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What is the correct course of action: concrete walls?

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  • #751771

    Building a house in northern Arizona. Most of the walls are formed concrete with a subtle color additive. Most of the walls came out great. However, two recent problems occurred.

    In one case, a defect in the pour occurred and it required that the concrete contractor demo a middle portion of the wall. During the demo, they chipped some of the adjacent walls that were to stay in place. Their plan is to repour the middle section and somehow patch the chips they caused on the edges of the adjacent walls.

    In the second case, the concrete supplier got the concentration of the color additive wrong and thus two very large upper sections of two walls had to be demoed and repoured. However, during the demo, they caused some damage to the lower part of the wall that was to stay intact. The second pour looks sloppy where the two wall sections meet and the clean line that should exist between the two sections of the wall is not as clean as it should be. Again, they are telling me that they are going to do some hand-work and patching to improve the appearance.

    My concern, beyond the less-than-perfect appearance, is that any areas that are “patched” are never going to be as durable as an original, single pour. I’m concerned that after several years of freeze/thaw cycles, rain, extreme heat…, the patched areas are going to weaken, crack, and potentially fall off the wall.

    Clearly they do not want to demo the entirety of the wall sections that are affected due to time, cost, etc.

    Based on your expertise, what is the correct course of action? Can patching and hand-work really match the appearance of an original pour and will the patched areas have the necessary durability for decades to come or do I need to insist that they demo those walls in their entirety and pour them all completely from scratch?

    #751865
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    In my opinion, a cold joint should not cause to much of a problem as long as the reinforcing is continuous through it and it is sealed properly. cold joints, which you created when they removed the sections of the walls. It is the chips that will be tough to blend in a patch that will stay in place permanently.

    I would also be concerned with the second photo where there appears to be a window. You can see the ends of the rebar up against the concrete that is forming the jambs of the window. In essence, this 6 to 8″ wide piece that forms the edge of the window will not be tied in at all when the concrete is re-poured, other than the bond of the new concrete to it which is fairly weak.

    Not being familiar with your climate and using poured walls for above grade , I would be curious how they patch the tie holes and if that is an option for the chipped areas. Possibly cut them out a little deeper so a good bond can be created, then use the same material. Do the tie holes blend in long term or are they noticeable.

    One option is to have the contractor stucco over the whole thing to make everything blend in. It is probably a fair cost, and it is my guess that the integral color concrete was done so that would not be necessary, but you are owed a final product that is durable , good looking and free from defects that would distract from the looks.

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