Formwork: What Is It and What Are the Different Materials?


When you are building a structure, concrete does not come in as a fixed and sturdy foundation right away. It is soft and highly malleable, and only becomes hard and sturdy after it dries up.

The purpose of formwork is to serve as the container for the soft concrete until the latter hardens up. So whenever you see a construction job, you will find a wall of timber or glass-reinforced plastics barricading the structure because that is where the concrete will be poured in, which, eventually, will be the walls of the building.

Figuring out the formwork

Many construction suppliers have formworks for sale, and you can choose from timber, glass-reinforced plastic, steel and plywood. When it comes to choosing the right kind of framework, it will depend on the structure you are building and how fast you need it to be finished.


Contractors often have a preferred material when it comes to formwork, and most of them would like to use timber. There are many advantages to using timber as your formwork. Perhaps these benefits will convince you to try it out over other materials.

  • Less expensive – Timber is a lot less costly compared to other formwork materials such as steel and plastic. They are more easily available than steel, which is why they are much cheaper. Also, using timber is easier than steel, so your production costs will be smaller.
  • Lighter – Another advantage of timber over other materials is that it is lighter, so it is easier to carry and put up. Also, if you are new at constructing buildings or houses, timber is the best material to work with because it does not require a lot of tools.

Furthermore, timber is easier to manage when you are trying to build a structure with a complex shape. It is more malleable than other materials, so if you are trying to pour concrete where you need to adjust your formwork to form a shape of a corner, it will be easier to do this with timber.


steel formwork

Now, if you are using steel, there are certain advantages to using this material as your formwork, as well.

  • Stronger – Steel, obviously, is much stronger than timber or any other material. Therefore, it can carry more loads of concrete compared to others. This is essential if you are moving at a fast rate to finish your structure because then, your steel formwork will be able to accommodate more concrete without bursting at the seams, so to speak.
  • More uniform – Because steel is stronger than timber, you can be sure that your formwork structure will be uniform all throughout.

Glass-reinforced plastics

Meanwhile, if you are going to use glass-reinforced plastics for your formwork, listed below are some of its advantages.

  • Corrosion-resistant – They are less likely to corrode compared to other materials ensuring that your structure will not easily get damaged.
  • Lightweight – Just like timber, glass-reinforced plastics are light and easy to carry, so they are easier to use in constructing a house or any building. Also like timber, this type of formwork material is cheap, which will help you keep your production costs low.

There are many materials you can use as formwork, and each one has an advantage over the others. All you have to do is figure out what your top priority is when it comes to building your structure. From there, you can figure out what kind of material would best suit your needs.

Scroll to Top