How to Build Concrete Forms

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Circular saw

Building concrete forms is a very simple job that virtually any DIY-minded individual can accomplish. Concrete forms can be used for foundations for nearly any type of structure. Whether you are needing a form for a playhouse, shed, or gazebo, this is a great way to pour and level your foundation with ease. This article will break down the process of creating this form step by step to make it quick and easy for everybody.

Step 1 - Mark the Dimensions

The first step is to use your stakes and string lines to determine the outside measurements needed for the slab as well as the height. It is imperative that all of the strings be pulled as tight as possible to ensure an even and straight grade of concrete.

Step 2 - Choose Wood for Floorboard

Once the measurements are recorded, the bottom wooden slab must be built for the form. Cut out a slab of wood that will sufficiently act as a floorboard for the entire slab structure. The ideal bottom piece would be a flat and straight piece of wood that doesn’t have many knots. This makes the process of forming the slab a whole lot easier since you won’t have to be worried about imperfections in the lumber disfiguring the concrete.

Step 3 - Add More Stakes

Now, it’s time to cut some wood and to create more stakes for the corners. Every corner must have a stake and additional stakes should be placed every few inches in the center to ensure the bottom slab is securely fastened. Remember, slabs that will be very thick must have a higher density of stakes in order to properly support the form.

Step 4 - Match Center Stakes to the String Line

The next step is an extremely important one, so pay attention! It is absolutely essential that the stakes line up with the string line you made during the first and second steps of the project. Without this match up, your form will be uneven and unstable. If the form isn’t already lined up with the string line, then simply pack soil around the stakes so the form moves in or out (depending on which direction you need to maneuver them).

Step 5 - Reinforce Form

Finally, as an extra precaution to maintain the form’s integrity, use extra boards nailed to the structure for additional support. This reinforcement will give you piece of mind that no matter what the weight of the intended structure is, it won’t fall through or crack. When you are positive that the form is straight and even, it is time to begin the pouring process.

Step 6 - Pour Cement

Simply pour the concrete into the form slowly and steadily. For a project like this it is best to steer clear of quick-dry cement formulas. A quick-dry formula can end up causing more work for you later since you need to take time to pour and even out the cement. Make sure you watch out to make sure the falling concrete hasn’t knocked on the strings. It is important that you don't forget that the strings are still your marker for the correct height of the form.

Now you know how to build a concrete form on your own!