The Nature, Use, and Benefits of Concrete Shutters in Construction

While the invention of concrete revolutionised construction, this would not have been possible without concrete shutters to mould it into walls and columns. This greyish mixture of cement, water, air, and aggregate may lack the more attractive appearance of red brick, but it is equally strong and durable while being far more versatile.

In its uncured, wet state, the mix can be readily formed into any shape an innovative architect can dream up. However, maintaining that shape during the curing process requires using a support system known as formwork. The term is generic. It applies to any means of forming shapes from concrete and includes a type of temporary mould known as shuttering, the system used to create vertical structures from poured concrete.

Because shuttering must usually be removed once the contained structure is stable, it must be composed of separate interlocking parts. However, the freshly poured concrete will exert extreme pressure on the surrounding formwork, so it must be made from a suitably durable material. Furthermore, the joints between its component parts must be tightly sealed to prevent the wet concrete from leaking.

Historically, first timber and, later, plywood were used for this purpose, and the latter is still used today by some builders. However, although wood proved strong enough for the task, it is subject to warping and rot from repeated exposure to dampness. Consequently, concrete formwork made from wood has a limited lifespan.

The Benefits of Using Steel to Create Concrete Shutters

Materials science is a constantly and rapidly evolving field responsible for advances in areas as diverse as joint replacement surgery, battery design, aerospace, and the components of formwork used by construction companies. In the latter case, there are three contenders for a more effective alternative to wood.

  • Plastic: PVC shuttering has several attractive benefits. It is light, water-resistant, easily assembled and dismantled, and reusable. However, it’s more expensive than timber or plywood and has lower rigidity, strength, and bearing capacity than metal alternatives.
  • Aluminium: The metal is abundant and is, therefore, a more sustainable option than plastic. However, although it is also a lightweight material, it is easily dented, significantly more expensive, and its production has a high environmental impact.
  • Steel: Despite being the heaviest of the three, steel concrete shutters are also the toughest and most durable. It is also the most versatile and easiest to assemble and disassemble, making it the preferred choice of leading construction companies worldwide.

Purchasing Quality Concrete Shutters

We at Disc-O-Scaff are South Africa’s foremost manufacturer and supplier of steel formwork. Contact us for more information about our SABS-approved products for the construction industry.