What are Formliners and How are They Used with Precast Concrete Products?

Formliners are commonly used to enhance concrete’s overall appearance by giving the concrete a texture or design. There are different types of formliners and a variety of finishes that they can provide for a product. Let’s discuss the different types of formliners and how they are used with precast products.

Types of Formliners

One type of formliner that is commonly used because of its effectiveness is a plastic formliner. A couple of these liners are made by Architectural Mold Systems & Products For Concrete. Plastic liners can be formulated for single use applications or multiple pours. The liners are formulated by heating the plastic to the design, and then vacuuming the plastic to the design mold. These types of liners come in a variety of textures, and they are usually more forgiving to work with. They can provide a more subtle appearance to the concrete’s surface, and they are also very consistent in quality. 

Elastomeric and Urethane Formliners are also commonly used. 

Urethane formliners are softer than plastic formliners due to their rubber texture and are extremely durable, making them usable for multiple applications. The designs with urethane form liners can be more elaborate, which can give the concrete a more detailed and enhanced appearance. This type of formliner is created by pouring the urethane directly into the design mold that will give it it’s design. Once the urethane has hardened, the frame surrounding the urethane can be removed. This formliner is a great choice for concrete that requires intricate and noticeable designs.


Using Formliners 

When using formliners with precast concrete, the forms are created and set per the measurements of the structure. Once the form is set, the liners will be placed inside of the mold. Due to the way the urethane formliner is fabricated, installation into the form is generally easy and efforts to prevent the seams from leaking the poured concrete are generally more minimal. Plastic formliners are installed with the same method but may require more caulking to ensure that leaking does not occur. 

Once the concrete has been poured and given time to cure, it may be stripped from the concrete mold.


Designs and Textures

There are a variety of surfaces and textures that formliners can add to the concrete’s surface.

The formliners can also be set to give the concrete the appearance of being in separate sections.

PermaTrak offers several different textures and designs for precast concrete boardwalk systems along with custom options. A couple textures are:

  • BeachWood
  • BeachSand


Assessing Project Needs

Products requiring more detail and intricate designs may benefit more from using urethane formliners. Plastic formliners can be a great option for more subtle surface textures and designs. These liners also generally cost less than urethane liners; however, urethane liners can sometimes be more cost effective since they are longer-lasting than plastic liners. When deciding between a plastic formliner and a urethane formliner, the customer should always consider their project’s requirements and which liner would be best suited for the product. If aesthetics is an important component for your precast structure, using one of these liners is an excellent way to enhance the overall appearance of your product. If you have any questions about formliners, please reach out to us or 



Stay tuned for our next article.

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