A common mistake do-it-yourselfers make when working with concrete forms is underestimating how powerful the substance is even though it is incredibly pliable when first mixed. Non-professionals are often surprised that the concrete poured overpowers the forms in place to shape its final placement. Repeated attempts at using thicker and stronger concrete will eventually fail also.
It can become a frustrating situation especially if the form fails and you have to repeat the process again. It can also become very time consuming and costly. It is important to get the job done correctly the first time out to eliminate any personal frustration and unnecessary costs. With a little knowledge about reinforcing these forms, you will obtain the required shape and placement when the concrete finally dries.
Step 1: Place the Boards
Locate the form boards along the outline that has been placed for an outline where you want to pour the concrete. Use appropriately sized form boards to capture the depth needed when the concrete is poured.
Step 2: Stake It Out
Make sure to carefully hammer a 2 x 2-inch stake at every corner where the boards meet. Use a framing square to check for proper corner angle alignment and adjust until the corners are perfectly square. Use duplex-head nails when securing the stakes to each corner. These nails can be pulled out easily later when needed.
Step 3: Stake Some More
You will need to drive a 2 x 2-inch stake at 4-foot intervals along each form board for extra added support once you pour concrete into the form
Step 4: Support the Joint
Use extra stakes wherever two boards join one another. Make sure to nail all 3 pieces together improving the strength of the form support at its weak points—board joints.
Step 5: Test the Form
Use your foot in an attempt to wiggle the form boards loose. If the boards do wiggle, follow the next two steps (6 and 7) to get more reinforcement.
Step 6: Earthen Strength
Make a supportive wall of dirt around the outside of the form, compacting it tightly against the wood boards.
Step 7: Bracing Stakes
Place 2 x2-inch stakes at 45-degree angles against the boards. While holding the bottom of the stake firmly in place with a foot, hammer the top edge of the stake until it rests firmly against the form board and then secure it by nailing it to the form. Repeat this at several spots along each board to create a non-wiggle, fully reinforced concrete form ready for pouring. Remember that more stakes are always better than not enough so do not skimp on stake use and run the possibility of seeing the form fail and concrete spill out everywhere.
Remember to always work at a deliberate and slow pace ensuring safety and success at any do-it-yourself project you tackle.