Formwork is essentially a temporary mould that is used in concrete constructions. It is the base structure used to develop the final framework of a building, which helps maintain shape and stability. In fact, formwork makes up about 40-60% of a construction project, including its budget.
Being one of the most important aspects of construction, formwork has been made using various kinds of material. The type of material chosen for a particular project depends on various factors like the construction type, budget, quantity, etc. Formwork has been made from wooden material like timber and plywood, from fibre-glass plastics, as well as steel and aluminium.
A common debate in the construction world today is the question of plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork. These are the two main types of formwork that are currently in use in the construction industry. Both have their own set of pros and cons that have made them popular among different construction businesses.
While wooden formwork is well- suited for some structures, reusable plastic formwork has been more widely used in recent years. Let’s understand what exactly these two formworks are and how they compare against each other.
What is Plastic Formwork?
Plastic formwork is a type of formwork that has risen to prominence in recent years. It is a light-weight material that works on a modular system with interlocking capabilities. The main advantage of using plastic formworks is its high reusability rate. Being a durable and low maintenance material, plastic formworks can be reused over 100 times. It is also a flexible and versatile formwork that can be moulded to fit any construction type and any size.
What is Wooden Formwork?
Wooden formwork is of mainly two types – timber and plywood. Some formwork makers use a combination of both for better flexibility and sturdiness. Timber has traditionally been one of the most used formwork types in construction. It is generally fabricated at the construction site, though this can be time-consuming when working on larger projects.
Timber shutters, in particular, is one of the most used due to their flexible nature. Plywood is a type of formwork that is artificially manufactured. It can be built into different sizes as required and is a strong formwork for almost any type of construction. The use of plywood is especially prominent in construction works like sheathing, form linings, and decking.
A comparison of Plastic Formwork vs. Wooden Formwork
Now that we have an idea of what plastic and wooden formworks are, it’s time for a comparison. Which one is better? That is the question that is on most minds in the construction world. Which formwork is suited for larger projects? What are the advantages of one over the other? What type of formwork gives the most cost benefits?
These are additional questions that every construction business has to consider before starting their project. Our detailed plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork discussion below should help answer most, if not all, of these questions!
Plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork in favour of plastic formwork
- Flexibility — wooden formworks like timber are flexible to a certain However, plastic formworks are hands down the best suited in terms of flexibility. They can be moulded and fitted into any type of construction structure regardless of shape and size. “
- Time-saving — wooden formworks are normally fabricated on the construction site depending on the This process can be very time-consuming and may also lead to delays in project completion. Plastic formworks, on the other hand, are pre-assembled and arrive at the site ready to be fitted. They are normally in the form of multiple smaller units that can be fit together to make large, sturdy structures. When you compare plastic formworks vs. wooden formworks in terms of time, plastics are certainly the time-efficient option.
- Transportation and storage — plastic formworks are light, flexible, and can be fit into smaller storage spaces than wooden This makes transportation of plastic formworks much easier and cost-effective when compared to wooden formworks.
- Reusability — plastic formworks wooden formworks in terms of reusability is a battle that wooden formworks lose hands down! Plastic formworks can be reused up to 100 times more than wooden formworks. Timber and plywood have a very short lifespan at the construction site. More often than not, they can only be used once and then have to be disposed of. Plastics have a huge advantage here with their reusability rate.
- Labour-friendly — plastic formworks are very easy to use and assemble thanks to their light-weight and flexible nature. Even unskilled labour can easily build the walls of a house using plastic formwork They can be easily cleaned after use with just a spray of water. Wooden formworks, on the other hand, require trained personnel to handle them properly.
Plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork in favour of wooden formworks
- Load-bearing — wooden formworks are known to be reliable when it comes to heavy load construction The sturdiness and hard nature make them well-suited for projects that have high load structures. Plastic formworks, on the other hand, do not have a very high load-bearing threshold. Beyond a certain load, plastic formworks tend to sag, being unable to support the weight.
- Heat-resistance — wooden formworks have a high threshold in terms of resistance to heat and high Plastic formwork, on the other hand, do not fare very well in high temperatures. This can be a huge drawback in areas where high heat is the normal weather. When it comes to plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork in sunny climates, wooden formwork is the preferred option.
- Economy — plastic formworks can be an expensive investment since the cost of the material W-4Jb lasting formworks are When compared to the cost of making wooden formwork, plastics are certainly not a cheap option. Wooden formworks are handy in keeping the project cost within budget. Especially for smaller projects, wooden formwork is the logical and economical option. The material for wooden formwork can be procured locally, reducing the cost even further.
Looking at the comparisons of plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork, it’s clear that plastic formwork have taken the lead. With more advantages than drawbacks, the use of plastic formworks in construction has only been growing over the years. However, some construction projects still use wooden formworks where the drawbacks of plastic have the most impact. Coming to our bottom line in the debate of plastic formwork vs. wooden formwork — plastics is the clear winner!