How to Remove Forms After Pouring Concrete

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Things You'll Need

  • Wrecking bar

  • Hammer

  • Putty knife

  • Shovel


Work carefully with wrecking bars or hammers around the new slab. The concrete is not fully cured for about a month after the pour. The slab can be damaged by an inadvertent strike of any tool against the slab.

Concrete forms provide shape to the concrete slab or structure. Remove the forms after the concrete pour is complete, the slab is finished and the process of curing the cement has started. Many concrete professionals remove the forms the day after the pour is completed. However, forms can be removed as soon as the concrete exhibits enough strength not to crack as the forms are pulled away. This is sometimes done on large projects where forms are reused in another part of the pour.

Step 1

Remove the stakes and braces holding the forms in place. In some cases the stakes are nailed directly to the form lumber while in others the stakes are a distance from the forms and connected by braces. Pull the nails from the braces and stakes using a claw hammer or wrecking bar. If duplex or two-headed nails were used, a section of the nail should be visible for easy pulling. Some builders use standard 16d nails and do not drive them flush into the board.

Step 2

Pull nails connecting the form pieces at the corners using a hammer or wrecking bar. Again, the heads of the nails should be visible. Upon completion of this step each board making up the form is separate from all others and can be handled separately.

Step 3

Pull the forms away from the slab. Use caution when pulling the forms loose. The concrete is not fully cured at this time and susceptible to damage. Forms used in footings and other below-ground applications may require some excavation before removal.

Step 4

Clean the form lumber by scrapping any adhered concrete from the form using a putty knife or other edged tool. The forms can be set aside for use on other projects. Often the braces and stakes are damaged or so short they are not worth saving for reuse.


Keith Allen

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.