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Innovations in Concrete Forms: Are They Better?

03 Apr 2017, Posted by F.A. in News
Construction Worker Smoothing Concrete Over a Concrete Form | Forming America

The quest for the perfect concrete forming material continues. Most contractors would agree that if there is a better product out there, it makes good business sense to switch. The main concrete forming materials that have been used traditionally are metal and wood. Plastic and aluminum concrete forms are the new kids on the block. Both are used on forming jobs, but the question is, are they better, and should they be considered when looking for concrete forms for sale?

Is Plastic Fantastic?

Plastic forms can be made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, glass-reinforced plastic, thermoplastic, and more. Plastic forms are relatively simple — comprised of thick plastic, they are lightweight and very durable. You’ll find that the main forming projects in which plastic is used are low-cost housing builds because it works well with their simple design.

There is a catch to plastic since it doesn’t offer much versatility in forming when on the job site. This is because plastic can’t be fabricated onsite. Any unusual circumstances have to be worked out ahead of time with careful planning so that unique forming situations can be accommodated. Plastic forms can also be damaged by heat applied to accelerate curing, unlike steel or aluminum. Also, plastic can only be reused up to half as many times as steel, while offering less versatility than wood.

Is Aluminum an Advantage?

Aluminum is very much like steel, but it is lighter, allowing for easier handling. It would seem to make it a good choice, but there are a couple differences that make aluminum questionable. One is that aluminum can’t be modified in the field like steel, making customization a problem. It also has a very expensive up-front cost, but it’s durable and can be reused many times. The scrap value of aluminum makes the forms a target for theft, so consider the security of the job site before working with these forms.

The Choice of Wood or Steel

Steel and wood are proven performers, offering excellent advantages in cost and strength. It makes sense to keep your crew rolling with tried and true systems and methods. The question becomes whether to stick with wood forms or invest in steel. In the short term, wood might seem like the best idea, but once the long term investment of steel and its labor-saving design is considered, steel easily edges out wood.

Steel offers a significant reduction in labor costs over wood because there’s no drilling or sawing required, making it faster and easier to set up and take down. Plus, the high strength factor of steel forms will keep crew members safer. A steel system will outlast wood by up to 190 forming cycles and won’t absorb water from poured concrete.

Choose the Best Concrete Forms

Forming America will provide you with the best service in the concrete forming business, including consultations, onsite delivery, and free blueprint takeoffs for all our customers. Our Steel-Ply forming system is a durable and versatile solution for contractors looking for a sustained improvement in project operations.

Forming America wants to be your steel concrete form supplier. Give us a call today at 1-888-993-1304.