How to Install Concrete Forms

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When creating a building project, concrete is a versatile and durable building material. Pouring concrete requires some type of concrete form to give it shape. Concrete forms usually are made from lumber and do not require extensive carpentry skills to make. Since concrete sets relatively fast, you may wish to ask friends or family to help. General-purpose concrete typically costs less than other types of concrete, such as fiber-reinforced concrete, and is suitable for most do-it-yourself projects.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-by-4 boards
  • Circular saw
  • Rubber mallet
  • 3" deck screws
  • Level
  • Vegetable oil
  • Stake out the shape of the project with string, which will serve as a guide for laying out the cut 2-by-4 boards.

  • Cut 2-by-4 boards with a circular saw to create a frame inside the total dimensions corresponding to the size of the project.

  • Position the edges of the boards -- starting with the longest form board -- directly below the string outlining the project.

  • Cut several 2-by-4 boards at least 12 inches long to use as stakes. Cut the end of each stake into a sharp point with the saw. Creating sharp points makes it easier to drive the stakes into the ground.

  • Drive the stakes into the ground with a rubber mallet at 3-foot intervals on the outside edges of the form boards. Position them to support joists in the form boards.

  • Insert 3-inch deck screws with a drill into the stakes and form boards on one side. Drive the deck screws into them until the form board is approximately 1-inch above ground level.

  • Place a level on the staked side of the form and the opposite form board spanning the entire distance. Use the level as a guide while staking the second form board, ensuring it levels with the first. Stake the second form board.

  • Insert 3-inch deck screws at the corners of the form boards with a drill. Before inserting the deck screws, verify the levelness of the form boards with your level.

  • Coat the insides of forms with vegetable oil, as this prevents the concrete from bonding to them. If you do not want to use vegetable oil, purchase a commercial release agent, and coat the insides of the forms.

Tips & Warnings

  • To create curves, use 1/8-inch hardboard attached to the inside corners of the form board. Insert support stakes behind the curved form.

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References

  • "Black and Decker: The Complete Outdoor Builder"; Creative Publishing International Inc.; 2006
  • "Home Improvement 1-2-3"; John Holms; 2003
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