4 Factors That Will Help You Achieve the Best Possible Smoothness With Slip Form Concrete

Typically, concrete is shaped in a static mould, but slip forming turns this idea on its head. When concrete is slip formed, it's poured into a formwork that slowly but continuously moves upwards or sideways. This allows for the speedy construction of very tall or very long structures, from towers to roadways. Slip forming offers numerous benefits, including high production rates, minimised need for machinery and scaffolding, and lower labour requirements. But, in order to ensure your slip formed concrete structure comes out as smooth as possible, you'll need to take a little care with these four steps.

1. Environmental conditions

Timing and weather are considered to be critical factors for the success of a slip form concrete project, so make sure you carefully orchestrate your construction timeline accordingly. For example, starting the pouring process in the early morning will maximise the amount of time you have to form your concrete before it gets too hot and affects the curing process. As for the weather, pouring on a cold or rainy day can also affect the cohesion of your concrete. Adverse time and weather factors can result in a pitted or uneven surface, reducing the smoothness of the final product. 

2. Design and consistency 

There are two factors you can work on to keep your concrete mix smooth. First, remember that the water-to-cement ratio is key. Second, note that the mix needs to be as consistent as possible between batches. To find out how consistent your batches are, you can check their slump percentage or the amount of water needed to make a standard slump at specific times after pouring into forms. If the mix design is not carefully chosen or the concrete consistency is not at the right levels, your slip formed concrete will not be as smooth as it potentially could be.

3. The crew you hire

If you're working with contracts for your slip form project, make sure you choose the right crew for the job. Slip forming has different protocols to regular formwork, so it's crucial that you choose a team with experience. Workers who have poured numerous slip formed projects in the past will know exactly how to avoid mistakes that inhibit smoothness. 

4. Your equipment

The equipment used will be just as important as the crew handling it. There are various types of slip forming machines available to buy or hire, from inset to outset, but the main factors you'll want to consider for smoothness are high-quality sensors, a large paving area, and a suitable profile.

If you have any questions, ask a slip form contractor.