Source for Coarse Vermiculite and Expanded Shale

bret_in_houston(z8 TX)March 27, 2006

I am attempting to find a source or sources for Coarse Vermiculite and Expanded Shale in the Houston, TX area. I have a Pickup and will travel a reasonable distance. Any help would be appreciated.

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graydawn

I buy vermiculite at Home Depot.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 4:11PM
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Jacque_E_TX(Z 8a N Cent TX)

I get expanded shale from an upscale plant nursery in Dallas. The shale is a solid rock, so it will outlast generations of gardeners. The coarse vermiculite has to be replaced because the fragile mica breaks up.

Fine vermiculite is still great stuff for starting many seeds and keeping carrot seeds moist for the 2 weeks before they "hatch," heh.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 11:03AM
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frugal_gary(alvin tx)

Try CJM Soil Supermarket in Richmond for expanded shale, I think they have a location on I 10 west in Houston also. I saw thier name on TXI's website for bulk products. Please tell us what you find.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 4:13PM
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reptilegrrl(z9 Houston)

I get coarse vermiculite from Southest Fertilizer- yardgeek.com is their site. They are at 5828 Bissonnet.

this is the only place in Houston that I could find coarse verm last year!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 4:33AM
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bluejean(z6 OH)

I have been looking for Vermiculite and/or Expanded Shale as well. I am in the Cincinnati area. Our homedepot and lowes don't have any yet. I have seen on here where people have bought it from concrete suppliers before. Any thoughts on that? Our bed is quite deep (2foot) and will require a lot! Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 9:07AM
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mimo777

Any ideas for vermiculite in NJ? I am outside of Atlantic City.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 3:03PM
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bluejean(z6 OH)

Woohoo.. I have been on the phone for the past 2 hours calling everyone and anyone with any connection to Vermiculite and have finally scored big! woohoo! I finally called the small garden center down the road (after trying building suppliers and the such) and the guy there said he would sell me some pretty big bags for only $10/ bag. I haven't seen them yet.. but I plan to go and pick them up after work tonight. Such a nice guy too... living in the country sure does have its benefits!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 11:36AM
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tiarnna(z5 WA)

Wow....... $10/bag would have me green with envy.....or else I got taken. LOL I had to order it from our feed store. HD wouldn't, and Ace Hardware said they had no source.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 9:51PM
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bluejean(z6 OH)

I don't think you got taken. My area is very rural and the people just bend over backwards to help eachother out. It is a unique culture I have only seen in one other area in my life. I told them what I was trying to do and asked for suggestions and luckily he was able to help me out. Apparently though I could have got the same product from a building supplier locally for only $8.00 bag.. but the guy there didn't know if it was safe for horticultural use. but, now I know where to go for my next bed(s)!

I am just so excited I can already taste my first tomato! Yummy!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 2:54PM
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tekneek74

I have been searching the Internet tonight trying to find a source for vermiculite, since we were just turned onto square foot gardening via a show our TiVo caught on BYU the other day.

I found it at http://homeharvest.com/soilamendmentsperlitevermiculite.htm and the prices seem quite reasonable. Has anyone tried them or notice any problems with their product?

We are in Bethlehem, GA (about 17-20 miles from west of Athens, GA), so if anyone knows of stores local to us (even including the Atlanta metro area), please let us know.

Here is a link that might be useful: Source for Schundler Coarse Horticultural Vermiculite

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 11:03PM
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dahlkdg

Coarse vermiculite is used to ship liquids that may spill and need to be soaked up. A good source for vermiculite is from shipping materials companies. I picked up two bags of 4 cu. ft. grade 4 (coarse) at Uline (www.uline.com, search for 'vermiculite' on their website). They have locations in Chicago (my area), Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia/NYC, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Not the cheapest, but certainly convenient.

Here is a link that might be useful: Uline

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 5:02PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Often available at Hydroponic supply stores too.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 5:06PM
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linderbean

anyone know where someone from the chicagoland area can get expanded shale?? [crossing fingers...]

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 2:33PM
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dirt_tracker(8A/B-AL)

linderbean, I've been looking for the same down here in Alabama. What I've found is that it is used in the cement/concrete industry and is often referred to as "lightweight"...beware though...there are several items in the industry that is referred like that, such as a clay lightweight and some synthetics. Also, I believe I read where there is also a "treated" expanded shale.

