Concrete Foundation Forms
Concrete Foundation Forms Need to be installed
Straight and Plumb, and include Rebar to ensure Straight and Strong Foundation
By: Mark J. Donovan
When installing a foundation,
concrete foundation forms are used to hold the concrete while it sets up and
cures. Concrete forms in essence are simply solid barriers for holding concrete
in place and/or molding it into specific shapes. Concrete foundation forms are
used in the construction of both the footings and the foundation walls of a
home. It is imperative that the foundation forms are installed straight and
plumb to ensure straight and true foundation walls. Concrete foundation forms,
though simple in concept and construction, need to be extremely strong to hold
the weight of the concrete until it cures.
Consequently they need to be
constructed out of durable materials and held together with strong fasteners
to prevent blowouts.
Concrete foundation forms can be
configured in almost any imaginable shape, however on most homes they
consist of parallel and perpendicular sections that are tied together. In
many cases the foundation forms are stepped down to create poured concrete
foundation walls that follow the expected finished grade of the surrounding
As part of the
construction of the concrete foundation forms for a home, vertical and
horizontal steel rebar members are placed inside the forms to strengthen the
foundation walls. Typically the steel rebar is strategically placed in the
concrete foundation forms via the direction of a structural engineer to ensure
strong foundation walls.
For example, in the case of an 8”
thick foundation wall centered on a 22” wide concrete footing, the footing
depth of the concrete footing should be at least 7” thick.
Concrete foundation forms can
also be used for creating unique decorative patterns and for providing
foundation insulation. Newer concrete foundation forms, known as insulating
concrete forms (ICF) are made out of rigid plastic foam.
Photo By Mark Donovan
Unlike traditional concrete
foundation forms, ICF foundation forms are left permanently in place after the
concrete has cured to provide thermal insulation to the concrete foundation
walls. Insulating values of ICFs range from R-17 to R-26, which is significantly
higher than the insulation used on wood framed walls. Wood framed walls
typically have insulation R-values of R-13 or R-19.
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