Updated date:

Building a Grain Bin--Installing Anchor Bolts, Applying Sealant (With Optional Hopper)

Joy worked in construction for 7 years alongside her husband (25+ yrs. experience)—working on pole barns, grain bins, and barn repairs.

Bins Almost Ready for Harvest

This brand new bin and hopper has been built, anchored, and sealed. A few details have yet to be completed.

This brand new bin and hopper has been built, anchored, and sealed. A few details have yet to be completed.

Anchoring the Bin--Overview

Wedge anchor bolts which can be bought from your local hardware store are used to anchor the bin into the cement pad. A hammer drill drill must be used to prepare the holes.

The bolts we have used are about one foot (12 inches) long.

Brackets for anchor bolts are installed at every seam around the bin--so you will need as many bolts as there are seams, with the corresponding bin hardware to attach L-brackets to the bin wall.

Pre-drilled brackets are installed at the seams with the standard grain bin bolts. They are torqued as usual with an impact wrench.

A hammer drill is used to drill into the concrete pad through the hole in the bracket, per the length of your bolts or slightly more. The holes are cleaned out, the bolts are tapped to the proper depth into the holes, the collar put on and tightened, and you are done.

A sealant is often applied over the finished brackets.

We typically do not use a liquid sealant or adhesive in the holes themselves.

Typical Finished Anchor Bolts

This is a typical finished anchor bolt. An L-shaped bracket is installed against the bin with bolts going into the bin wall. A wedge anchor bolt is inserted into the cement into a pre-drilled hole. A sealant can be applied over the top.

This is a typical finished anchor bolt. An L-shaped bracket is installed against the bin with bolts going into the bin wall. A wedge anchor bolt is inserted into the cement into a pre-drilled hole. A sealant can be applied over the top.

Better Photos Planned

I apologize for the poor quality of the photo illustrating an anchor bolt. This was a random picture that happened to have an anchor bolt in it. It will be replaced when I am able to get more suitable pictures, as I never took any with the bolts in mind while preparing this series.

Meanwhile, I have done my best to discuss the process through text and videos.

Tools Needed for Installing Wedge Anchor Bolts

  • Hammer drill and appropriate bit(s), for drilling holes for anchor bolts into concrete slab
  • Tape measure, standard
  • Safety glasses
  • Masking tape or similar, or
  • Permanent marker, black wide tip
  • Hammer for tapping bolts into holes--what size is best depends on your bolts, but either a standard claw hammer or a 2-pound sledge should do.
  • Impact wrench or ratchet wrench
  • Drift punch, medium length (10 inches at least)--if needed for matching bolt holes in seams
  • 9/16-inch box-end wrench, with long handles--for tightening hardware in bin seam
  • Hearing protection--preferably ear-muff or electronic type
  • Work gloves which allow for dexterity (optional)
  • Comfortable work boots with decent tread, hard toes optional
  • Work clothes which will not snag or allow you to get hurt easily
  • A way to block wind from sliding the bin during work (we often use a semi truck and trailer)
  • T-posts for driving in around the built bin for additional stability, or a suitable way to weigh the bin down at the peak (i.e. the boom of a boom truck or crane)

Installing Wedge Anchor Bolts in Solid Concrete

Tips and Alternate Methods

Do the Bin Walls Form an Accurate Circle?

It is crucial to be sure your bin is placed on the slab accurately, with the walls being evenly round. Measure and adjust until this is achieved, otherwise components such as sweeps cannot function.

More Than One Bolt Per Sheet

For extra stability, two anchor bolts may be installed per wall sheet. This was done in the picture above. If you look closely, you can see that there is a bracket in both the seam and the middle of the sheet. This bin has a pit, and has long been in service for seed wheat.

Hook Type Anchor Bolts

Sometimes bolts with a hook-shaped end are installed in the bin foundation prior to placement of the bin. This is done before the slab is poured. We do not prefer this method, as it often results in inaccuracies. It is easy to mis-measure, meaning that some bolts are not placed at the seams, or that it is difficult to exactly match the bin walls to the bolt pattern. In general, you are better off to install wedge anchor bolts after the bin is in place.

Types of Concrete Fasteners--How to Install Masonry and Concrete Anchors

Further Tips on Anchor Bolt Installation--How to Install Concrete Wedge Anchors

Types of Sealing Agents

A foam spray sealant, hot rubber coating, or tar pad is typically used to seal the bin from moisture in a farm situation. Sometimes a combination is used.

Keywords for looking up tar pad are: AST HI-acrylic Ash, ASH 50-25-04 Exterior Sealant Tape

On hoppers and for spot-repairs, caulk or silicone is often used.

For housing or similar uses, methods may vary. I cannot give advice on transforming or modifying bins for housing.

Additional Supplies for Sealing Bins

  • Silicone for hopper seams, with caulking gun
  • Spray foam sealant--either use DIY canned, or hire a professional
  • Tar pad--keywords for looking up tar pad are: AST HI-acrylic Ash, ASH 50-25-04 Exterior Sealant Tape
  • Hot rubber sealant with application hose and nozzle

Hot Rubber Application (Start at 1:15)

Prep and Install Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation (Pole Barn)

DIY Canned Spray Foam Application

Sani-Tred Product Options--Grain Bin Sealing

Sani-Tred Sealant Application Steps Shown

Hoppers

Hoppers are typically sealed with silicone along all seams and at all junctions with components such as aeration tubes, augers, and slide gates.

Because hoppers are notoriously difficult to fix, it is better to overdo the job the first time. During assembly, a swath of sealant is applied liberally at the seams. After the bin is in place, all bolt holes are caulked and/or sprayed with a foam sealant.

As components are installed, care is taken to ensure that all seams and bolt holes are properly sealed.

It is much simpler to do all this properly before grain dust makes the hopper interior slick.

Pits

Bins with pits present special problems. If moisture does start working its way in, it can run into the pit and ruin huge quantities of grain before its presence is realised.

Frequent inspection and careful maintenance are the best tools in your battle against moisture. Prompt removal of spoiled grain is also essential. Grain bin maintenance is not for the lazy or the procrastinator.

Previous and Next

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Joilene Rasmussen

Related Articles