Concrete-Eating Bee INVASION!

By
Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

     Well-----not really----but it sure looks like something has been eating it. Concrete-eating bee?

     When concrete is poured into the foundation forms it does not just flow in like water and fill up the forms to the top.  If it is not vibrated properly it may leave voids called “honeycombing.”  It is not related to bees at all.  The exposed aggregate leaves a honeycomb look and hence the name.  This first picture is of honeycombing in a footing. 

Honeycombing of a footing

     The individual heavier aggregate is left exposed with very little cement, sand and smaller aggregate that would normally surround the larger aggregate if it had been properly “settled.”  This condition is more an indication of poor workmanship than it is a serious structural defect.  Severe honeycombing could become serious if it is extensive enough----but this is pretty rare.

     When I was a kid I often had the job of hammering the sides of the forms to help vibrate the concrete into place.  In modern construction there are “stingers” to do the same job.  They look like a long hose with a salami on the end that is inserted up and down inside wet concrete while it is being poured.  The thing vibrates like a BarkaLounger gone wild!

     On a recent inspection I saw honeycombing about as extreme as I have ever seen it and yet it is still unlikely to be a major structural concern----even with the exposed rebar.

Exposed rebar and honeycombing

     So why is this not likely to be a major structural concern even though it looks really nasty?

     Well look at it this way----the entire defect is about 16 inches long and about 4-5 inches tall----still much smaller than any foundation vent that might be installed in the same wall.

     This kind of defect can easily be patched to prevent moisture intrusion and vermin entry to the house structure.

     Proper patching will even keep out the concrete eating bees. 

Charles Buell

Seattle Home Inspectors, Charles Buell Inspections Inc, Seattle, Wa

 

 

 

PS:  In other totally unrelated matters:     

     Conclusion is the door to “possibilities;” and, it is closed.

 

 

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Seattle Home Inspector

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Topic:
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Rainmaker
68,436
Eileen Begley
Monterey Real Estate
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte

So that's where all the missing bees are now, munching away at the concrete rather than out pollinating the plants! Better tell 60 minutes so they can do a story on it.... :)

June 22, 2009 10:51 AM
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Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Eileen that does sound like something 60 minutes would be interested in:)

June 22, 2009 11:21 AM
Rainmaker
378,459
Regina P. Brown
e-Pro Realtor
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc.

Charles, that is a cute way to look at it!  THANKS for the explanation and education.  You always make me laugh with your witty titles and creative explanations.

Thanks for posting your blog at http://activerain.com/groups/virtualoffice

June 22, 2009 11:16 PM
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Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Thanks, Regina, the English language is just too easy to mess with:)

June 22, 2009 11:24 PM
Rainmaker
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Carol Culkin
Overland Park
Reece & Nichols

Charlie - Okay, I would have though that would be a major defect. Thanks for reassuring me.

June 23, 2009 03:15 AM
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My blog is intended to provide information related to home inspections in Seattle, surrounding communities and anyone else interested. Sometimes I will provide information that has nothing to do with home inspections. Enjoy!

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