Restoring a Commercial Grain Bin Done Right

The allure of the warm glow from the setting sun contrasted by looming silhouettes of barns and silos separating miles of cornfields. It’s a sight that I never knew how much I enjoyed until I moved away from my small town. Remembering that sight, what never occurred to me is the amount of work that goes into preserving the contents of those round metal structures along the gravel roads. Although I grew up in a town of 8,000 in the middle of nowhere Iowa, my family is not farmers. I had to learn that those silver metal cylinders made of corrugated steel are actually called grain bins (not silos) and primarily store dry grains. DRY is the keyword.

Maintaining a specified moisture content is vital to the preservation of the grain. Too much moisture and your product will spoil. It requires constant monitoring to look for hot spots, visual rotting, or odors that could signal decay. Wet corn can heat spontaneously further expediting the spoilage.


Before being stored, corn is dried to the right moisture content based on the length of time it will be reserved. Even with all the coring, augmenting, fans, and technology, there are still factors that can’t always be controlled. These are external storage bins that are subject to weather and environmental factors. So things like dew point, humidity, and temperature can all impact the moisture and thus risk deterioration. If corn spoils up against the side of the bin, it can cause rusting from the inside. Additionally, prior damage to the silo can increase vulnerability so it is important to always begin with a clean, structurally sound grain bin.

As you can imagine, it is nearly impossible to avoid any spoilage ever. Especially when your business relies on having consistent, year-round access to grain. Unfortunately, our client suffered from this recently and needed our help to remove the wet corn residue, remove the rust it caused, prepare the surface for a new coating, and apply and new coating to protect the silo for future use.

The corn debris inside one of their grain bins was 10'-20' high and 20 feet long in some areas. Blast It Clean entered the silo through the door on the side using confined space entry permits. Our team is trained to adhere to all safety guidelines that fall within confined space protocol. We utilized safety extraction equipment and the safety attendant kept a close watch on the oxygen monitor to ensure safe levels.

Using scaffolding, we blasted the affected areas to remove all rust and buildup as well as profile the failing sections for the new coating. On this project, we chose black beauty coal slag as the blasting abrasive. Black beauty is fast cutting thanks to the hard, angular particles. It is ideal for use on steel and is considered “green” because it meets environmental standards.  Black Beauty is considered chemically inert, low-dusting, and low-free silica.

commercial grain bins


Once the steel surface was clean and prepared, Blast It Clean completed a detailed cleanup of the interior of the silo prepping the area for the new coating.

The affected areas were then coated with an epoxy primer, Carboguard 163. We chose this primer because of its superior flexibility. This coating created a seal on any open seams preventing water penetration. Carboguard 163 also provides a barrier protecting the steel surface from the corrosive environment.

After the primer, we finished off with a top coat to protect the seal and further strengthen and resist abrasion. Carbomastic 15 is proven to do just that. It was the first coating in many industrial applications with this ability and continues to provide incomparable results when it comes to barrier protection and corrosion resistance.

Our client was so pleased with the service and quality work we provided they are considering us for additional work inside their facility. While the reason we were called to this project wasn’t something to celebrate, we are always happy to form lasting relationships with our customers.

Call us today to see how we can put our services to work restoring and protecting your assets.