Face contact material is material that is in direct contact with the concrete as it is poured, and acts as the containment shape. It will normally produce a mirror image on the concrete surface. Thus to produce high quality concrete surface finishes, high quality formwork and face contact materials are required.
It is normal practice for the standard of the finished concrete surface to be specified, and for the contractor to select an appropriate face contact material and formwork design to achieve the required concrete surface finish.
A large range of surface finish types can be achieved from a wide variety of form face materials. Flat, curved, smooth, rough, textured, board marked and sculptured finishes can all be achieved directly off the form face. In addition, the formed surface finish can be worked upon further to provide very high quality, etched, shot-blasted, exposed aggregate, or tooled concrete surfaces.
The higher the quality of finish required the higher the cost of the formwork and hence the cost of concrete production. Surface finishes should not be over-specified.