Types of Formwork for Concrete Structures

There are various types of formwork materials. However, it needs to exhibit several features in order to be deemed suitable for use in concrete construction. For instance, it should be lightweight but also able to withstand both live and dead load. It should also be able to retain its shape. If it’s removable, the removal process shouldn’t adversely affect the concrete.

Here are the different types of formwork in construction to help you determine which one is right for your concrete project.


Metallic formwork for concrete structure

graphic of metallic formwork for concrete

Steel and aluminum formwork are popular because of their longevity and durability. They can also be reused several times, so they’re a cost-effective option for developers that handle multiple projects at a time. Steel formwork and aluminum formwork have the following qualities:

  • Durable, strong, and lasts for a very long time
  • Easy to install so there are less formwork construction steps to follow
  • Water-resistant and prevents honey combing effect
  • Ideal for curved structures
  • Creates a smooth and sleek finish


Plywood Formwork for concrete structure

Plywood formwork are basically resin-bonded plywood sheets. These connect to timber frames to create panels of varying sizes.

Plywood is a cost-effective formwork material and in certain cases, it might be cheaper compared to timber shuttering. For example, plywood formwork will cost less when you use large size panels to save on labor costs or if you are planning to reuse it at least 20 times.


Plastic formwork for concrete structure

If you have construction projects that involve quick concrete pours, it’s a good idea to use plastic formwork. You can assemble it on site with the use of fiber-reinforced plastic from a modular system or using interconnected panels.

You can also use plastic formwork to construct most simple structures. Although it is not as versatile as timber or plywood formwork, it will work for repetitive, low-cost structures like mass housing plans. It also provides extra resistance to environmental damage for the concrete structure.


Foundation formwork

Formwork for individual foundations is different from the formwork for strip foundations. The design is typically used as formwork for concrete slab, and is dependent on the size and height of the structure. Individual foundations use sheeting panels with timbers. Walers, or horizontal reinforcements, help secure these panels.


Wall formwork

You can build wall formwork by using vertically positioned timbers which are braced using boards at either side. Then, attach sheeting boards to the concrete. Instead of sheeting panels, you can also use prefabricated sheeting panels. The foot of the formwork should have cleaning holes.


Ceiling formwork

You can find this type of formwork in most structures and buildings today. You can build them using prefabricated sheeting panels or sheeting boards. For smaller rooms, the primary bearer attaches to two columns, creating a trestle. To carry the load from horizontal pressures, the formwork also uses diagonal board bracings.


Beam formwork

Beam formwork uses prefabricated sheeting parts on the bottom and sides. The design of these panels depend on the specs of the beam.