Discovered bad cold pour joints in foundation

We recently purchased a new construction home and discovered the builders had covered up some what look to be pretty bad “cold joints”. They were blended into the wall with patch cement and Im guessing this is why our inspector did not notice them… but now they are starting to crack through. Our new neighbor gave us pictures of the progress of construction which include the attached pics of the foundation.

I am planning on getting a structural engineer to examine them asap. I can not find very much information about these type of defects on the internet and was wondering how “bad” these look compared to what normally occurs with cold joints? Also if anyone could point me in the direction of how to find a good structural engineer in the Boston area that would be wonderful.

Some photos:

Have you asked your inspector?

A structural engineer will not be able to help you with this. Those are ugly, but in and of themselves, they are relatively insignificant.

The bigger concern is whether the waterproofing has been properly applied. Assuming the concrete has been adequately reinforced, and as long as the moisture is kept out of the wall, these cold-joints will likely never become a problem.

I have not spoken with my inspector since the inspection 3 months ago. Honestly I am kind of dissapointed he did not inspect these areas with more detail since there was obviously something going on. As a young first time home buyer I just assumed the patching on the wall was normal but apparently it is not.

So I should not consult a structural engineer then? Everything I have read says if there are horizontal cracks to do so?


These are not cracks and they are not structurally significant. See my previous post.

Only if you want to waste your money… Listen to Pope…

Jeff, out of curiosity what is your definition of a cold joint and where is it in this situation?

ok I guess my big concern was the cracking (?) is visible on the inside and outside of wall and there are small pieces just falling out from there.

So should I do anything to follow up on this?

Are you picking up where someone left off?

Without knowing what type of soils are surrounding your concrete walls there, I think what you are looking at are common shrinkage cracks… Do you know what type of material was used for the back fill around the walls? Rock… soil etc.

If you wanted a second opinion from an SE… I would only recommend based on the “V” in pic and the fact you can’t see what type of perimeter drainage should be in place around the project.

Is there any displacement along the cracks creating this V? Horiz or Vert and how much? Did the cracks show up after being patched and a recent rain? (looks wet)


Cold joints vary in severity from cosmetic to true joints were the two layers never bonded together. Form a distance your cold joint appears to be on the cosmetic end of the spectrum. It would have been nice to see the joint up close before they backfilled the wall. The most common problem associated with cold joints is the potential for water leaks. Quantity of steel reinforcement in the wall, quality of waterproofing on the outside, backfill procedures and external drainage system installed will ultimately play a more significant role in the leak potential of that joint. Probably about a third of all the basements I see have some cold joints in them.

Jeff is correct. Those cold joints are aesthetically ugly, but pose no problem to the structural integrity of the wall.
Most cold joints that are consolidated such as the pictures is not a problem with the sufficient vertical and horizontal reinforcement and as Jeff mentioned, should not be a problem with water intrusion as long as the exterior damp proofing was adequately prepared prior to application.

Foundation walls of 25’ high is common in the Commercial industry, and are allowed to be poured in to consecutive vertical pours, as long as the vertical reinforcement is continuous. That is also a true cold joint.
No worries on my part, on what I see. :slight_smile:

Well thanks everyone for the feedback. I appreciate it. I guess I can rest at least a little bit easier now that I know it shouldnt be a structural issue.

Tim… there is no major displacement yet. The cracking through has just gradually occured. The wet look of the cement has not changed since purchased in Aug. (was poured about a year ago I believe)

I will keep an eye on the water situation and drainage and go from there.