After pouring and finishing the slab, you should wait 24-48 hours before removing concrete forms. You can remove the formwork once the concrete has enough strength to keep it from cracking. Concrete naturally contracts as it cures, so it should pull away from the forms and make them easier to remove.
How Long Before Removing Concrete Forms?
Removing concrete forms is an important part of any concrete project. Getting the timing right for form removal is important, as removing forms too soon can cause damage to the concrete, while leaving them in place for too long can prevent proper curing or result in other aesthetic issues.
The amount of time needed before removing forms from concrete largely depends on the type of concrete and the environmental conditions in which the concrete is placed.
In general, concrete should not be disturbed for at least 24 hours after pouring. This is due to the fact that concrete is still in its plastic state and can easily be damaged by heavy equipment, tools, or people walking on it.
During this time, the concrete is still settling and curing, and any movement can cause the concrete to become uneven or crack.
For standard Portland cement concrete, the forms can usually be removed after two to three days. This allows the concrete to become more rigid and is less likely to crack under pressure or be damaged by heavy machinery.
For more specialized concretes, such as those containing fly ash, it can take three to seven days before forms can be safely removed.
This is because the curing process for these types of concrete is slower and requires a longer period of time before the concrete is strong enough