Types of Concrete Forming and Shoring – A Complete Guide

by Carter Toni

If you are in the construction field, you would probably be familiar with the concept of concrete forms. They are a solid barrier that holds the concrete in place until the fluid hardens and takes the desired shape. However, if you are new to this field, you might need some help selecting the best kind of concrete form for your project – because there has been quite a development in the properties of concrete forms. You have different kinds, some with insulation characteristics, and others with surface patterns.

On the other hand, shoring is another related concept. Shoring is temporarily used to support structures that need repairs or are in the building process. Shoring requires strong equipment to conduct good repairs that keep the structure stable and secure after the procedure is done. There are different kinds of shoring equipment used by construction workers, each has its own unique use. Similar to the construction of a low profile barrier wall, it is done through concrete forming and shoring to ensure that it is durable and not easily carried away by anything for its purpose. This is one of the characteristics of concrete forming.

Before we get into shoring, let’s check out concrete types and their characteristics.

1. Wooden Concrete Form

A wooden concrete form is the most common and basic kind of concrete form. Mainly, wooden concrete form is used in concrete casting that doesn’t exceed the height of 6 inches. As its name suggests, the wooden concrete form is made of wooden planks. These planks are nailed or screwed together to get the desired mold or formwork shape to pour concrete in.

As per the requirement, special leveling bars are used to level the surface or form a desired slop in the mold. If the casting requires curves and free-form designs in the concrete, then construction workers employ thinner cross-sections to build a form.

Before pouring concrete in the wooden form, it is critical that low-grade oil is applied on the inner surfaces of the wood so the liquid concrete wouldn’t stick to the surfaces and wouldn’t ruin the shape of the structure. Wooden forms are easily reusable multiple times, but they should be properly maintained and cleaned for that.

2. Insulated Concrete Forms

As you might have guessed, the insulated concrete forms have properties of the insulator. It is made of insulating material formed as hollow blocks, like building blocks. An insulated concrete form system is constructed on a foundation slab. This slab works as a part of the foundation for the wall system. Within these blocks, reinforcement is placed, and the blocks are only to be filled with the particular slump and cast of the concrete. These reinforcements are usually concrete formwork ties.

To explain it more clearly, the concrete and the form are placed in a shape similar to a sandwich. This formation is very energy-efficient. One of the main benefits of implementing insulated concrete form is that it doesn’t require removal of the forms after the concrete is solid, but it means that it cannot be reused.

3. Steel Concrete Forms

Steel concrete forms are one of the strongest types of forms. If properly used and maintained, it can even sustain over 2000 work cycles, which makes it much more durable and a long-term construction solution, as compared to woods.

The reason why steel is so durable is that it doesn’t absorb the moisture from the concrete, unlike wooden concrete form. Thus, there is less chance of errors occurring after the removal of steel forms from the concrete.

4. Foam Concrete Forms

Foam concrete forms are probably the most non-traditional type of concrete form. It is super unconventional and is only used where it is especially required, usually in unconventional architecture designs. In foam concrete form, the concrete is poured upside down to obtain the desired finish. These forms are made of solid material, mainly from melamine, laminated board, or acrylic glass.

Foam concrete forms work best if an artistic look is required. The forms create spaces negatively which, although doesn’t give a smooth finish, makes the concrete cast look artistic in its final look.

Apart from these most common ones, there are more types of concretes that are not very common, such as decorative forms, concrete wall forms, and more.

Types of Shoring and Their Uses

Shoring is necessary when building a new structure, or when there are repairs required in the old structure. If the shoring isn’t done as required, there would be a risk of the whole structure falling down.

The kind of structure you are building affects the choice of shoring equipment you are going to choose. All construction projects cannot be held by standard shoring equipment. Therefore, knowing the distinction between each of them is necessary.

As stated at the start of the guide, there are different types and uses of shoring. Let’s learn about them.

1. Shoring for Building Repair

Buildings that were built ages ago usually start destabilizing after a particular time, and they are to be strengthened and repaired again. However, to make sure the building doesn’t break down all at once during repairs, shorting equipment is required to hold it in place.

Hydraulic and mechanical jacks are used to support the section of a building that requires shoring for repairs. To replace the foundation, steel structures, cribs, and beams are temporarily required.

2. Excavated Ground

An excavated ground is a worksite hazard because it can be unstable. Thus, shoring is used for the retention of soil on hillsides and ditches. This operation is highly specialized because of multiple reasons: one, assurance is required that the soil wouldn’t fall on workers while they construct walls to permanently hold the base in the ground, and two, safety is a critical thing in this kind of operation.

Pressure grouting, shotcrete & soil nails, and soldier pile & lagging are usually utilized for the shoring for excavated ground. The choice for the best shoring mechanism depends on multiple things, including the composition of the soil, the grade of the hillside, and the accessibility of equipment.

3. Initial Construction

For the initial construction of a building, shoring to support concrete floors is usually used until the concrete hardens and supports itself. The shorting is repeated on each floor of a multistory building. Since the shoring is repeated floor after floor, it is important to select the equipment that is efficient and sufficient.

If the mechanism is of the best kind, manpower is less required for setup and windup, which increases profitability in the project.

Initial construction is more complicated than repairs; thus, there are a few things that should be considered.

  • First of all, site space and transport will affect your job. Some sites do not have enough place to hold all the shoring equipment, nor enough space for all the shoring equipment to be transported all at once. Therefore, multiple trucks would be needed. For a premium space, shoring equipment that can fit onto a single truck would be a significant benefit.
  • Moreover, the kind of job – or the kind of building – also determines the category of shoring equipment. Some jobs require a more special framework, whereas others can make do with a standard.
  • There is only so much weight even the best shoring system can hold. And it shouldn’t exceed the limit prescribed by the manufacturer of the equipment.
  • When buying or renting concrete shoring, choose a reputable supplier/manufacturer that checks the equipment adequately before sending it off.

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