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coarse vermiculite home depot

Coarse vermiculite home depot

VERMICULITE.COM

Naturally Occuring, Safe, and Plentiful

A New Site With Guidelines and Suggestions
On How and Where to Purchase Vermiculite

People have had problems finding vermiculite because of two reasons:

  1. In the early 1990’s the W.R. Grace Company closed its mine in Libby, Montana and over 20 processing plants located across the country. As a result, there are many regions where there simply isn’t a local vermiculite processing plant.
  2. Because of a lot of bad publicity about Libby and the Libby vermiculite mine, most of the larger “box stores” no longer stock and supply vermiculite.

Nevertheless, vermiculite continues to be used by professional pool contractors, by large greenhouse growers, by industrial fireproofing manufacturers and applicators, by installers of insulation, by industrial manufacturers and commercial businesses.

Unfortunately, homeowners and hobbyist have had problems find sources for relatively small quantities, and so this site has been designed to try to help them find and purchase vermiculite.

We’ve tried to organize this site by basic areas of interest and/or by applications for which vermiculite would be used. If you have suggestions on other ways to organize this site, or would like to add listings, please contact us. (See address and contact information at the bottom of this page.)

SWIMMING POOL CONSTRUCTION:

Not all vinyl liner contractors and dealers use vermiculite, but first try your local pool stores and dealers to see if they will sell you any regular pool base vermiculite (what we call V+16 Pool Base) or the pre-blended product that is a mix of vermiculite and portland cement (what we call Ultra Mix II). Many dealers will not sell the vermiculite to you since they feel the DIY pool builder is taking away from their livelihood. Nevertheless, try to persuade the dealer that you intend to build your pool one way or the other and you will need to purchase chemicals for the lifetime of the pool, and, therefore, they should help you now in the hope of gaining another good customer.

A typical vemriculite pool bottom
just before the liner is installed.

If that fails, a listing of distributors throughout the country can be found at The Pool and Spa News Online Directory. The distributors usually will not sell direct, but they may tell you the name of a dealer near you who may.

And if that fails, try to see if you can find some vermiculite concrete aggregate at your local lumberyard or masonry yard (not one of the box stores like Home Depot or Lowes since they don’t carry perlite and vermiculite aggregates.)

Or, you can try local garden centers and/or greenhouses and see if they can get some fine grade vermiculite for you. The grades used for the horticultural industry range from a fine to an extra coarse, and for swimming pools you want the fine grade.

On the west coast, you will have a lot of trouble finding vermiculite. We recommend you try perlite concrete aggregate and just follow the directions we have for mixing and troweling V+16 Pool Base.

Unfortunately, manufacturers like The Schundler Company normally sell to distributors in our distribution area. As such, we really don’t know which local dealers or contractors have our materials or use them. And other manufacturers are the same.

We also aren’t set up to handle retail, to ship in small lots, or to have homeowners come to our plant to purchase material.

Nevertheless, if all else fails, we suggest you contact us or locate a vermiculite manufacturer near you.

If you want quite a few bags (4 cubic foot bags) of perlite or vermiculite, we suggest you contact your local garden center or greenhouse, and see if they can help. Don’t bother with the large box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart) since they often stock only small bags, and may not stock any vermiculite. Garden Centers and greenhouse operations purchase materials from distributors who do stock and carry large bags of perlite and vermiculite, and they might help you and/or sell you materials directly.

You can also try regional chains or farm stores like Agway, Pennington Seed, Southern States, etc.

Sometimes products like our Soilac (for use in outdoor gardens and for landscaping) simply are not available from horticultural distributors. For these grades of perlite, you might want to contact local masonry supply stores and ask for perlite (NOT vermiculite) masonry wall, loose fill insulation. It’s usually dusty, gritty, and just what you want for your garden (the fine particles keep the clay loam soils from compacting, and hold significant amounts of water.)

