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Honeycombing in Concrete: Causes, Types and How to Fix it

When it comes to concrete structures, honeycombing can be a major concern. It not only affects the visual appeal of the surface, but it can also compromise the strength and durability of the structure. With this blog get the insights you need to ensure your concrete structures are sturdy and visually stunning.


Key Takeaways


• Honeycombing in concrete, caused by voids or cavities, not only impacts visual appeal but also compromises structural strength. 


• Identifying causes such as poor compaction, improper mixture, formwork issues, curing lapses, and placement challenges highlights the importance of precise construction practices.


• Understanding small, medium-sized, and large honeycombs is important to understand the severity of structural impact and choose remediation strategies accordingly.


• From identifying causes and cleaning surfaces to filling voids, smoothing, curing, and meticulous inspection, honeycombing can be repaired with a few easy steps.

If you're looking for answers on honeycombing in concrete, you've come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the causes and types of honeycomb in concrete, as well as provide you with effective ways to fix it. From understanding the importance of proper concrete placement to knowing the right techniques for repairing damaged areas, we've got you covered. So, let's dive in and explore everything you need to know about honeycombing in concrete!

What is honeycombing?

In the context of concrete, honeycombing refers to voids or cavities that are left in the hardened concrete due to incomplete filling of the formwork or improper compaction of the concrete. Honeycombing in concrete can weaken the structural integrity of the concrete and make it more susceptible to water penetration, which can lead to corrosion of the reinforcement and other durability issues. 


However, to prevent honeycombing there are many things you can do. In this blog, we will be looking into everything related to honeycombing, from its causes to its repair, and ways to fix it. Let’s look at the causes.


Causes of honeycomb in concrete:

Honeycombing in concrete is generally caused by one or more of the following factors: Poor compaction: 


1. Improper compaction

This can result in trapped air voids, which can cause honeycombing. This is usually due to insufficient vibration during the placement and compaction of the concrete. 


2. Improper mixture proportioning

Using the wrong mix proportions can also lead to honeycombing in concrete. For example, using too much water in the mix can make the concrete more fluid, which can lead to the segregation and settling of coarse aggregates. 


3. Formwork issues

Poorly constructed formwork can also result in honeycombing. If the formwork is not properly sealed or does not fit tightly, the concrete can leak out, resulting in voids and irregularities in the finished product. To avoid this, shuttering is common. Shuttering in construction is a temporary structure used in construction to provide support to the concrete until it is set.


4. Improper curing

If the concrete is not cured properly, it can lead to the formation of cracks and voids, including honeycombing. Proper curing is essential to ensure that the concrete gains strength and durability. 


5. Placement issues

Improper placement techniques, such as pouring concrete from too high of a distance or using improper equipment, can also cause honeycombing. It is important to identify and address the root causes of honeycomb in concrete to ensure that the finished product is structurally sound and durable.

Types of honeycomb in concrete

Honeycombing in concrete refers to voids or cavities that are left in the hardened concrete due to incomplete filling of the formwork or improper compaction of the concrete. Honeycombing can occur in varying sizes, from small to medium to large. 


1. Small honeycombs:


Small honeycombs in concrete are typically less than 10mm in size and can be caused by minor voids or surface irregularities that are left after the concrete is placed and compacted. These small honeycombs are generally not a structural concern but can affect the aesthetic appearance of the finished product. 


2. Medium sized honeycombs:

Medium-sized honeycombs in concrete are typically between 10mm and 50mm in size and can occur due to issues such as insufficient vibration during compaction or poor formwork installation. These honeycombs can reduce the strength and durability of the concrete and may require remediation to ensure the structural integrity of the finished product. 


3. Large honeycombs:

Large honeycombs in concrete are typically greater than 50mm in size and can be caused by issues such as inadequate formwork, improper placement or compaction, or failure to remove any debris or obstructions from the formwork before pouring the concrete. Large honeycombs can significantly reduce the structural integrity of the concrete and may require major repairs or replacement.


In conclusion, honeycombing is a common issue in concrete construction that can lead to reduced strength and durability of the finished product. Proper compaction, mixture proportioning, formwork, curing, and placement techniques can all help to prevent honeycombing. Additionally, repairs can be made using suitable materials and techniques to ensure that the finished product is structurally sound and durable. So now when you see a honeycomb structure in concrete, you will know what to do!

Check out this video on concrete compaction to know more about the workability of concrete.



a) What should I look for while inspecting for honeycombing in concrete? 

Regular inspections of concrete structures are important to detect honeycombing and other defects early. Signs of honeycombing include surface roughness, exposed aggregate, and visible voids or pockets. A professional concrete contractor can help with inspections and provide recommendations.


b) How can honeycombing be prevented? 

Honeycombing can be prevented by using proper compaction techniques, selecting the correct mix proportions, ensuring proper formwork construction, proper curing, and using proper placement techniques. 


c) Can honeycombing affect the strength of concrete? 

Yes, honeycombing can affect the strength of concrete by creating voids that reduce the overall density and structural integrity of the finished product.

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