What Are the Different Types of Concrete Forms Used in Casting?

Concrete being poured into a precast mold for a wall.

In the past, concrete forms simply helped shape the material by holding its mixture until properly cured, leaving the hardened concrete in the desired shape and size once removed. Today, though, various concrete molding forms help add additional attributes to the finished piece, such as texture, insulation, and even specific designs.

Wood — Traditionally Used for Concrete Molding Forms

Wood forms mold concrete mixtures into several different shapes and lengths, and since screws or nails connect the wood pieces together, they’re durable and long-lasting. After making a wood form, the manufacturer can use it repeatedly throughout multiple projects. While concrete mixtures tend to stick to wood, a lubricant, such as a low-grade oil, prevents sticking when removing the forms.

With all of that being said, however, wood molding forms they’re limited in their use. They’re ineffective at creating concrete molds higher than six inches, and though round shapes and curves are possible with wood forms, you’ll need to install thinner cross-sections to mold those particular shapes.

Insulated Concrete Forms for Permanent Protection

When pouring concrete or similar alternatives to construct a foundation, consider an insulated concrete form (ICF), which is hollow and made with an insulating material, hence the name.

Each piece has connecting components that allow for assembly in a manner similar to building blocks.

An added benefit of insulated concrete molding forms is that they can be permanently kept in place after the concrete has cured. The forms then become a part of the foundation wall, adding an extra layer of insulation on either side of the concrete structure.

Foam Forms Provide Better Finished Results

Manufacturers make foam forms from acrylic glass, laminated board, or melamine to create a smoother finish. Concrete is poured into the mold, which is upside-down, and once cured, the concrete is easily removed with a sleek, velvety surface.

Foam forms are especially useful in creating concrete components designed with more artistic qualities, as they make it easier to put negative spaces into the completed structure.

Wood and Steel Wall Forms for Bigger Projects

You’ll need to cast these components as single pieces when developing larger structures, such as walls or piers. For that process, wall forms are useful. These larger concrete molding forms are made with either wood or steel.

Wooden wall forms have steel framing in place for better support. As the concrete is poured, the forms are tied together to hold them in place. While there are wall forms that fit the needs of multiple customers, you can also customize your own.

On the other hand, steel forms are often preferable, as they are far more durable than their wooden counterparts. Wood forms can only be reused several times, while, on average, a steel form has a life cycle of over 2,000 uses. Steel doesn’t absorb moisture, allowing concrete and its alternatives to cure with fewer errors.

Visit the Trusted Source for Precast Concrete Molds

American Precast Concrete can help you finish any size project with customized precast concrete components. We’ll help you design concrete forms to meet your exact specifications. Contact us today to find out more about our precast concrete products.