What is Honeycomb Concrete?

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Concrete is a marvelous construction material. It is relatively easy to work with, safer than most building materials, and extremely durable. Most people with jobs in construction would rather work with concrete due to its ease of use and versatility. Despite this, concrete still requires some degree of skill, experience, and plenty of attention to detail. Without these factors, you are much more likely to end up with issues like honeycomb concrete.

What is Honeycomb Concrete?

Honeycombs are hollow spaces and cavities on the surface of cement structures that look similar to a honey bee’s nest. Even if you’ve never had a job in construction, you know that concrete should have a smooth, unbroken surface once laid. This maintains its integrity as it sets and ensures the final structure is strong and durable. Honeycombs on the surface of the concrete are usually spotted once construction technicians remove the shuttering or formwork.

On the other hand, honeycombs can also develop inside the mass of concrete, not just the surface. In such cases, our technicians at Kilgore Companies will use advanced procedures like ultrasonic testing to detect any honeycombs.

What Causes Honeycombs in Concrete?

Honeycombs develop when concrete fails to reach every place within the structure under construction, leading to hollow pockets and cavities. Common causes of honeycomb concrete include:

  • Using very stiff concrete
  • Applying improper and excess vibrations to the concrete. This forces mortar to leak through the formwork and causes the aggregates to settle down.
  • Pouring concrete from more considerable heights. This causes the aggregate (sand or gravel) to separate from the mortar and settle down.
  • Improper placement of reinforcements and concrete
  • Course, rough, or improper aggregates that hinder cement penetration
  • Improper water to cement ratio

How to Prevent Honeycombs in Concrete

Here are a couple of ways you can prevent honeycombs from developing:

  • Use concrete with 20mm or less of aggregates and slightly more water and cement at locations where columns and beams join.
  • Use a wooden hammer to tap the outsides of the formwork during concreting and vibrating.
  • Use a thin needle of around 25mm or less with a vibrator at locations requiring intricate concreting, such as around columns and beams.
  • Pour concrete from a height that doesn’t exceed 1.5 m.

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