Warren Hamrick from APA – The Engineered Wood Association offers tips for getting the most out of plywood panels used in concrete formwork. Hamrick also explains the difference between APA-trademarked concrete forming panels and imported ones.



Did you know concrete formwork represents close to half the cost of a concrete structure? With proper care and maintenance, APA-trademarked concrete form panels provide reliable and consistent performance on job after job. Ensure you are getting the most out of your concrete forms—and your budget—with these simple panel care recommendations.

Stripping: Metal bars or pry bars should not be used on plywood because they will damage the panel surface and edge. Use wood wedges, tapping gradually when necessary. Plywood’s strength, lightweight and large panel size helps reduce stripping time and the cross-laminated construction resists edge splitting.

Cleaning and Release Agent Application: Soon after removal, plywood forms should be inspected for wear, cleaned, repaired, spot primed, refinished, and lightly treated with a form-release agent before reusing.

Handling & Storage: Care should be exercised to prevent panel chipping, denting, and corner damage during handling. Panels should never be dropped. The forms should be carefully piled flat, face-to-face and back-to-back, for hauling. Forms should be cleaned immediately after stripping and can be solid-stacked or stacked in small packages, with faces together. This slows the drying rate and minimizes face checking. Plywood stack handling equipment and small trailers for hauling and storing panels between jobs will minimize handling time and damage possibilities. During storage, the stacks of plywood panels should be kept out of the sun and rain or covered loosely to allow air circulation without heat build-up.

Coating & Agents: Protective sealant coatings and release agents for plywood increase form life and aid in stripping. “Mill-oiled” Plyform® panels may require only a light coating of release agent between uses. Specifications should be checked before using any release agent on the forms. Plywood form coatings, such as lacquers, resin or plastic base compounds, and similar field coatings sometimes are used to form a hard, dry, water-resistant film on plywood forms.