Concrete is a durable and flexible construction material missing any characteristic form in a wet state. Form lumber works as a mold that can be cast into a variety of shapes and specific dimensions, and it also serves as a support for wet concrete until it becomes self-supporting and cures. With advancements in the form lumber industry, the applications for different types of lumber in America has evolved into new technologies for both residential and commercial sectors.

Whether you’re a home builder, landscaping business owner or commercial contractor, investing in quality concrete formwork is essential to your bottom line. Dependable and rugged lumber forms can have an impact on your budget, schedule, and completion time. Additionally, they also provide dead load efficiency and hydrostatic pressure, offering extended benefits for construction owners with staying power.

Types of Lumber Forms

Finland Form

The Finland Form is a type of birch plywood, typically from Russia or Finland. Finland lumber forms are strong, smooth, durable, and work well for a variety of construction applications. A standard feature for Finland forms is a smooth sanded finish, which can be ordered in a wide range of overlays for specific concrete finishes. Additionally, it’s very lightweight, easy to work with, and custom sizes are available from most manufacturers and suppliers.

High Density Overlay (HDO)

High Density Overlay is a good option when a gloss or smooth concrete finish is required. HDO plywood is designed with minimal grain telegraphing, and it provides the best standard of quality assurance. HDO construction forms also provide multiple uses. If cared, stored, and handled for properly, high density overlays can withstand 12 or more pours, making them very cost effective and increasing your profit margins.

Medium Density Overlay (MDO)

Medium Density Overlay forms offer building contractors the option of choosing the exterior layer of the plywood, which effects the finish on the concrete. There are generally three exterior layers available in building forms, which consists of high resin (good), high mask (better), and standard (best). Besides the appearance, each layer provides other characteristics. For example, the most durable is high resin.

The faces of the panels are coated for better separation when it’s time to remove them, and the edges of the panels are designed with a sealant that stops moisture from delaminating the plywood. Medium density overlay forms can be ordered in a variety of thicknesses and sizes.


BBOES is a type of plywood for concrete lumber forms made from Fir trees. BBOES are widely used and very popular types of construction forms for concrete. Its advantage is a high-strength and stable seven-ply Fir veneer. The exterior layer of BBOES is B-Grade and sanded for an ultra-fine and smooth finish. Additionally, the lumber is oiled, which provides superior separation from the concrete and offers longevity as well as being reusable.

BBOES are typically manufactured in a standard size of 3/4”x4’x8’ plywood sheets. They can be ripped and made into a variety of sizes, making them multifunctional.

Types of Form Lumber Applications Utilized in America

Concrete Slabs

These are the most basic type of forms used for building a concrete slab, which generally doesn’t exceed six inches in height. A common size used by most contractors is either a 2×10 or 2×12 inch plank that can come in different sized lengths to be cut to specific dimensions. A square frame is built and metal stakes or wood is nailed to the wood.

The stakes can be driven into the sub-base to secure the form, and a variety of hand levels, lasers, and string lines are used to level the form. These types of forms are also multifunctional because they can also be used to shape rounded corners or a variety of other angles. Additionally, they’re affordable and can be used many times over.

Construction Wall Forms

Lumber wall forms are used in a variety of residential and commercial construction projects for larger structures like big box stores and houses with solid concrete basements as well as a vast number of other construction applications. In a lot of cases, pre-manufactured wall panels are used as an efficient medium for fast construction and assembly. They’re designed to connect together with a system of latches or pins.

These types of lumber forms also utilize a system of ties that secures reinforcing bars to one section to another and inside the forms when concrete is being poured. Lumber wall forms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be custom ordered to a specific size from the manufacturer. Additionally, these forms are a solid investment that can be used for a significant amount of pours before failure occurs.

Support Columns

Lumber is used to make a number of different forms for concrete columns and structural supports. Careful consideration of the design must be considered when it comes to the formwork for columns. If the forms are not built and designed properly, failure can happen due to the live load (LL) and weight of the concrete, especially when personnel and equipment are added weight factors.

The wooden forms can be made into a variety of vertical shapes and sizes. They’re secured together with nails or screws, and inner metal ties can be applied as well as pieces of re-bar to reinforce the column as it cures. Bridge construction is a prime example of where wooden forms are utilized. Forms for support columns are available in standard and custom sizes. Additionally, they can also be used numerous times; however, they’re more subject to routine inspection by OSHA and engineering consultants.

Extended Benefits of Lumber Forms

Lumber forms are more economically beneficial than metal forms due to their ability to be manipulated into different sizes and shapes. They can be used for multiple pours, and they offer the contractor an effective solution for increasing their profit margins and decreasing downtime, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in unproductive labor.

If your company is looking for construction materials and building material supply in Tulsa, contact Security Building Services and Building Supply of Tulsa today! Call us at (918) 663-6272 to speak to a qualified lumber expert.

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Further reading:

Most Common Uses for Lumber in Construction Projects – Building Supply of Tulsa

There are many different types of building materials involved in constructing a house or building. Learn more about Most Common Uses for Lumber in Construction Projects with Security Building Service and Supply of Tulsa.