Exposed post tension holes?

I just had a house built in Southern Oklahoma with a post tension slab. The foundation was poured in August of '21. I moved into the house May 8, 2022. One of my concerns I spoke with the builder about was the fact the post tension holes were still exposed, 35 all together. Some were below the soil line and I had to dig them out. The holes were filled with rust, bugs, mud, dirt, mortar. I let my builder know he needed to clean the holes out and get them filled sooner rather than later.

Last week he sent an individual over that just started troweling concrete over one of the holes. I stopped him, called the builder, and asked if he was going to clean the holes before he filled them. He said all they do is put portland cement (which he mixed with water out of a mud puddle) over the holes. He said the cables were coated in some type of grease, do not rust, and to get off his a$$. He informed me on some builds they do not even fill the post tension holes and leave them exposed. His compromise was to have his worker knock the dirt out with a stick and trowel cement over the holes.

Is the builder right, or should I be concerned. Attached is one of the pics I sent the builder of my post tension cable ends. There were worse holes as well.

PTI is recognized as the world-wide authority on post-tensioning
see attached
PTI FAQ.pdf (140.5 KB)

NO send builder & code officials the pdf
it’s what i provide in my reports whenever required
you should have a complete inspection performed of the entire build before any warranty expiration
not all inspectors provide the diligence & competency to protect your investment
vet yours well

i’m in d/fw market
have tools, will travel
anywhere for the right fee


I totally agree with Barry (nice document also)

And would like to add, I personally have inspected many homes with a post tension slab foundation, and on many occasions, I would see exposed and rusted post tension cable ends around the outer perimeter of the foundation. I would always call them out in my home inspection report.

“There were exposed and/or rusted post tension cables ends observed on side of foundation that should be properly serviced and sealed as necessary to protect against corrosion and moisture intrusion. Unprotected cable ends could allow moisture intrusion to wick further down the cable inside the sheath that surround it and cause corrosion and could eventually fail. Recommend further evaluation from a qualified contractor and serviced according to their recommendations.”

So the post tension holes are not just “cosmetic” like my builder said?

:joy: :joy: that’s the best thing I’ve heard from a builder in awhile.

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Good narrative!

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No they are not just “cosmetic” and you now have another potential issue which is the corrosion. Once stressed the cables are locked into place with anchors (wedges or other applicable anchors). If the cables are allowed to corrode and the strands break those anchors can release tension on the cable. The results of a cable release can be small to very large damage to the slab.

Before those pockets are grouted over these cables should be cleaned/checked for potential damage.

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Well, that is bad news for me. My builder already troweled portland cement over the exposed holes. I believed him at first, but then my gut told me I should ask to be sure. Here is another picture he said was fine to cover up.

This is a critical detail that should be performed by the book. No Exceptions

If any of these pockets are below ground, I would also recommend applying an epoxy sealant once the pocket was filled properly.

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If your contractor digs in his heels, you can call up the city inspector and discuss it with him/her. Over the years, I’ve had a few city permit inspectors ask me what I think. City inspectors can vary in knowledge and experience and Barry’s pdf might be something that your city inspector might find useful.

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