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Bugholes in Formed Concrete

ASCC Position Statement #8

Bugholes, also called surface air voids, are small regular or irregular cavities, usually not exceeding 5/8 in. (16 mm), resulting from entrapment of air bubbles in the surface of formed concrete during placement and consolidation. They normally occur in vertical cast-in-place
concrete surfaces. The photos show smoothform-finish concrete with varying numbers and sizes of bugholes.

The permissible size or number of bugholes isn’t defined for the smooth-form finishes described in ACI 301-99, “Specifications for Structural Concrete.” Section for a smooth-form finish instructs the contractor to patch tie holes and defects. Section, Repair of surface defects other than tie holes, instructs the contractor to “Outline honeycombed or otherwise defective concrete with a 1/2 to 3/4-in. deep saw cut and remove such concrete down to sound
concrete.” If the term “surface defects” included bugholes, a saw cut would be required around each one, which is clearly an unreasonable and
literally impossible task. This leads to the conclusion that bugholes aren’t surface defects.

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