How to Remove Concrete Formwork

Written by larry simmons
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How to Remove Concrete Formwork
Concrete formwork supporting a newly poured sidewalk. (concrete forms image by Greg Pickens from

Pouring concrete usually requires that you construct a set of forms beforehand. The formwork serves as a frame for the shape of the concrete, holding the poured material in place as it cures. Once the concrete achieves a state of hardness that's capable of supporting its own weight you can remove the forms. Removing forms isn't a difficult process, but it is labour-intensive. It will require the use of a hammer and pry bar, but once you get started the forms just fall away from the slab, leaving you with nothing but the finished product.

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Things you need

  • Hammer
  • Stake puller
  • Pry bar

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  1. 1

    Allow the concrete to dry before removing the forms. You'll want the concrete to be hard and strong so that removing the forms does not result in a sagging surface. Allow the concrete to cure overnight.

  2. 2

    Remove forms starting at the top of sloping slabs. Use a hammer to remove nails from the stakes holding the forms in place.

  3. 3

    Remove the stakes from the ground that support the forms with a stake puller to avoid damaging the stakes or the forms.

  4. 4

    Pull the forms away from the sides of the concrete slab using as little force as necessary. If a form sticks to the slab or is difficult to remove, use the pry bar to pry the form upward from the ground, loosening the form from the concrete in the process. Pull the loosened form from the concrete. Be careful not to gouge the slab with the pry bar in the process.

  5. 5

    Remove forms on alternating sides of the slab to maintain the structural balance. For example, with a square slab start at the upper left corner, then remove the form from the lower right corner, then the upper right followed by the lower left. Remove all forms in this manner. If the forms are reusable, clean them and store them in a dry place. Otherwise dispose of the forms.

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