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Types of Concrete Forms

Learn about the many types of forms available, from basic wood to specialty systems for decorative concrete

Types of Concrete Forms

Wood Forms for Concrete Slabs

Concrete Wall Forms

Insulated Concrete Forms

Foam Concrete Forms & Decorative Forming Materials

Read more about Concrete Forms


A square foot of conventional concrete weighs about 150 pounds, and a typical concrete project may require hundreds to thousands of square feet of concrete to be placed at one time. All that weight needs to be held back by concrete forms, which is why most forms are made from rigid wood or metal. In recent years, there have seen some advancements in concrete forms made of plastic, fiber glass and resins, but the cost and strength of these materials are slow to overcome the proven performance of metal and wood.

Time: 03:49

Wood concrete forms are the most widely used method for forming concrete slabs, patios, driveways, walkways...you name it.

Time: 03:49

Forming concrete with plastic forms is an easy way to do curved radius patios, walkways, and other concrete slabs.

VIDEO: FORMING CONCRETE WITH WOOD FORMS

Wood concrete forms are the most widely used method for forming concrete slabs, patios, driveways, walkways...you name it. Learn about the different sizes of forms, bracing, and how to properly square your forms. Length—3:49

VIDEO: USING STENCILS ON EXTERIOR CONCRETE

Forming concrete with plastic forms is an easy way to do curved radius patios, walkways, and other concrete slabs. See this demo of plastic concrete forms being used and get tips on using them to form concrete. Length—6:11

Concrete forms are often categorized by where and how they are used. The best form for a particular project is often a function of the pour size, the amount of concrete the form needs to retain, and the pressure or weight that will be pushing against the form. For example, the typical concrete forms used for flatwork (such as a patio, driveway, sidewalk or road) range in height from 3 to 12 inches. Because the majority of the weight of the concrete in flatwork applications is spread across a prepared subbase -- which relieves much of the weight pushing against the form -- these forms are most often wood, with metal being used for larger commercial or highway work. In contrast, a concrete form used to construct a bridge pier or high-rise building foundation will hold back hundreds to thousands of square feet of concrete, with the height of the form ranging from 12 inches to 20 feet. Because of the massive amount of weight being exerted against these forms, they are made of high-grade steel and can weigh thousands of pounds.

Chris Sullivan

Author Chris Sullivan, ConcreteNetwork.com technical expert and vice president of sales and marketing for ChemSystems Inc.

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