Texturing edges, copings, and risers with form liners.

Form liners are the best way to texture a vertical surface when pouring concrete. They are urethane or foam texturing tools that attach to the form before a pour. Form liners are great for the face of steps, exposed patio edges, pool copings, and even countertops. Anywhere a formed, vertical edge might be exposed is a use for a form liner. By adding texture to these surfaces, any slab is easily upgraded into a truly premium installation.

How to Install Form Liners

Installing liners is incredibly simple. Just attach the liner to the form before pouring! Make sure to account for the width of the liner when setting forms. It will be necessary to move the form out enough to accommodate the added thickness from the texturing tool. Use a wood or decking screw to attach the liner to the form from the form-side (outside) of the pour.  Form liners are flexible and can follow gently to moderately curved forms. Make sure forms and liners are level before pouring the concrete.

Pouring with Form Liners

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Pouring and finishing concrete with form liners isn’t terribly different from other stamped concrete installations. However, as the edge is now an exposed decorative surface, take care to close voids and avoid bugholes. Vibration throughout the process is key. Tap the forms with a hammer to close gaps. On large or exceptionally thick jobs, consider using an internal concrete consolidation tool or vibrator. Finish the concrete up to the form liner, but do not use an edger on the liner. Stamps and textured skins can be used like normal on the slab. When done, pull forms like usual.

Coloring with Form Liners

Integral color is the best choice for any colored concrete with multiple exposed faces. Form liners are no exception. Integral color colors the concrete throughout, meaning the top and sides of the concrete will have very similar color when fully cured. Integral color also saves labor versus surface applied colors such as Color Hardener. For added design options, use water-based stains on the edge after the concrete has cured. Be careful to avoid drips and runs and consider using an acetone-based dye on interior projects.

Form Liner Applications

Form liners come in all shapes and sizes, so they are perfect for a wide variety of applications. Stair are one of the most common. The exposed face or riser of concrete stairs make the added texture a valuable addition. Concrete countertops are also a frequent benefactor of form liners, creating bullnose finishes, cantilevers, and other decorative edges. Similarly, pool copings often utilize bullnose and cantilever form liners. Finally, exposed patio and walkway edges are a great and often underutilized application. By using form liners, almost any project with an exposed face is improved and has value added.  

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