Following the rise of concrete in the early 1900s, silo construction methods began to expand rapidly from silo cellars to concrete stave silo construction. This silo construction method was followed closely by the development of slipform concrete silo construction. This new concrete construction method enabled the creation of a continuous structure that was free from joints and seams.
Today, slipform concrete silos are constructed much like they were when the method first appeared. First, a custom-built form system for both the silo interior and exterior is constructed. This includes an interior work deck as well as interior/exterior finishing scaffolding. The form is supported by jack rods that are attached to hydraulic jacks. As the concrete is poured for the silo walls, the form is raised at approximately one foot per hour until the structure is finished.
Construction of slipform silos requires an around-the-clock construction schedule as the silo must be finished before construction is halted. The finished product has a smooth outer finish, thanks to the continuous pouring of the concrete silo walls. Slipform construction is usually the method of choice for concrete silos that are more than 65' in diameter, or several concrete silos need to be constructed at once.
Though silos now regularly dot both agricultural and industrial landscapes throughout North America, they have only been in use since the late 19th century. From their origins as silo cellars that were dug into the ground to the first vertical silo developed in the early 1880s, silo construction methods have changed a great deal over time.
Early tower-style silos lacked their now-signature round shape and were often constructed of either wood or stone. Structural issues with these rectangular designs, including corner air pockets that allowed for spoilage, high susceptibility to bowing from internal pressure, and susceptibility to wind damage, quickly lead to developments. Silos constructed with a round design were found to withstand pressure from stored materials better.
By the 1900s, concrete became a common construction material and opened the doors to concrete stave silo construction methods still used today. Since developing the technology used for concrete stave silos in 1920, Marietta Silos has remained an industry leader in construction, inspection, and restoration. Concrete stave silos are constructed using precast concrete blocks, or staves, that are at least 2" thick and interlock. These staves are reinforced with exterior galvanized steel hoops that provide the necessary tension to compress silo walls and ensure structural integrity.
Marietta Silos relies on more than 100 years of concrete stave silo construction experience to design and build superior stave silos. We're also the only company in the U.S. that produces staves that are 5 ¾" thick for increased durability. Concrete stave silos from Marietta Silos offer versatility and flexibility, as well as economy. We can design concrete stave silos with many discharge types, including cone, flat floor, side discharge, and tunnel discharge.
Jumpform silo construction is a newer construction method that has been used for the last 30 to 40 years. While it is a more economical solution to silo construction, the end result is also one of the strongest construction types available.
The system relies on a Jumpform machine, or rig, consisting of a form and scaffolding system. This reusable silo framework is set up in just a few days. The system is available in a variety of diameter sizes, from 10' to 65'. Once the desired diameter is selected, the system is assembled on site. Once in place, reinforcement steel is set, quality control is checked, and the inside form is created. Concrete is then poured into this frame in a slow, controlled process in 4' tall intervals until the desired height is reached.
The ability to ensure the quality of the reinforcement steel placement and equipment before pouring the concrete directly results in a high-quality concrete silo. Once completed, the silo will retain a grid-like pattern on the exterior where the form had been in place.
What makes Jumpform silo construction so economical? In addition to the reusable frame, the incremental schedule, rather than the continuous schedule used in Slipform construction, reduces costs by approximately 20%.
- The construction process is not adversely affected by weather events. Since the silo is constructed in 4' segments, it is easy to halt construction and pick up where it left off.
- The incremental process also allows staggered delivery of construction materials. This keeps the construction area smaller.
To learn the step-by-step Jumpform process and to understand its efficiencies, watch our Jumpform silo video.
Check out our full library of silo inspection videos on silo maintenance, inspection and repair on for more information.