in relation to the project’s intended outcome. You may find that your next project could be better served by using a different kind of form than your last project.