Prepping Your Silos for Winter

Winter weather tests every type of building. Silos are no exception. If your agricultural facility is located in the Northwest, Northern Rockies and Plains, Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley or Northeast, it is essential to prepare your silos for subfreezing temperatures, heavy snowfall and strong winds. Here are the action items you should accomplish every autumn before severe weather can jeopardize your silos and their valuable contents!

Silo Roof Maintenance

Your silo’s metal roofing is difficult to access, yet its functionality is paramount to preserving your grain against snowmelt and pests. Water infiltration can also quickly corrode your silo’s steel roof beams, which may contaminate your silage with oxidized iron particles or cause your silo’s roof to collapse under heavy snowfall. (Wet snow weighs approximately 13 pounds per square foot, which means your silo’s roof may have to support several tons for multiple consecutive months during winter.) If the concrete surrounding your silo’s roof beam pockets begins to spall or otherwise fragment, that too can lead to roof collapse.

Inspect your silo’s roof thoroughly and well in advance of wintertime. Search for any areas of corrosion which could permit passage of water into the silo’s interior. Look just as closely for any areas where water may be accumulating. In addition to increasing the risk of water infiltration, ponding can accelerate deterioration of the silo’s roof membrane as well as force the roof beams to bear excessive weight. Finally, inspect each beam pocket to ensure that its surrounding concrete is not cracking or flaking away. If your silo’s roof indicates any damage, consult a contractor that specializes in roofing repairs and roofing replacements at once.

Silo Insulation Maintenance

A silo’s insulation serves two crucial functions. It conserves heat, which is of especial importance during an era marked by rising energy costs. It also prevents grain condensation, a phenomenon where moisture gathers inside the silo and quickly spoils its contents. Its insulation also acts as a barrier which safeguards the silo’s contents from contaminants and pests.

Your silo’s insulation would ideally form an airtight seal. When you examine it, carefully inspect for any signs of cracking, spalling or hole formation. Take detailed note of any areas where insulation is failing or could imminently fail; if you detect a significant number of these areas, repair them at once. If your silo’s insulation is seriously compromised, consider upgrading to spray foam insulation.

Do not overlook your silo’s coating while inspecting its interior. This barrier will fail to repel water and pests if it evinces significant signs of peeling or chipping. If you detect numerous cracks or holes, upgrading to a modern elastomeric coating is the best way to avert future damage to your silo and silage.

Silo Exterior Maintenance

Adverse weather and regular usage both place enormous amounts of stress on concrete. If your silo is made of concrete, it may form cracks that indicate it is delaminating – i.e. separating into layers. If you detect vertical, horizontal or diagonal cracks in your silo wall’s exterior or interior, it demands immediate repair in order to prevent a collapse or less catastrophic failure.

In addition to insulating your silage against cold temperatures, your silo’s foundation protects it from moisture that could cause mold colonization. Needless to say, your silo’s foundation is also fundamental to its structural integrity. Just like you inspected its other concrete surfaces for spalling and cracking, ensure that your silo’s foundation is free of damage. Water can easily seep into even the narrowest cracks where it will freeze and force them to become substantially wider. If gradual erosion has made your silo’s foundation permeable to water, a treatment such as Rub-R-Wall can quickly remedy the issue.


The NIJAC team provides expert grain silo coating, roofing, insulation and foundation services American farmers need to protect their hard-earned crops. We’re proudly headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD, but we serve our clients nationwide. If you would like to learn more about how we can create outstanding value by maintaining your grain silo and surrounding property, then we welcome you to contact us today!