Difference Between Shuttering and Formwork

Formwork and shuttering are both common terms in the concrete construction industry. Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably. Formwork is the overarching term that’s used to describe the forming process. Shuttering is defined as the temporary moulds that are used to hold the wet concrete in place until the concrete has set and cured.

Projects of different sizes will often need to use both formwork and shuttering methods. However, both of these techniques accomplish the same task – the only difference being the materials used.

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Types of shuttering and formwork

Shuttering is an extremely important task that must be properly completed to avoid expensive problems in the long run. This is usually made of timber or plywood. However, there are other fabrics that shuttering can be made of and each has its pros and cons.

When completing any concrete shuttering task, it’s essential that you choose the correct formwork:

  • Timber shuttering: The traditional choice, timber shuttering is popular as it can be made to accommodate any situation. While it is best for vertical concrete work, it is also used with modular steel bracing elements.
  • Plywood shuttering: This is the cheaper option, as plywood can be recycled or reused. However, plywood formwork must be water-resistant, considering most concrete projects are completed outside.
  • Steel shuttering: Consisting of thin steel plates that are stiffened along the edges by small steel angles, steel shutters can be fabricated in large numbers in any size or shape. Steel shutters are most suitable for circular or curved structures.
  • Plastic shuttering: Used for quick pours of concrete and best suited for lost-cost, repetitive structures. it is not as versatile as timber shuttering.

All types of shuttering and formwork will require external support, which is known as bracing. This refers to stabilisers, poles or other kinds of material that will keep the formwork or shuttering in place while the concrete dries.

Removing the formwork is known as stripping. In some cases, stripped formwork can be reused (known as panel forms). In other instances, the formwork or shuttering will remain in place for good.

Lastly, the scope of your project will determine whether you should use formwork or shuttering. However, there are cases where formwork does not require shuttering, such as the construction of a concrete sidewalk. In these cases, timber will be replaced with metal beams for the mould.

Concrete shuttering or formwork?

In conclusion, there isn’t much of a difference between shuttering and formwork. If you’ve got an upcoming project and are considering replacing your traditional wood bracing with concrete boxing, our adjustable kickers may be the solution you’re after.

For more information about using MSB Form for your residential and commercial construction site, get in touch with us via our contact page here.

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