4 tips for building concrete forms

4 tips for building concrete forms

Are you planning on doing concrete casts but unsure if you need help building aren’t forms? Or are you utterly unaware of what forming is?

No matter which one it is, here is a short introduction to building forms. These tips are suitable for small builds, like fixing a step or corner of a slab.

More detailed form instructions on this site are on some posts like this DIY slab pour. It will suit you better if you need a small slab done.

Concrete forms, in general

Concrete forms are the easiest way to get a durable, beautiful, tangible object every time you want to create an object. If you’re looking to pour concrete for a significant object for the first time, you’ll need some help; this is not a task most people are used to undertaking.

Of course, some people are more proficient than others. Still, even such professionals can benefit from the pair of helping hands now and then.

Making things out of concrete gets heavier the more significant the project is. It gets more complicated, from the sink and countertop to the patio and driveway.

But to get started, here are some tips for building forms to get your first projects underway.

Concrete Form Basics

Concrete formwork is the basics of all concrete work. Without forms, concrete would flow like water, making it impossible to make concrete conform to the desired shape and application.

With these professional tips and advice for concrete form basics, you’ll create the forms for your concrete projects.

It is put together just like a puzzle.

You often start by doing the sides like with a concrete slab. If your project is something like a countertop or sink, it also needs a bottom for the form. It’s as easy as starting to put those together.

When creating concrete forms for countertops, sinks, sidewalks, slabs, or whatever in mind, you need to remove the formwork after the concrete has hardened. If concrete covers the form in any way, the nail work is buried, or joints are compressed by concrete.

In that case, you must work hard to remove the formwork without damaging the concrete work.

Always plan as you build forms. Think of it as a puzzle in reverse. As you add pieces to your formwork, make it easy to remove them later, don’t cover them with cement, and drive inside corners quickly to come apart.

Keeping that in mind, permanently attach objects to the form from the outside. You don’t want to nail or screw anything so that it is inside the form where the concrete is. Taking that apart is unnecessary trouble.

More vital is often better when in doubt

While trying to keep the formwork simple and easy to disassemble might be best for taking them apart, a happy medium must be found between strongly built and easily removable formwork.

Wet concrete weighs much more than dry concrete, and as it presses against the forms, you had better hope it held!

Additional braces and stakes that can be removed as the concrete dries can help to keep concrete in its proper place, behind the form, and not all over the ground. Attach diagonal braces at least every four feet per 8″ of concrete.

Sidewalks can take much less punishment from the concrete weight, but footers and slabs will need additional bracing.

Concrete forming tips for easy success

Stay moderate when attaching parts.

Just like a putt on the green, you don’t want to overdrive it. Using duplex or stacked headnails allows easy removal of form nails when the time comes. The dual-head allows the lower head to secure the nail shank tight while the upper head allows a claw hammer to grip and quickly pull the nail free.

The same can be said with using screws. Don’t use more than you need to, and if you screw something, make sure you can get the screw out.

I’ve seen on a few occasions that a screw has been left inside the form, and it became a crowbar job. The concrete pour will be damaged like that.

Let the concrete cure long enough.

Unless you need to get in there and finish the concrete, wait to move the forms for 24 hours. This allows the concrete to shrink from the forms, creating a little space between the form and the concrete.

Remove the stakes with a set of posthole diggers and pry out the form with a crow/flat bar. This kind of work will save you from trouble if you try to remove forms too early and it hahas yet to cureong enough.

What might happen is some crumbling on the corners, etc., that would have to be fixed later.


When pouring concrete, it’s essential to consider the project’s complexity. A single piece of plywood can serve as the form for a simple fix, such as repairing a cracked edge or creating an outdoor step.

However, more planning and preparation are necessary for larger projects to ensure success. 

One crucial aspect to consider is the weight and pressure of the concrete. Even a tiny slab can weigh a lot, so it’s essential to ensure that the form can handle the load.

This is especially important for more substantial projects like a balcony, requiring a sturdy support system from the steady ground level.

By starting with these essential tips, you can better understand the necessary considerations for pouring concrete. As you move on to larger and more complex projects, you’ll be better equipped to plan and ensure that your forms can accommodate the weight and pressure of the material.