Again, if all else fails, then contact a local manufacturer. There are a lot more perlite manufacturers than vermiculite manufacturers, and the perlite producers can be found at The Perlite Institute. Unfortunately, there is not a readily available listing of vermiculite manufacturers since the Vermiculite Association membership is mostly mining companies and consultants, and most of the major manufacturers in both the United States and Europe are not members.

For lab packing grades of vermiculite, industrial grades of perlite or vermiculite, and any other uses, feel free to contact us (email: [email protected]) or a manufacturer close to you.

Vermiculite: A General Overview

Essentially vermiculite is a member of the phyllosilicate group of minerals, resembling mica in appearance. It is found in various parts of the world, but currently the major mines are located in South Africa, China, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and the United States. The largest operating mines today are located in the Palabora region of North-Eastern Transvaal in South Africa, in the northwestern corners of China, and along the eastern Appalachian range in the United States (Virginia and South Carolina). The vermiculite ores from these mines are different forms of hydrated phlogopite or biotite mica which has the remarkable ability of being able to expand to many times its original volume when heated—a property known as exfoliation.

From a geological perspective, almost all of the commercial vermiculite mines operating today work in deposits which were formed in pre-Cambrian and Archean deposits (1.5-3.0 billion years old). These are quite different from the former Libby, Montana deposit which was Triassic in age (225 million years old).

Recently there has been a lot of confusion about vermiculite and asbestos. To read more about vermicuilte, about its many uses, and or to read some of the many reports on vermiculite, go to:

TYPICAL PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

Color
Free Moisture, Maximum
pH (of water slurry)
Specific Gravity
Expanded Bulk Density (normal)
Mesh Sizes (normal)
Fusion Point
Specific Heat
Thermal Conductivity

3
2-40 mesh and finer
2200-2400F
1.08 kJ/kg . K
.27-.41 BTU . in/h . ft 2 . F

TYPICAL SIZES, DENSITIES, AND NAMES
OF EXPANDED VERMICULITE
1

  • These sizes and values are given for general information purposes only. All manufacturers do not necessarily produce all these grades, and many use grades which may not conform to these specifications at all times.
  • We hope this page has helped! And please recommend links, or make other suggestions that will make purchasing vermiculite easier for others!

    A guide on how and wehre to purchase vermiculite in the United States and other parts of the world with links, basic information, and suggestions.

    The Pros and Cons of Vermiculite

    I have always thought vermiculite was the most marvelous natural material. Besides, it’s all organic and is a perfect addition to any good potting soil. If you’ve read my books, you know why I don’t like perlite, which most commercial potting soils use because it doesn’t crush in shipping as much as vermiculite does and it is much cheaper. But I’m willing to pay the extra price and I particularly like the coarser size. It comes in fine, medium, and coarse. The only problem with vermiculite is that is very difficult to find in the home gardening market place. Most of the nurseries and big box stores do not carry it and you have to do a lot of phoning ahead (please to not drive all over town looking for it).

    As you probably know it holds water yet drains when it’s filled, just like a sponge does. The plant roots grow around the particles and take in whatever moisture they need and since the particles of vermiculite take a long time to dry out, moisture is always there for the plant enabling it to grow quicker and more healthy.

    We are trying very hard to distribute our Mel’s Mix in a bag, hopefully available in all nurseries and big box stores soon. Of course in business soon can mean any number of years. It’s very difficult to get a new product into the big box stores. But we are partially successful now and hopefully on the road to everywhere.

    For those who still want to mix their own Mel’s Mix, we are looking into having bags of the coarse grade vermiculite available for shipping right to your door. We are making arrangements with several manufacturers located all around the country to do that shipping for us which will cut the cost down considerably.

    19 Comments

    Agway has been a pretty consistent supply of vermiculite in the northeast.

    Thank you greatly for this information. Can you tell me just a few more details. For example, do you know what they charge for it? Is it a coarse grade and what size bag does it come in?

    If you have a bag or happen to be in a store soon, can you write down who the manufacturer is and their address if it is listed, so I can get in touch with them?

    FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR COARSE VERMICULITE, PLEASE CALL YOUR LOCAL AGWAY STORE listed in the phonebook or google them (http://www.agway.com/store_locator.html). Then hopefully this will get more stores and sale outlets to carry vermiculite so we wouldn’t have so much trouble finding it.

    Happy Gardening,
    Mel

    If I would like to get started with my garden, what do you suggest as an alternative to the vermiculite? Thank you in advance for your reply.

    Not a very good alternate. Have you read the book? I explain all the advantages of vermiculite and I relate all the past concerns and I tell you why it is the best to use, especially the coarse grade.

    You didn’t tell me why you want an alternate, so I can’t really answer your question. I also mention in the book why I don’t like what some people use as an alternate, so please get back to me with your specifics so I can properly answer your question. Thank you for writing.

    Best Wishes,
    Mel

    Mel,
    I need help. We’ve used the 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 peat moss but my garden in not flourishing. What else do you recommend? Should I use a special fertilizer beside Miracle Grow?

    Sorry to hear that your garden is not doing well. We need to find out some more information in order to help you. Can you tell me the size, price and manufacturer of each of the ingredients that you used. Did you buy your peat moss compressed or loose in a bag? Keep in mind that a bale of 3.9 cu. ft. peat moss is compressed and will expand to almost 7 cu. ft. when opened.

    It is like when you go to the doctor and tell him “I am eating my veggies and fruit like you told me to, but it is not working…what’s wrong?”.

    I will also ask a representative from Gro-Wel to contact you to help figure out what might be happening. He will want to know what size boxes you used, did you put weed fabric down or plastic? What plants and seeds did you plant and how they are doing exactly. Also, have you a getting a lot of rain and are your neighbors gardens doing any better? We need a little more description than they are not doing very well.

    Best Wishes,
    Mel

    Part of the main reason why your garden did not do that well is most likely because of Miracle-Gro. It kills the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. It is one of the worst fertilizers one could buy. I highly suggest that you check this guy out and watch his videos. http://m.youtube.com/user/growingyourgreens He is like the garden guru.

    Mel, the vermiculite that I found in 4 cu. ft. bags(Palmetto Vermiculite Co.) did not say “organic” or
    “asbestos free”. Do I need to be concerned?

    Martin’s Nursery in Greenville, SC has vermiculite in the small bags (8 dry quarts). It is organic but how would I mix that in my 4′ by 4″ garden in proportion to the other ingredients? How much of the dry quarts vermiculite do I need for a square 4′ by 4′ garden plot?

    I would say that the 4 cu. ft. bag, if it is coarse grade, is your best bet. All vermiculite today is inspected and tested and approved by the government for asbestos free. You didn’t mention what grade it is. I would hope it would be coarse grade. Many of the bags are medium grade, which I would not recommend. Can you also tell me the price they are charging?

    Most Home Depot have a 2 cu. ft. of medium grade vermiculite for $21 per bag. It’s hard to find the coarse grade, which I recommend. So we here at the SFG Foundation have decided to locate and stock 2 cu. ft. bags of the finest coarse grade I could find and we are going to match Home Depot’s price.

    If you would wait just a day or so, we are preparing our ordering information on our .com store site. You will be able to order directly from us, sent by post office, parcel post, directly to your door. As soon as the announcement is added to our website, I will copy it and send it directly to you.

    I would not use the 8 quart size as I’m sure it’s expensive and will not be the coarse grade. That’s usually a fine grade used for seeds starting. Our 2 cu. ft. bags will be shipped out of Columbia, SC, so if you are anywhere close, you can actually pick them up and save the shipping charge. If that is possible, please get back to me ASAP and I will send you the address and pickup information. I hope that gives you a solution to your problem.

    Best Wishes,
    Mel

    We have found vermiculite in medium in our home depot. They only have 8 bags each, but it can also be ordered online and delivered to the store> Here’s what we get:
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/THERMOROCK-2-cu-ft-Medium-Grade-Vermiculite-489702/202187625#.UfrKuG1FZzI

    You are absolutely right, but I do not recommend the medium grade. I’m going to attach right here the letter I just wrote to Bob in Florida explaining how we are going to offer the best coarse grade vermiculite I could find on our SFG store. And the best news is that we are going to match Home Depot’s price, but give a superior product.

