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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Raven DeCroeDeCroe, is my "ethereal" home inspector assistant and occasionally flies into my blog and other people's blogs to offer assistance. To find out more about her beginnings just click on Raven.

 

 
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Seattle Home Inspector

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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Robert, it is all about information given in way that can be understood.  There are lots of things about houses that can appear to be aweful---without enough information----or the right information.

Jun 21, 2009 12:28 AM #24
Rainmaker
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Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

I wholy recent that you gentlemen are making fun of me.

Nutsy

 

Jun 21, 2009 12:44 AM #25
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Knutsie---is that a spelt flower role your warin?

Jun 21, 2009 01:00 AM #26
Rainmaker
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Tony Orefice
Wilkinson and Associates/www.TonyOreficeRealtor.com - Harrisburg, NC
Realtor/Harrisburg NC,Concord NC

Charles,

thanks for educating us on this subject. To the untrained eye, it does look bad!

Nutsy, I think Mr. Charles just made fun of you again!

Jun 21, 2009 07:57 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,184,488
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Guys,

Leave my assistant alone. When people make fun of him he is worthless for days...totally bummed.

Jun 21, 2009 11:01 AM #28
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Tony, you are welcome.

Steve, OK      (visualize me with my fingers crossed)

Jun 21, 2009 12:00 PM #29
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Tammy Lankford
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)

Now I know why the construction works had their radio so loud when they were pouring my basement, they were "vibrating" the concrete (as well as my brain of course), but hey I have good concrete.

Jun 21, 2009 12:31 PM #30
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Tammy---too funny.  I have heard some cars with those speakers that make the whole neighborhood vibrate.  They would work to vibrate concrete for sure:)

Jun 21, 2009 12:34 PM #31
Rainmaker
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Steven & Marti Simmons & Schmidt
John L Scott Ocean Shores - Ocean Shores, WA
Real Estate Broker - Ocean Shores - www.theoceaniscalling.com

I suppose neither would be very fun!  Marti

Jun 21, 2009 01:20 PM #32
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Steven, what is that, bees that invade or bees that eat concrete?:)

Jun 21, 2009 01:30 PM #33
Rainmaker
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James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I can not recall every seeing severe honeycombing on a foundation, but there's always tomorrow.

Jun 21, 2009 05:10 PM #34
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

James you must just be groovin to the "good vibrations."

Jun 21, 2009 06:09 PM #35
Anonymous
Anonymous

Again, I learned something new on AR.  Thanks!

Jun 21, 2009 07:06 PM #36
Rainmaker
1,184,488
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

I do not care how often you say it, I still recent being made fun of recently.

Nutsy W, giving you a pizza my mind

Jun 21, 2009 08:52 PM #37
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Hi Irene, thanks for stopping by and commenting

Nutsy is that really slices of you on you?

Jun 22, 2009 10:43 AM #38
Rainmaker
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Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

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.... :)

Jun 22, 2009 10:51 AM #39
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

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

Jun 22, 2009 11:21 AM #40
Rainmaker
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Regina P. Brown
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA
e-Pro Realtor

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

Jun 22, 2009 11:16 PM #41
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

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

Jun 22, 2009 11:24 PM #42
Rainmaker
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Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

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

Jun 23, 2009 03:15 AM #43
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