Concrete foundation deterioration

16 year old house. First, what are the causes of the deteriorated concrete (poured) in first 3 pics? What would you recommend? NOTE: Inside of foundation not visible due to spray foam insulation. Second, what are the boards for on the foundation, shown in last two pics?

Thanks in advance.


The poured wall is not deteriorated but rather the foundation crew failed to use a vibrator (actual tool used when using concrete forms) to prevent the honeycomb affect that you see. I used it quite a bit when I built homes in Cincinnati…gosh I hated doing poured foundation walls… but they beat the block and brick you see in the south… but I digress.

The board in the forth picture actually looks like Durock or a similar product. I have not messed with poured walls in a long time…not sure the application other then using it as a protect barrier when properly installing a french drain. Many builders use 1/2 Celotex or a similar product to prevent damaging to the sprayed basement walls…never thought of it but using 1/2 Durock would be a better solution then anything else I have ever saw or use…although it would also be quite a bit more expensive.


PS. I forgot to add that since foundation walls were sprayed then disclaim or simply note that you can not account as to the severity of the honeycombing. Consult with a GC or Foundation specialist.

Wearing my GC hat, I would advise the client to open several section of the foam so that I could see the areas in question; dig a few feet below grade in various area to determine how widespread the honeycombing is and based upon what I observed would make the appropriate call at that time.

Thanks for the help Jeff. I guess I’m really not following you completely on the Durock assumption.

If that is a basement wall or wall of that is simply being waterproofed than they install a french drain which should include spraying (or applying) the wall with a water proof material up to finished grade.

Once that dries then a protective membrane should be installed over the waterproof coating to prevent the coating from being damaged during back filling.

Many builder or foundation specialist use 1/2"x4’x8’ sheathing that helps protect the coating… various materials are used but celotex sheeting is very popular.
Celotex however is not puncture proof by any means.

With that said and without being there to look closer, I suspect the builder used 1/2" durock or a derivative there of. Durock is often used as a backer board for tile…especially in wet areas like showers etc. I have seen stone masons use it as well but its rare. The sheets are typically 3’x5’ and are about 2 - 3 times the price of say Celotex… but then again I could see that it would hope up better than anything else I have come across.

Hope that makes sense.


Got it. Thanks again, Jeff. You’re helpful explanations are always appreciated! Have a great weekend!

Got it pretty well covered Jeffery, but it is beyound me why they would use an expensive product like cement board to accomplish what less expensive products designed for that purpose cost. :slight_smile:

The second picture looks like weak failing concrete or surface spalling from freeze/thaw action…comments Joshua?

I can’t make out that one out either Brian. Dosen’t even look anywheres close to concrete like the first pic. :slight_smile:

Could be. Never seen anything quite like it. The crawlspace had bigtime moisture problems. I’m assuming that the concrete may not have been mixed quite right as well. Here’s another pic.

I never seen anything like it and I have poured many thousands of yards of concrete. :slight_smile:

Joshua, anything we add is purely based upon pictures…without actually being able to touch and feel what have observed makes it difficult.

The latest picture looks to me more like forms that were not oiled and little to no vibration or vibration was only done in the middle of the forms…again its simply based upon 1 dimensional pictures.

Did you do any probing of the concrete?

Yeah, kind of. It was rough, solid, and pitted, just like it looks. It was intact, for the most part, with little-to-no flaking, crumbling, and/or soft spots.

Well, if nothing else, I feel better that y’all are baffled as much as I am. I really cannot offer any more info and/or insight, except for the fact that this was a homeowner-built-house, erected in the sticks, with no enforcements/regulations whatsoever. And judging by the looks of some other conditions at the property, I can quite honestly say that the construction practices observed were, to say the least, less-than-professional.

If there is no flaking and its solid then I would say that it was not properly poured and/or vibrated. Again, next step is simply to defer it to a specialist.

I’ve seen similar looking concrete that was quite old but it was also soft and would scrape off easily. You said it was solid. No chance part of the house foundation was older?