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Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation

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FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What are the advantages of Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ over other types of concrete forms?
They are economical to use. Minimum bracing is required. They are lightweight and easy to handle. Can be cut on the job with a handsaw or circular saw. Single use form eliminates cleaning, re-oiling and storage. Jobs progress quickly since forms do not have to be reused.

What are the disadvantages of metal and fiberglass forms?
They are more difficult to use and more expensive. Steel forms are heavier and require unnecessary man-hours in assembling and setting up. Fiberglass forms easily lose their round shape. The cost of both requires reuse and extensive cleaning and re-oiling. Fewer forms may delay progress of the job.

When are steel and fiberglass forms more economical to use?
When large quantities of the same diameter columns are to be formed and the timing of the job allows for the delays necessary to clean and re-oil the forms.

When are Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ more economical to use?
When different diameters are to be poured. When the job calls for just a few columns. When it is important to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Why are round columns preferred over other shapes of columns?
No sharp corners to chip or break. Less obstruction of view. Easily finished.


Storage and handling

How should Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ be protected when stored on the job site?
They should be stored on a platform or supports at least 4" off of the ground. They should be covered with plastic or a tarp, allowing for ventilation.

Will an out of round Smurfit Concrete Column Form™ "round out" when filled with concrete?
Sometimes, but it cannot be guaranteed.

If a Smurfit Concrete Column Form™ is out of round, can it be used?
Yes--for below grade piers or if the user wishes to build bracing in which the form may be strapped to pull the form into round.

If the Smurfit Concrete Column Form™ has a fairly large dent, will the dent straighten out when filled with concrete?
No. The dent should be removed before the concrete is placed.


Pouring concrete columns

What is the length limit for Light Wall and Medium Wall Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™?
Twelve feet is the limit for Light Wall. Eighteen feet is the limit for Medium Wall.

Why are Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ and Smurfit Smooth Forms™ longer than the length specified?
We intentionally make the forms longer than what is specified to compensate for changes in ambient conditions that may allow the forms to shrink slightly. If need be, the forms are easily trimmed to the necessary length.

What are the most popular diameters of Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ and Smurfit Smooth Forms™?
12", 18" and 24".

Will you furnish custom lengths of Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ and Smurfit Smooth Forms™?
Custom lengths are available by special order. Please contact your dealer for minimum quantities and other restrictions that may apply.

Can Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ be used in water?
No.

What are the basic requirements for bracing Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™?
The form must be securely braced to hold it into position, top and bottom, as well as making sure it will not bend or break in the middle.

What precautions should be taken when placing Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ several days prior to use?
The forms must be covered at night and during any rain or snow. The base of the form should be blocked up to provide drainage at the base so any accumulation of water will not wick up into the form.

Should the contractor apply a release agent to the inside surface of Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ or Smurfit Smooth Forms™ before pouring?
A release agent is not necessary for either product.

What precautions should be taken when pouring concrete from the top of a very long Smurfit Concrete Column Form™?
It is very important to provide bracing to hold the form in place. When necessary, elephant trunk should be used in pouring.

What is the minimum stripping time generally allowed by most architects and engineers?
Typically 24 hours. Unusual ambient conditions may dictate a variance.

What is the easiest method for stripping a Smurfit Concrete Column Form™?
Set a circular saw slightly less than the wall thickness. Cut the form vertically. Use a knife to cut the inner layer to allow the form to be peeled off.

If a contractor wishes to leave the Smurfit Concrete Column Form™ on the column for an indefinite time, what should he do?
The form should be stripped in halves and repositioned. Hold the halves in place with strapping or tie wire.


Finishing concrete columns

What method is recommended to finish concrete columns?
"Rubbing and patching" is the most common method used to remove the spiral lines and fill in bugholes. The column is first rubbed with a stone or electric grinder. Then a mixture of cement and water is applied. Also available are a number of commercial grouts and textures that can be applied to the column.

How should a concrete column formed with a Smurfit Concrete Column Form™ or Smurfit Smooth Form™ be prepared for painting?
Some paints may require the concrete column to be etched with an acid wash prior to painting. Generally this is unnecessary.

What changes to the concrete mix will minimize the occurrence of bugholes and honeycomb on a concrete column?
A slightly sandier mix should be used, with a minimum of air-entrainment. Plasticising additives are also available that will minimize surface defects. The concrete should be adequately vibrated through out the pouring. Extra attention should be given to vibrating the concrete at the base of the column.


Smurfit Smooth Forms

Explain the difference between Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ and Smurfit Smooth Forms™?
Smurfit Concrete Column Forms™ have a thin layer of polyethylene laminated to the inside ply. This layer is specially formulated to aid in stripping the form. Smurfit Smooth Forms™ have a unique coating applied to the inner ply designed to eliminate the appearance of any spiral lines in the finished column.

Why are Smurfit Smooth Forms™ superior to steel and fiberglass forms?
Both steel and fiberglass forms will leave mold marks or seams in the finished column. Smurfit Smooth Forms™ will not. Also, fiberglass forms typically leave a flat spot along the height of the column where it is joined together.

Does Smurfit Smooth Forms™ give a perfectly smooth concrete surface requiring no finish or touch up work?
Smurfit Smooth Forms™ are designed to eliminate the spiral lines commonly associated with fiber column forms and imparts an extremely smooth surface on the finished column. Depending upon the concrete mix and quality of vibration used in the pouring, common defects, such as bugholes and honeycomb, may still occur.

What is the easiest method for stripping a Smurfit Smooth Form™?
Set a circular saw to cut down to the blue inner ply. Cut the form vertically. Use a knife to score the plastic inner ply. Using a pry bar to separate the inner ply at the score, carefully peel off the form. Be careful not to gouge the surface of the finished column.

Can the contractor cut a Smurfit Smooth Form™ to length?
Yes. Unlike other products on the market, Smurfit Smooth Forms™ are designed to be recut without cracking or crazing the inner surface. Also the inconvenience of refitting a plastic liner is eliminated since the inner surface is firmly adhered to the column form.

When an architect calls for a concrete column to have a sandblasted finish, why is Smurfit Smooth Forms™ superior?
When the usual fiber column form is used, spiral ridges are formed in the concrete column. The added sandblasting needed to remove these ridges leaves a valley in the surface of the column. Extensive and careful sandblasting over the remainder of the column is necessary to create a level surface. Since Smurfit Smooth Forms™ eliminate the spiral ridges, only a light sandblasting is needed to create the desired finish.