The expanded shale that we are interested in is often used in cement/concrete mixes where the engineer's design is for lightening the structure.

You might call around to some of the cement companies and explain which "lightweight" you are looking for (untreated expanded shale)...and what you want to use it for.

Best wishes,
Ed
South Central Alabama

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 5:22PM
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mbat(6)

I was able to get vermiculite at our local Agway store -- $16 per bag -- about 3.5 cu. feet.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 4:22PM
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acinorev07

I found coarse vermiculite in Cranbury, NJ at DG Supplies. They sell it online too, but I picked it up from their store so I do not know how much shipping is. The 3 cu ft box is $16.50 and the 1 cu ft bag is $5.50. Very reasonable, considering a nearby nursery was selling it for $9.50 per 18 qt bag (1 cu ft is 32 quarts).

The key to finding it online is to search for Grade 4 or Coarse vermiculite. That's how I found this supplier, after looking for 3 days.

Here is a link that might be useful: DG Supplies

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 10:21PM
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pieheart(6)

Anyone know where to find vermiculite in NWNJ? I can't find it locally anywhere..........I've checked HD, Lowes, and the few local nurseries that are left and might stock it. All the perlite you could desire, but vermiculite is in tiny bags and very expensive. I'd rather buy it in person, not online.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 11:15PM
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jmaellis

Vermiculite and Perlite can be very expensive. I did a lot of searching around for the best price; both locally and on the internet. The best price I found was at a local nursery ... 3.5 cu. ft. of Vermiculite or Perlite for $20.

Wal-Mart sells 8 quart bags of Perlite for $3.00 each. That equates to approximatley $10 per cu. ft. so the bulk product from the nursery is acutally quite a bargain (surprising, to me anyway).

I searched around in the garden centers at HD, OSH and the like. They only sell the smaller 4 or 8 quart bags and when added up, the prices are worse than the Wal-Mart price.

jmaellis-sfg.blogspot.com

Here is a link that might be useful: My SFG blog

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 2:24PM
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pieheart(6)

I'm confused, I was told by my local nursery that vermiculite and perlite were NOT interchangeable. Is that true? Because I can find huge bags of perlite locally.

But no one carries the vermiculite. How I miss the mom and pop hardware stores we used to have----they had just about everything you could want, or knew where you could get it. Now we just have HD or Lowes, good for some things, but not good if you want something out of the ordinary.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 8:10PM
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jmaellis

If I recall correctly, in Mel's SFG book he says that Perlite or Vermiculite can be used ... he just prefers Vermiculite.

Here is a link that might be useful: My SFG Blog

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:40PM
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polarbear_ca

Both perlite and vermiculite ores are expanded by heating them to over 850 Celcius and letting them expand and "pop" like popcorn (trapped moisture escapes when heated to a softened state).

Vermiculite holds moisture like a sponge. It helps make spaces in the soil as well and improves the moisture-holding of sandy soil and the heaviness of clay soil, It is derived from a form of mica-like rock.

Perlite is a form of volcanic glass. It makes spaces in the soil and therefore also helps break up clayey/dense soils. It does hold moisture, but not as much as vermiculite (something like 10-15% less water is held in the same volume of Perlite). Perlite is about 6% better as an insulator, however, and it is cheaper.

Their properties are similar but not identical. I believe vermiculite has a higher pH slightly and will tend to have a slightly alkylyzing effect. Perlite tends to "rise" through the soil and float on top, while vermiculite does not.

I believe on the official square foot gardening page the book author says specifically he doesn't like the look or feel of Perlite and that is why he does not use it. So, if you absolutely can't find vermiculite (which there is a lot of unjustified hysteria about in some areas, explaining why some stores will not have it) you can probably substitute Perlite.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 1:21AM
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appmy

i am compiling a list on my site for sources of vermiculite. We have about a half dozen confirmed sources around the country. If you know of one please post a comment on the page and I will keep a list updated. I'll post a link below of what I have so far and you can add to it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sources of Vermiculite

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 11:27PM
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compostguy(dallas)

You can find expanded shale in Dallas at Soil Building Systems. They sell it by the bag and in bulk at the cheapest prices I've been able to find. Check it out - www.soilbuildingsystems.com

Here is a link that might be useful: SoilBuildingSystems

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 11:08AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Actually, the SFG book says that Perilite is not a good substitute for vermiculite. It apparently rises to the surface over time (unlike vermiculite) and therefore shouldn't be used.

