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Old 07-12-2007, 07:48 AM   #1
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


I am planning a 20 ft tower, 10 ft diameter, as a very distinctive tool shed on a 1.25 acre plot. It will be faced with brick veneer, and look a bit like a castle tower. Cheaper to use cinder blocks or poured concrete for the structure? Or just a wood frame? The foundation will be rebar/concrete.

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:19 AM   #2
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


I'm not a contractor, but here's a couple of observations.
  1. You NEVER see a farm silo constructed from a monolithic concrete pour.
  2. The labor alone to build the form work, reinforcement, and bracing has got to be cost prohibitive.
The question of stick framing depends on your usage of the building. Do you plan to insulate it and to have electrical outlets? Is there going to be an inside second story? The stick frame would lend itself towards that. If it's just a non-heated utility bldg. (silo) then I would imagine that block would be the way to go.

Just my random uninformed thoughts.


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Old 07-12-2007, 09:02 AM   #3
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


Why not just use multi-wythe brick construction? In lieu of that, CMU would be faster, cheaper, and easier. If CMU, you will probably want to use 6x8x8 units.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:45 PM   #4
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


Poured concrete, using a slip form system, would be the most expensive option to consider....and it is done on grain silos....the forms are set to diameter, and then as the pour progresses, the forms are "jacked" up with the set....
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:56 PM   #5
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


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Originally Posted by joasis View Post
Poured concrete, using a slip form system, would be the most expensive option to consider....and it is done on grain silos
My apologies for the misinformation. It was an (incorrect) assumption that it would be prohibitively expensive in a farming application.
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:27 PM   #6
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


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Originally Posted by SecretSquirrel View Post
My apologies for the misinformation. It was an (incorrect) assumption that it would be prohibitively expensive in a farming application.
Most would never guess, but when you see pictures from the heartland of America, and all those huge grain elevators, multi tower units.....remember they are monolithic pours that in some cases, continued non stop for a few months....modern techniques make it easier, but in the old days, the forms were jacked by a crew of men walking the scaffold around the form and turning a jack screw at each station, then going to the next station...that way the form didn't get a lead higher on one side.....now they use lasers and hydraulics to do it....but it is still done. I have seen one built in recent times,....all the rest around here are from the early part of the century....my Grandfather and his brothers helped crew a few of these.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:16 AM   #7
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


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I have seen one built in recent times,....all the rest around here are from the early part of the century....my Grandfather and his brothers helped crew a few of these.
Thanks for the insight, and story. There is a huge difference between a silo and a grain elevator. I used to live in Illinois, and Oklahoma, so I am familiar with these. I am now in Connecticut. Not much farming here!
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Old 07-13-2007, 10:27 PM   #8
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Blocks or poured concrete for round tower?


Most elevators I see are slip-formed, while most silos are metal. I have seen slip formed cisterns on homes in Fredricksburg, Llano, and Lampasas, probably of the 1900-1930 era.

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