Prevention is the most effective method to ensure the integrity of concrete structures, surfaces and silos. A proactive maintenance and inspection program is crucial to increase the life of your concrete and ensure the safety of those working around your structures. A proactive safety program should always include annual or semi-annual inspections to check for concealed damage and to assess visible problems that could lead to structural failure.
Though concrete is a superior material for the construction of storage silos, normal loading and unloading operations can lead to structural issues over time. Cracks in silo walls, linings and foundations are an indication of stress.
Concrete walls that show horizontal, vertical or diagonal cracking may be an indication of delamination, or separation of the concrete into layers. Delamination of the concrete is caused by the lack of bonding to the interior structural steel reinforcement, thus weakening the silo’s structural capacity. Issues of this nature will require repair sooner rather than later. Delamination of silo walls can lead to wall failure or collapse and should be addressed by a professional silo repair company immediately. Corrosion of metal silo components, exposed rebar or other deterioration like spalling should also be noted during a visual inspection.
Horizontal and vertical cracks are typically caused by temperature variations, moisture and internal pressure from the stored material. Cracks can cause concrete and steel rebar corrosion which can decrease wall stiffness, allow deflection, degrade durability and strength due to carbonation, and permit water penetration into the concrete wall.
To repair cracks in a poured in place silo, an epoxy injection is used to fill in the cracks. After epoxy injection, it is recommended to add post-tensioned strands completely around the silo area of delamination to provide additional structural integrity. These strands can replace all of the original steel reinforcing and, assuming the concrete is still sound, the silo can be returned to its original load capacity in an economical manner.
Much of this damage is preventable through routine inspection and maintenance. Third-party inspections, maintenance and repair services are the best way to manage safety on any scale. Many structural issues can be easily and economically addressed if caught early. One of our recent case studies inspects a slipform concrete silo with a horizontal crack.
To learn more, be sure to check out our full library of silo inspection videos on silo maintenance, inspection and repair on