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How Many Times Can Formwork Be Reused

How Many Times Can Formwork Be Reused?

There are several options available to the construction industry when working with concrete forms. These materials are available for sale and for rent depending on the demands and parameters of current and projected construction projects. As the construction industry continues to see a push toward greener buildings and practices, one way to reduce the environmental impact of construction work is through reusable concrete formwork. Forming America offers concrete form rental options to help you save on cost and storage needs while only renting what you need to get the job done. Projects large and small can benefit from concrete forming and shoring rentals, and Forming America offers top-quality materials with incredible customer service. Learn how to reduce the construction industry’s carbon footprint through effective and affordable strategies to reuse existing materials and increase the lifespan of the formwork.

Different Types of Formwork and Their Reusability

Formwork refers to the temporary molds used in the construction industry to cast different shapes of concrete. Concrete is poured into these temporary molds for varying times depending on the type of formwork used and the required finish. Many concrete forms are temporary and can be removed once the concrete has gained its necessary strength, though some formworks can be left in place, known as permanent formwork. Here are examples of different types of temporary formwork and their reusability:


The oldest and most common type of formwork in the construction industry is made of timber. Historically, timber has been used for hundreds of years to fabricate a project to its required shape and size. Timber and plywood formwork can be built on-site and is relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. While timber can work well for small projects, larger projects may require a more heavy-duty formwork system. However, plywood formwork typically used with timber has a short lifespan and loses its strength and functionality with multiple uses.


Aluminum formwork offers another lightweight alternative to timber formwork. Aluminum formwork can be easy to assemble, and these materials can be reused several times. However, aluminum rental costs are significantly higher than timber and more similar to steel, which offers an overall stronger formwork system. Aluminum can also leave visible finishing lines on concrete surfaces, and once the formwork has been created, it cannot be modified, making it difficult to use for a variety of construction projects.


Steel formwork is the most popular option for concrete forms in the construction industry for both small and large projects. Large projects especially benefit from and even require steel formwork because of its strength, durability, and reusability. Steel formwork can be used on a large number of projects, offering the highest reusability factor among all types of formwork. Steel also offers a smoother finish on the concrete. The construction industry depends on steel concrete forms for its waterproof and moisture-proof materials and flexibility with design styles, including curved and circular structures like columns, tunnels, and retaining walls.  

Why Does Formwork Have a Limited Lifespan?

While steel formwork can be utilized up to 100 times before needing replacement, it still has a limited lifespan. Over time and with multiple projects, formwork does require repairs and can start to lose its strength. Steel formwork has a much longer lifespan than wood, and unlike plywood, steel does not absorb moisture that causes it to warp or shrink. Steel formwork can be installed faster and with greater ease than conventional formwork counterparts, which makes it a popular option for larger projects and those that involve circular or curved structures. However, formwork failure can occur if there are any defective components or improper connections. While steel concrete forms can be reused, they should always be inspected before each use. All defective components should be replaced or repaired before moving on to the next project to avoid formwork failure.

Care & Maintenance Tips for Reusing Concrete Forms

Strong and successful formwork is an important factor in the success of a construction project. From efficiency and quality to costs and worker safety, the concrete forms a site should always meet the standard requirements. There are steps contractors can take to ensure their concrete forms are regularly cared for and maintained to ensure the proper functioning and extend the lifespan of the materials.

Cleaning the Formwork

All concrete forms should be cleaned in between each use to avoid damaging the formwork and extending its lifespan. Clean formwork also creates a better finished product on current and future projects. The face of each form should be cleaned after each concrete pour immediately after removal from the structure. Cleaning the formwork while the concrete is still green makes the process easier and reduces the risk of damage to the forms.

Oiling the Formwork

Concrete formwork also requires oiling before and after each use to keep it looking new and functioning properly for years to come. Oiling the formwork is a simple maintenance cost that will help cut costs overall compared to buying new forms for every project. Steel formwork requires a passive form oil that will not leave a dust residue on the concrete formwork. Formwork should only be oiled after the forms have been properly cleaned to ensure the cleaning and oiling works properly.

Regular Maintenance

Concrete formwork requires regular maintenance, just like all other products and materials used on a job site. Investing in regular maintenance helps cut down on overall costs by ensuring a properly functioning and safe set of materials for each project. Regularly maintained formwork also provides a team with materials that function as a revenue-producing asset instead of a drain on resources. Formwork products should be subjected to rigorous testing, and conditions on a construction site demand that you preserve the value of your investments.

Should You Reuse or Just Rent Out Formwork?

As the construction industry looks for ways to limit its environmental impact, you might be wondering whether to reuse or just rent out formwork. While reducing materials can be a difficult task, there are ways listed above that will help increase the lifespan of concrete forms with proper care and maintenance. Some formwork products can also be recycled when they reach the end of their lifespan, which can help offset construction waste. Alternatively, renting formwork allows you to reuse durable and long-lasting steel formworks where the cost of maintenance and replacements is covered. Forming America offers a wide range of concrete formwork, shoring, and accessories to meet all your rental needs.

Benefits of Renting Formwork

Get top-quality concrete forms for rent with Forming America, the best concrete formwork supplier, and experience the wide range of benefits of renting concrete forms. Our complete line of concrete forms includes steel Symons forms, pre-engineered concrete forming systems that offer impressive reusability. When you rent formwork with us, you can expect strong, durable forms with a high reusability factor. You can also enjoy savings on both time and cost with concrete formwork carpentry and renovation, all in great condition. All our equipment rentals are reliable, which allows you to focus on the project at hand. Enjoy increased productivity on the job site when you rent concrete formwork with Forming America, and see how your project can move as quickly and smoothly as possible with our wide range of available products for rent.

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