How to Make a Concrete Mold
Concrete makes up the world around us. Modern skyscrapers, highways, and parking lots wouldn’t be the same without this ubiquitous material, but how do contractors shape and mold the concrete how they want it?
Concrete has been around for a long time, but the methods used to shape, pour, and mold concrete aren’t too different from yesterday’s methods. That is, until you get into synthetic concrete molds.
Let’s learn how to make a concrete mold including different techniques concrete contractors use and what different applications you can use concrete molds for. It’s hard to go anywhere without walking on concrete, so let’s learn how it’s molded into place.
Traditional Concrete Molds
Traditional concrete molds have been around for decades and are used for several applications including pouring sidewalks, parking lots, parking garages, and much more. For traditional concrete pours, the molds are not high tech. Most concrete contractors use a combination of custom cut wood slates, drainage barriers, steel rebar, and other basic materials to manufacture their concrete molds on site.
Made up of construction lumber and steel spikes, these molds don’t look very fancy but in reality, have been planned by an expert or engineer and installed by skilled hands. Traditional concrete molds are engineered to handle the concrete pour without buckling and are easily removed once the concrete has cured.
You’ll most likely see traditional concrete molds on every day concrete installations like:
Curb and Gutter
Sidewalks and Paths
Roadways and Parking
Structural Components (Columns and Supports)
Countertops and Flooring
Patios and Walkways
Pros and Cons of Traditional Concrete Molds
Traditional concrete molds are low-cost, easy to put together, are strong enough for a variety of concrete applications, and readily available. You do have to be certain the wood is sealed to avoid rot or water damage and wood’s rigidity makes it unsuitable for curves. You can’t get very fancy with traditional molds, but you normally only need to handle straight lines and shapes.
Wood, stone, and other basic material have been used for concrete molds for decades, but you can now cast specialized concrete parts in synthetic concrete molds. Modern concrete molds are constructed from rigid foam, rubber polymers, and more.
Modern polymers like rubber-based molds are the best materials for details and smaller crafting projects. Different rubber-based concrete molds include latex, silicone, and polyurethane.
Which polymer is right for your project depends on the scale and level of detail. Generally, rubber-based molds are not used for any structural or contracting concrete work. You can re-use rubber-based molds hundreds of times before they wear out but they’re among the most expensive of concrete molding methods.
There are now rubber-based concrete molding kits to help both professionals and amateurs achieve 100% customized concrete pieces.
Rigid foam has also become a popular way to mold concrete thanks to its affordability. Rigid foam is easy to shape and waterproof – but it’s not very strong. You can only use rigid foam for one casting or pour.
Fiberglass is an excellent concrete molding material for complex projects since it can bend and curve in almost any direction. It’s repairable, rigid, and can be shaped for an array of concrete uses. Fiberglass isn’t expensive, but it takes a skilled hand to make the mold the right way.
Depending on the type of synthetic mold the concrete can be formed by a concrete professional, like in the case of rigid foam or rubber-based molds but in more specialized instances like fiberglass you’ll use a specialized and skilled mold maker.
The introduction of synthetic molds has made concrete more customizable and versatile than ever. If you can imagine it, you can make a mold of it.
Concrete Molds and Stamps
Concrete contractors also use molds and stamps to make your concrete customizable or give it flair without a lot of extra money. Most concrete molds and stamps are manufactured from metal, wood, rubber, or a combination.
They can be built onto large-scale stamps or manufactured onto large drums rolled across wet concrete for a custom look. Concrete molds and stamps can help your concrete mimic brick, tile, pavers, and even wood.
If you’re replacing or repairing your commercial parking lot and are looking for something to help you stand out, consider concrete stamps and molds. They’re affordable, inexpensive, and can take your lot or parking garage to the next level.
Learning More About Concrete Molds
Concrete is molded through several traditional and new-age methods to make it more versatile than ever before. To find and make the right concrete mold match the job to the materials, get the okay from a concrete professional, and get the job done right. If you’re looking for a Denver Concrete Company with years of experience, who stands behind their work, Colorado Pavement Solutions would love to earn your business. Contact us today for a free estimate on your next concrete project.