It is possible to miss the terms formwork and shuttering being mentioned in any concrete construction site.
These two words are frequently used interchangeably. Here is the true meaning of these two words;
This is the term used to describe the mould on which concrete is poured to give the structure the desired shape. In other words, it’s what describes the forming process.
It is normally arranged in either the upright or horizontal manner to keep the concrete intact until it’s settled, cured and gained stability and shape.
Shuttering is part of formwork. This is the vertical or upright arrangement, that gives rise to the concrete’s desired shape.
In other words, shuttering can be defined as the type of formwork which supports the structure vertically or in an upright position.
Technically, the formwork done on retaining walls, foundations, towers, pillars and cylindrical structure is what is known as shuttering.
Both formwork and shuttering are mainly used together in huge projects.
The two perform the same task but in different ways and angles.
The difference in the Type of Materials Used in Formwork and Shuttering
Generally, the materials used are the same, The difference lays in where and how the mould is placed. Types of formwork include;
- Timber formwork
- Steel formwork
- Aluminium formwork
- plywood formwork
- Plastic formwork
- Fibre formwork
The following are types of shuttering out there;
- Timber shuttering
- Steel shuttering
- Plywood shuttering
The Timber Shuttering Method
Just like the timber formwork, this type of shuttering is the most common. Though time-consuming to put up, they are the best for upright concrete jobs.
The Plywood Shuttering Method
This is by far the most affordable type of shuttering, it can be reused if it’s waterproof. If not, expect it to wear out within time for they are not long-lasting.
The Steel Shuttering Method
They are loved for their strength and durability. They can be used a hundred times without wearing out. This type can be assembled in large numbers. They are functional in different sizes and shapes.
The Plastic Shuttering Method
Though not as versatile as the rest, plastic shuttering are pocket friendly, easy and quick to work with.
Shuttering just like all types of formwork need external support. The process of offering external support to shuttering or formwork is known as bracing.
To achieve this, stabilizers and poles are put in place to give external support to hold the shuttering or formwork in position until the concrete cures and dries up.
After the concrete is cured and dry, the shuttering or formwork is removed. This process is known as stripping. Some shuttering and formwork are removed and reused elsewhere, these are known a temporary formwork or shuttering.
In other cases, some are left intact, they are known as permanent mould, formwork or shutters.
Their usage depends on the type of project needed to be worked on. In some areas both formwork and shuttering work hand in hand.
In the construction of driveways and sidewalks, no shuttering is needed, formwork is enough.
Up to You: Concrete Formwork or Concrete Shuttering
Alone, these two terms can prove confusing and arduous to understand. But generally, formwork and shuttering are the same thing.
The difference is, shuttering holds concrete vertically whereas formwork does it horizontally.
The materials used in shuttering should be;
- Affordable and easy to reuse
- Waterproof so that it doesn’t absorb water from the concrete or allow leakage
- Strong enough to carry the weight of the concrete until it cures
- Stiff and rigid to prevent the deformation of the structure
- Able to rest on a movable support