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Why is My Grain Bin Sinking?

grain bin settlementThe trend among newer grain bins is to use concrete for the floor instead of metal. As long as the area is properly prepared and the concrete is properly poured, this works well for various grain storage applications. However, there is always a chance that the concrete under your grain bin could develop issues such as settlement or crack formation.

First of all, why is grain bin settlement a problem?

Unloading Issues:
When your grain bin foundation settles unevenly, grain might start to accumulate in the resulting low spots. If this is the case, the grain may not be retrieved from the grain sweeper. In addition, the grain sweeper itself can even suffer damage from extended contact with an uneven grain bin floor.
Lack of Stability:
Not only do uneven grain bin floors cause issues while unloading grain, but they can also be dangerous. Any time there is an issue with the foundation of a structure, that structure becomes less stable. This can increase the likelihood of grain bin collapse or other types of structural damage that may result in injury.
Crack Formation:
The formation of cracks in the concrete often accompanies settlement. If cracks form in your grain bin foundation, they may lead to water entry. This can be harmful to both the grain stored in the bin and the grain bin itself. Water that seeps inside might cause the grain to rot or mold, while parts of the grain bin exposed to water may suffer rust or other kinds of moisture-related damage.

Causes of Grain Bin Concrete Settlement throughout the Midwest

Soil settlement is a common issue for concrete foundations, grain bin foundations included. Depending on the kind of soil in your area, your grain bin foundation may be especially prone to settlement. Sandy soils and other soils containing a lot of sediment may be prone to erosion, forming voids and gaps in the ground beneath your grain bin. These voids cannot support the weight of the grain bin and its contents and may cause the concrete to sink or crack. Soils rich in clay are known as expansive soils. This means that the soils expand when they absorb moisture and shrink when moisture is lost. This process can cause soil movement that leads to settlement and even heaving of the foundation.

grain bin concrete foundation repairThere are two kinds of soil consolidation that may affect the soil under your grain bin foundation. The first kind of consolidation is known as primary consolidation. This type usually occurs more rapidly, after a heavy stress is put on the soil and water is forced out of the ground, putting the bulk of the load on the soil itself. Secondary consolidation follows primary consolidation and occurs gradually. Both of these kinds of soil settlement can lead to the sinking of grain bin foundations.

Solutions for Settling Grain Bins from Quad County Ag

The next question is obvious: what can be done about grain bin settlement? Here at Quad County Ag, our team offers several services for grain bin repair. We can lift your foundation with bin jacking to replace damaged sections of the grain bin or to replace the concrete foundation itself. Our complete list of grain bin repair options that may benefit your sinking grain bin foundation is listed below:

  • Grain Bin Repair: Your grain bin can develop several problems due to concrete settlement. Our team will inspect your grain bin for issues such as foundation shifting, concrete spalling, rust in the steel, and delamination of the concrete. We will then design the appropriate grain bin repair solution for your needs and your budget.
  • Grain Bin Concrete Repair: The concrete under your grain bin can develop several different issues if the foundation starts to sink. It may start to crack, heave, become sloped, or the grain bin itself might start pulling away from the concrete. We offer services to remove damaged concrete, clean the reinforcing steel, and repair with a compatible material to ensure proper bonding. We also ensure that concrete repairs are properly cured to prevent future issues.
  • Grain Bin Jacking: In some situations, fixing your grain bin foundation may require lifting the grain bin and replacing the underlying concrete altogether. We specialize in bin jacking to do just that. Our team will carefully jack up your grain bin, allowing us to fix grain bin panels with damage due to settlement or to fix grain bin cracks or replace concrete.
  • Grain Bin Foundations: If your grain bin issues do require a new foundation, we can supply it. Our grain bin foundation experts can lift your grain bin and pour a solid new foundation or put in new leg towers or supports to fix any settlement issues you are seeing.

If you notice settlement or sinking in your grain bin foundations, call Quad County Ag as soon as possible. Our experienced team can help you avoid a costly or dangerous failure related to grain bin concrete settlement.


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