How To Keep Concrete From Sticking To Wood Forms

If you are a construction professional or homeowner, you’re probably familiar with using plywood panels to shape dynamic forms when sheeting down concrete to create a home foundation or setup a walkway. Once you treat the wood forms using a release agent, you can conveniently remove them and leave a great-looking foundation. In general, as soon as the concrete is preserved and dry, wood can be easily removed. To prevent concrete from sticking to wood, that might require a release agent to make the process easier. At times, the removal can prove to be more challenging than anticipated. This can be due to several reasons:

  • If you’re using a release agent not explicitly designed for concrete, it might not perform the desired function.
  • The pouring or vibrating procedure is not done correctly, resulting in the wear and tear of the release agent, rendering it ineffective.
  • If the concrete is not cured for the required time, it can become wet, leading to damage.
concrete wood forms

Tips to Prevent Concrete from Sticking to Wood

If you’ve experienced concrete sticking to wood, you’re not alone! Many contractors have dealt with this problem, and the good news is there many ways to avoid this from happening. Keep on reading to find out about the best tips professionals recommend to stop concrete from sticking. 

Use an Oil Hand-Pump Spray

Commercial oils can be quite effective with wide-ranging wood forms. These sophisticated, oil-based solutions can penetrate the wood to the desired level leaving the surface only marginally greasy. All you need is a hand-pump sprayer filled with oil. Most oil types work well to prevent concrete from joining with the wood. Spray the surface with concentrated oil and let it diffuse through the wood for a minimum of 15 minutes. Afterward, apply another layer of oil before pouring concrete.

Eco-Friendly or Water-Based Release Agent

One of the best environment-friendly options you can consider is using a water-based release agent. In contrast to oil-based solutions, they do not release any volatile organic composites. In addition, they are less likely to fade the concrete’s surface. Vegetable oils can also be used for the same purpose, though applying 2-3 coats consecutively. It’s a relatively safe option in comparison to other chemical-based release agents. These are regulated in certain regions since they might add to atmospheric smog.

Chemically Active Release Agents

Chemical-based release agents form a critical barrier and effectively react with the concrete’ that prevents it from sticking to any wood forms. It facilitates the separation of the treated part. The solution is designed with soapy surfactant and fatty acid to create an unstained and clean concrete surface. The thin and smooth chemical skin obstructs the concrete from penetrating the wood pores.

Once you have the release agent, make sure to use it correctly. It is vital to vibrate the concrete in multiple areas to prevent any wear and tear. While pouring the concrete, do it with several movements that can avoid ruining the solution. Again, you should wait for the concrete to cure and harden.

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Isaiah Ram

Isaiah Ram is a writer and DIY contractor from Atlanta, Georgia. He writes to inform and unleash the potential in people and businesses. He currently works closely with Forming America, a concrete forming and shoring equipment company. Feel free to reach out on Instagram or contact Forming America today for your concrete needs.