What Is Concrete?

Concrete is a simple, eco-friendly building material, that most anyone (at least when we’re considering a project with a size and complexity comparable to a manageable, non-construction crew-needed, type of scale) can learn to do.

Concrete is a perfect Di-it-yourselfer’s material, because it’s so straight-forward. It’s like hammering a nail, with a little practice, and attention to detail, it’s a skill most people can acquire through practice. But, there are still many, many tricks to getting it absolutely perfect, and one of these tricks to know how to properly build quality concrete forms.

Concrete Forms

Concrete Forms are the backbone to any quality concrete project. Yes, you will have to learn to mix concrete correctly, and you will have to learn to float concrete, treat concrete, maybe even stain concrete, but the job will be for nothing if the forms are built incorrectly. The forms should be built rigid and strong, to the exact dimensions of your plans.

If the forms are put up loosely, and the concrete’s allowed to move around, the water in the mixture allowed to travel, and the concrete could produce a honeycomb-effect, or possibly even separate the forms, spilling out the wet concrete.

What materials should be used to build forms?

Wood is the most common choice for smaller projects. Wood is such an adaptable material, and it can be cut easily, nailed, tied up, etc. into any shape. If you are shopping for wood to be used to build forms, use dried softwoods like pine, or some other economically-priced lumber, knowing that the lumber doesn’t need to be cabinet grade.

Also, don’t buy kiln-dried wood, because this type of lumber tends to bulge or swell when in contact with moisture. If you use green lumber (green lumber is lumber that hasn’t yet had the time to dry) keep the wood wet during the installation of the concrete in case it does dry while the form still needs to be in place.

If you can learn to correctly build forms (and you can practice forms over-and-over without actually having to pour the concrete job) you can conquer most concrete jobs. Good luck, and if you have any questions, call the concrete experts at Shotcrete Montana.