Thank you in advance for your help.

My first time pouring concrete ended with quite an embarrassing result. Lots of honeycombing in the concrete. This is for a pier that will hold a post for a deck build with 1 inch above grade. The deck is a 16 X 20 deck about 23 inches tall. A few questions:

Will this be strong enough to support the deck? If not, is there anything that can be done to make it so? Or is this is a completely tear out and redo? If a tear out, how would you go about it?

What went wrong? I have quite a few more to do, so would like to do those correctly. I used a board and compacted the concrete as I went--every couple of bags. Maybe not enough water? When I reached the top I didn't do a good job of compacting as I was concerned with getting the anchor bolt in before drying. But even lower, it looks like there is quite a bit of honeycombing. Some areas are ok.

Is there a trick to knowing how much water to use when mixing? I tried following the instructions on the bag, but found it to be very insufficient. The mix was still dry in several places so I just tried to guesstimate the right amount.



  • Did you mix it by hand or rent/buy a machine? Don't guesstimate, follow the directions.
    – JACK
    Jun 14, 2023 at 0:48
  • It's impossible to know if this will be sufficient. And for what it's worth, it sounds like you didn't mix it enough. In other words, the specified amount of water should have been sufficient for the whole bag. You had overly wet clumps (weaker than spec) and probably normal clumps. If the pier is fairly tall, you might take a chance; if it was only, like, a foot deep, I'd bust it apart (rotohammer/chipper). Jun 14, 2023 at 0:58
  • 1
    Oh, and thumping the form with a sledgehammer is a passable replacement for a concrete vibrator. Jun 14, 2023 at 0:59
  • @JACK I mixed it by hand. The directions said to start with 4 pints and work your way up from there as needed--no specific amount given.
    – HelpinKC
    Jun 14, 2023 at 3:15
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    you aren't building a 30 story tower, it is just a deck, i'd go with it. what brand of mix did you buy? normally it says on the bag how much then you just measure and mark it on a bucket and then mix. Jun 14, 2023 at 3:45

1 Answer 1


Footings often look like that. They're poured with a "low slump" mix so that they set quickly and foundation wall construction (blocklaying or forming) can begin shortly after. There's likely no structural concern. Apply more water to ensure a good cure and move on.

If you're really only 1 inch over grade, cover with landscape mulch or apply a surface finish if you would like to improve appearance. You could fit landscape pavers or tile, or skim with a suitable product.

  • I've had honeycomb in my foundation before and the engineer wanted it parged. can't imagine it would do much when you just fill in the honeycomb to a limited degree but easy to parge it and maybe it helps prevent a hairline crack from developing in the future. Jun 17, 2023 at 18:53

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