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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS
BRICK STRUCTURAL WALL Loose Bulged
BRICK WALL THERMAL EXPANSION CRACKS
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLD POUR JOINTS, CONCRETE
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS, PRE-CAST
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOD DAMAGE TO FOUNDATIONS
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOOTINGS EXPOSED, Repair Methods
FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS
FOUNDATION CONSTRUCTION TYPES
FOUNDATION CONTRACTORS, ENGINEERS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FOUNDATION DEFECTS OF OMISSION - MISSING
FOUNDATION FAILURES by TYPE & MATERIAL
FOUNDATION FAILURES by MOVEMENT TYPE
FOUNDATION INSPECTION METHODS
FOUNDATION INSULATION OPTIONS
FOUNDATION MATERIALS, Age, Types
FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
CONCRETE SLAB CRACK EVALUATION
CONCRETE SLAB CRACK REPAIR
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE PROBING
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD STRUCTURE ASSESSMENT
Concrete foundation cold pour joints: this article describes the appearance, cause, & problems that may occur at cold pour joints in concrete foundation walls and occasionally floors or ceilings. A cold pour joint, where successive pours or placements of concrete abut during building construction, are normal but on occasion are leak points that may need sealing or repair.
Cold pour joints in concrete, defined here, are often mistaken for structural damage, cracking, or movement in buildings.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.Cold Pour Joints in concrete foundations which leave visible lines in the concrete foundation wall are not usually a structural problem but may in some cases form a dry joint which permits water leakage through the foundation wall.
Cold pour joints occur because of the time delay between subsequent "pours" into the foundation forms.
An astute inspector, by noting the position, pattern, and slope of the cold pour joint, can probably determine the position from which the concrete was poured into the forms (the high end of the sloping lines) and the extent of delay between pours (evidence of water leaks through the joints indicates that enough time passed for the lower pour to solidify).
Water leaks into buildings at cold pour foundation joints are discussed at Basement Foundation Leak Points - Leaks at Cold Pour Joints.
Reader Wade Mariage has pointed out that cold pour joints may also occur due to the accumulation of form-release oil on top of a pour into oiled aluminum concrete forms. As Mr. Wade noted and we agree, even when the concrete crew "chuck" the "mud" (concrete) between pours to improve bonding of the subsequent pour and to reduce pour marks, these marks still often appear in the cured concrete.
If the aluminum concrete forms are heavily oiled the cold pour mark may be still more visible.
Mariage asserts and we agree that normally a cold pour line is not a structural concern. Exceptions are wall leaks or failure of subsequent pours to bond well if the concrete actually sets between pours - unusual events in normal concrete construction.
These close-up photographs of cold pour joints in concrete foundation walls will help in identification of this phenomenon. Notice that there is an apparent boundary that is almost always sloped to some degree and that there are significant texture differences on either side of the diagonal or cold pour joint.
The two concrete cold pour joints shown at left and immediately above are not leaking significantly, though in the lower photo (at left) we see a bit of white stains that are probably mineral effloresence.
Visual clues of cold pour joints give a history of construction sequence and timing
In the photograph above one can just make out the lines of boards used to construct the forms used to pour this foundation wall. The visual clues combine to suggest how this foundation wall was constructed and what happened later.
The use of boards and somewhat rough workmanship suggest a "do it yourself" project, perhaps by a small builder or the homeowners themselves. Small contractors or homeowners might rent a cement mixer and mix small batches of concrete, perhaps not even a cubic yard at a time.
Because a fair amount of manual labor would be involved in mixing each small batch of concrete, it's possible that so much time elapsed between concrete pours that the lower pours had cured and hardened so much that subsequent concrete pours did not bond with their predecessors. This (speculative) history might explain why we see horizontal cracks in this concrete wall in a pattern which tracks, almost exactly, the cold pour joint lines in the wall. If the builder also skimped on reinforcing steel or wire in the wall that might be another factor in the development of these cracks in response to earth or frost pressure from outside after the wall was cured.
Visual clues of cold pour joints in concrete indicate where the concrete truck or concrete source was located and how full was it during pouring of the foundation
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