I need to do more calling around myself. I can get a 3.5 cubic feet bag of "certified asbestos free" vermiculite for $28 at my local nursery. I hope I can find it cheaper after reading this and other posts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's gardening adventure

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:17PM
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cowboymc

I found a great deal in my area. Company is W H Milikowski, 42 Colonia Dr, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Phone: 1-866-465-9004 1 bag 4 cu ft of coarse vermiculite for $13.15. IÂm done searching. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 2:11PM
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veganmom30

I've gone the HomeHarvest.com route and did fine with it.

HTH!
V.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 10:07PM
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malkiri

I found the 4 cu ft bags of coarse vermiculite in the Raleigh, NC area at LoganÂs Trading Company, for $22 each. http://www.logantrd.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Logan's Trading Company

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:19AM
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ggarrett

You can get it at Jimbo's Wholesale Nursery in Santa Fe. 4 cu ft bags of course vermiculite for $15.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:22PM
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jcoenen

My local Menards has a 3.5 cu ft bag for $8.99. It is in the insulation section.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 4:06PM
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JJezier_swbell_net

Living Earth Technology http://www.livingearth.net/
has several locations in the DFW metroplex as well as Houston area. They carry expanded Shale in bulk at the sites. They also offer many of their products in bags. The bagged goods are not always carried at the yards so if you are looking for the bagged goods call ahead. In the Dallas and mid-cities area, Redentas carries their products in bags.

Here is a link that might be useful: Living Earth Technology

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 5:23PM
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twatters

Call swimming pool installers and ask where they get their course vermiculite for their "pool base". I was referred to a nearby lumber yard that stocked it solely for local swimming pool companies. It is attic insulation but as the lumber yard clerk said, "nobody uses this stuff for insulation anymore but we always stock it for the pool companies". Cost me $10.50 per 3.5 cu. ft. bag.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 9:47AM
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stevesj76

Has anyone found an expanded shale source in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle area)?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 6:26PM
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miss_ti(z10 SanFran)

Source for Vermiculite in Houston:
Vermiculite Products Inc.
3025 Maxroy St
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 869-6663
Kind of near Memorial area
$8 for a 4c.f. bag (grade 3, though, so almost as coarse as 4)
Note that they only accept cash or cheques. No credit cards.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vermiculite Products Inc. on Yelp

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 10:34AM
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aztcqn

Am looking for a source of expanded shale in Los Angeles. If anyone can point me in a direction, would most appreciate it.
Meantime am waiting for a call from Tru Gro rep for distributors.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 6:28PM
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magnetlady4u(7bVA)

If you go to www.squarefootgardening.com in the forums area they have listings for vermiculite. They are in the process of making a "directory" for locations. But you can just scroll through and maybe find your area.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 9:16PM
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cathy_reen_us

i am looking for a source for expanded shale in western new york,which includes Buffalo, lancaster, amherst etc.i need to add to my clay soil this year.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 5:05PM
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coppercurls

If anyone is looking for vermiculite in the NW Arkansas area, I found 4 cubic foot bags at Nitron Industries in Johnson, AR.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 5:56PM
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tessanoel1999_yahoo_com

I've found expanded shale at Calloways here in NDFW. 9.99 for a 40 lb. bag. My question, can I use the shale instead of vermiculite?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 3:19PM
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tessa74(8)

found my answer. it is YES!! Yippee!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 3:48PM
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mctoon

I found bulk expanded shale in Minneapolis for $71 per cubic yard. It's bulk so you need a truck or trailer. That's $2.70 per cubic foot.

Note: 1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet = 202 gallons

Best vermiculite price I found locally was $15 for a 3 cubic foot bag, that's $5 per cubic foot.

This is the place:
http://www.cellularconcreteinc.com/Lightweight_Distributing.html

It took me a week to find it. 30 emails and 10 phone calls. The concrete industry isn't quite as internet savvy as other industries.

To help those looking for your own local supplier. Lookup a somewhat local manufacturer on the industry web page:
http://www.escsi.org/Default.aspx

Then see if they list distributors. I called a few to get someone to mention the name of a guy locally.

I have a feeling it's in every major metro area, it is heavily used in construction.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 12:51AM
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