    Your are absolutely right and I missed that one. Home Depot has always carried 4 cu. ft. bags of coarse for $24. That’s what fooled me and without looking closely at this year’s bags, I erroneously assumed, which is a bad thing to do, and especially since they were from the same manufacturer and colored bag as last year, that it was still 4 cu. ft. bags and thinking they reduced the price.

    Foolish me, the price never goes down does it? But now they’ve almost doubled the price and not even offering the coarse variety, which is more expensive. So we have decided to locate and add to our SFG .com store the very finest, coarse grade 2 cu. ft. bags and we are going to match Home Depot’s price of $20.97 per bag. Even though the coarse grade cost more. I hope that would help you and that you’ll be able to order directly from us.

    Bob we’re working on the addition for the ordering of the new vermiculite bags to our store and it should be ready in just a day or two. I will save your address and send you a copy as soon as it’s ready if you decide to order directly from the foundation. That way you will have the best and finest coarse grade I could personally find and it will be shipped right to your front door. In addition we are going to offer a $5 credit towards shipping. We will stay in touch.

    I will send you an announcement in the next day or two, as soon as it’s ready. I hope that solves your situation. If you have already ordered from Home Depot, it’s possible to cancel that order or even return it to your local store, if they allow it.

    Best Wishes,
    Mel

    I recently saw Vermiculite in Home Depot! I was very surprised after reading it was very hard to find (and in early planting season, called around everywhere to find it, but did not call Home Depot, assuming they definitely would not have it- ha!). I actually should go snag some, in hopes it is still in stock.

    I’m a newby at SFGing and planted my first spring crop this year, with no yield. I planted a fall crop today. We will see!

    There’s a lot of things happening at Home Depot and they have switched from the desired coarse grade vermiculite to the less expensive medium grade, which I do not recommend. To solve this dilemma, we have decided to find and offer the best coarse grade and add it to our SFG .com store. To explain all the details, I’m attaching to this letter a copy of our letters to Willow in VI and Bob in FL that will explain everything you need to know. The last 5 letters we’ve received were all about vermiculite, so we think this is the right step for our company to take.

    You are absolutely right, but I do not recommend the medium grade. I’m going to attach right here the letter I just wrote to Bob in Florida explaining how we are going to offer the best coarse grade vermiculite I could find on our SFG store. And the best news is that we are going to match Home Depot’s price, but give a superior product.

    Your are absolutely right and I missed that one. Home Depot has always carried 4 cu. ft. bags of coarse for $24. That’s what fooled me and without looking closely at this year’s bags, I erroneously assumed, which is a bad thing to do, and especially since they were from the same manufacturer and colored bag as last year, that it was still 4 cu. ft. bags and thinking they reduced the price.

    Foolish me, the price never goes down does it? But now they’ve almost doubled the price and not even offering the coarse variety, which is more expensive. So we have decided to locate and add to our SFG .com store the very finest, coarse grade 2 cu. ft. bags and we are going to match Home Depot’s price of $20.97 per bag. Even though the coarse grade cost more. I hope that would help you and that you’ll be able to order directly from us.

    Bob we’re working on the addition for the ordering of the new vermiculite bags to our store and it should be ready in just a day or two. I will save your address and send you a copy as soon as it’s ready if you decide to order directly from the foundation. That way you will have the best and finest coarse grade I could personally find and it will be shipped right to your front door. In addition we are going to offer a $5 credit towards shipping. We will stay in touch.

    Best Wishes,
    Mel

    I will send you an announcement in the next day or two, as soon as it’s ready. I hope that solves your situation. If you have already ordered from Home Depot, it’s possible to cancel that order or even return it to your local store, if they allow it.

    The Pros and Cons of Vermiculite I have always thought vermiculite was the most marvelous natural material. Besides, it’s all organic and is a perfect addition to any good potting soil. If you’ve