Taking care of your precast concrete forms extends their life and protects a valuable investment.
It starts with day-to-day mainentance. Steel form problems can happen with poor cleaning or excessive use of wire brushes or sandblasting. They can also be damaged by vibrators.
The selection of a good concrete release agent is another important aspect of form care. There are two main types of concrete releases.
Diesel fuel, greases, used motor oil, etc. barrier type products provide a barrier between the form and the concree allowing it to strip. These provided a good release, but cause surface voids, staining, and over all poor finished appearance. They are harder to apply due to their higher viscosity.
Reactive type are chemically active and contain compounds that react with the free lime in the concrete to produce a soap-like film between the form and the concrete. This type of release agent is the most widely used. They are only require a thin film to produce a stain-free, void-free concrete surfaces. Reactive type release allow the form to strip cleaner.
Proper application of release agents is necessary for economy and for producing the best product possible and for minimizing form clean up.
Another aspect of concrete form care is protection in storage when they are out of service between jobs. The forms need to be protected from rust and corrosion. Some use grease, diesel fuel, or release agent but a rust preventative is a beter choice. For your rust preentative know the quality of protection, length of protection, ease of application, and ease to remove.
Formwork is a big investment for producers. Proper care insures product quality and extends their life. It will make your concrete business more profitable.
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