Cold Pour Joints, Should I be concerned?

Hey all,

My wife and I are building a new home, after the forms were removed I discovered what appear to be cold pour joints in the foundations. I am just wondering if they are a reason to be concerned and if my builder should be taking special measures to seal/repair them to prevent issues in the future with water penetration.

Inside the basement area


Those cold joints are not severe, but should be grouted with non-shrink grout before the waterproofing material is applied to the wall. Also all those metal form ties should be broke off back behind the wall surface and the hole grouted as well.

I agree Randy and this link might help also.

That looks like a terrible job of concrete placement! Very low slump mud and obviously waaaay too much time between trucks!!!:twisted:

Oh, forgot to mention inadequate vibration to help level the lifts…

Pete, that is indicative of at least a 6" and up to 7" slump.

And they wonder why the walls crack and shrink.

If this was a 3000# mix, they are lucky to get 2500PSI at 28 days.

Obviously test samples were not taken for slump and compression strengths. Typical Residential.:wink:


How do they get diag. cold jts w/ a medium slump mix?

I would not quite call that a Medium slump.

The standard slump is 3-5. Usually a mid-range is added to achieve a high slump to not loose concrete strength due to the high water/cement ratio.
I consider the picture posted a high slump along with waiting for trucks.
Not a stuctural concern as a cold joint, but indicates a high water cement ratio which weakens the concrete strength as a whole. :slight_smile:

M, pls answer how the diag. cold jts w/ what you call a hi slump?

Also, a 3" slump for a bsmt wall pour would lead to major probs trying to vibrate…

on the exterior,
will the wall be water proofed or
damp proofed…?

I thought I did.:slight_smile:

They back up the concrete mixer to the foundation forms and dump the load all in one place, it flows both ways due to the high slump and some seggragation may occurr. Vibration, if any, will magnify the slump line.

I would question the presence of mid-range additive or supper plastizer at the time of pour to see if it explains the high slump lines.



I agree with Peter that the trucks should have been at a regular rate. They know how much concrete they need.
Every driver said the same thing to me Marcel. 2500 PSI is fine for foundation.

I always used 3500 if clay was an issue. Please remember I only have several pours under my belt.

I would mark the wall if the pour stopped. I would run the vibrator that little extra to allow cohesion between the pours.
Nice to see the post. Been many moon sense I worked a full wall pour.

Robert, I have poured concrete foundations every year commercially for 40 years, cold joints can be avoided, when you know what you are doing.:slight_smile:

Yes of course Marcel. I did not mean to imply otherwise. If I did excuse me. We Stoped working minus 10C. back in the early eighties.
I was laid off and worked indoors.
PS: It does not represent a cohesive pour IMO.


Builder failed to address our concerns and sealed the foundation with what I would call black tar (typical sealant I’ve seen used on residential foundation around the area) without any special attention given to the cold pour joints and back-filled prior to our meeting with them.

Now how concerned should I be about water penetration in the future?

They used anti bamp. I expected no less.

Capillary action works it way through cold joints at an accelerated pace then through a monolithic poured wall…
I wish I could tell you what to do but I am will leave you with this.

A home inspector should have been on the site from day one.
A contingency can be written into your deposit. You receive your money back when situations like this arise. You have to prove a defect and then it was not repaired properly.
They know you are emotionally tied to the home. They do not expect you to walk. Even if you do the sell it to someone else.
That is no excuse for pour workmanship

I will not say any more.
All the best.

So, your basically saying I WILL have water end up in my basement via these joints because they were not addressed properly? Awesome…talk about a dream turning into a pure nightmare!

Sadly, there is no such contingency written in our deposit, if we decide to walk, we lose A LOT of money between earnest money and construction deposit. The only way to salvage our money is if the builder decides to terminate the contract and give us our money back. So it really isn’t a matter of emotional attachment, but a financial one. We could not afford to purchase another home in the near future if we lose our deposit and earnest money.

The builder tried to explain away the issues (referring to it as honey combing), and hadn’t even taken the time to get in the hole and look at what we were upset about…they just said they have built more than 1000 homes and never had a problem with a foundation, except around penetrations for water lines, etc that were not sealed correctly. And then basically told us if the foundation was not up to standard then the county inspectors would not pass it…

Does the county have any liability if the inspector indeed passed the faulty foundation upon inspection?

What I need to do as the home owner after closing to address the issue and fix it right, and what would the estimate cost of the repairs be? (If I wasn’t planning on legal action against the builder to recover cost of repairs I would air their dirty laundry all of the web and the subdivision to potential buyers!)So that I can finish my basement and sleep easy at night knowing that I won’t end up pulling up carpet and ripping out dry wall later on?

If you were inspecting this home post construction (resale), would you steer a potential buyer away in your inspection because of this issue? What if the issue was repaired correctly?

So, your basically saying I WILL have water end up in my basement via these joints because they were not addressed properly? Awesome…talk about a dream turning into a pure nightmare!.
No sir I said no such thing.
There are many combined actions that relate to water infiltration through a concrete wall.

The contingence is there to allow you to see what you are being obliged to do and you can add your own articles. I would try not to be bound to a contingency that hand tied my money leaving me no recourse if there are builders flaws.
Thats me. No one is going to hijack my money.

I will not even go into the fact of the subs past foundations.building practices. I can see and have worked with contractors who’s mindsets match or are even worse than this guys.

He works physically and from repetition by the looks and sound of things and wishes not to learn.

There are many reason for water entry. I have seen crack foundation that are exhibiting no water entry.
Here is just a small article on cold joints.
You have photo’s. I would suggest you hire a HI. He can act as you go between.
PS: Keep him on the job for the rest of the building phase.

Your seem to be worried after the fact. Hindsight is only 20/20 when reviewed properly.
Put in place all the safeguards necessary. If you need witness then hire one and ask them all the questions you are asking here.
You are looking for guaranties when all this could/should have been done in advance, with time and education, leaving you a third party to act on your behalf consul and witness. You will still have to make choices.

There is so much more to understanding a building lot and grounds, defects and deficiencies than you realize.
If you wish email me and I will recommend a home inspector in your area if I can find one in our association.
I hope someone looks into this thread and offers on their own.
All the best.

How much does it cost on average to hire a HI for the duration of a home build?

I tried to PM you for the info on an inspector, but doesn’t look like I am able.

I would definitely like to look into hiring a HI in my area. I am located in Salt Lake City, Utah.