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Vermiculite or Pearlite??? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Vermiculite or Pearlite???

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  • Vermiculite or Pearlite???

    Anyone have a preference or know which does a better job insulating when being used dry (i.e. not mixed into cement...just poured into the airspace around the oven)?

    I'm finishing the outside today and am putting a cage over the top with about a three inch airspace above the ceramic blanket. I also have some voids on each side of the entry area. So I'm filling that with loose insulation.

    I was just at the garden supply place and they had both pearlite and vermiculite. 4 cubic feet of pearlite for twenty-two dollars...or 3.5 cubic feet of Vermiculite for thirty five dollars. The pearlite looks like it would trap more air and I liked the size of the individual particles better. So that's what I went with. Three bags totalling 12 cubic feet.

    It seems like the vermiculite would hold up better if I were mixing it wih portland to make vermicucrete, but used dry I went with pearlite. Anyone have any experience or thoughts?


  • #2
    Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

    Loose or mixed with portland cement, either will do the job. Go with what ever is cheaper.


    • #3
      Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

      Thanks Neil. I guess I should have done a search. It looks like there about fifteen threads.

      The seaches I have done seem to indicate that Perlite is a marginally better insulator than vermiculite, but close enough that t doesn't matter and (as noted above) close enough that the cheaper one is probably the best choice. It looks like perlite is usually the cheaper.



      • #4
        Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

        Probably a bit late at this point but there is a place called American Horticultural Supply (I think they are up that way too) and a 6 cf bag of Perlite is $20... cheapest I had found or even heard of on here. One caveat- they say they are wholesale only and have a minimum BUT, as one would expect in our economic climate, you walk in ready to buy and I have bought as little as 1 bag from them....

        FYI...Vermiculite in a 6cfr bag is $38.


        • #5
          Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

          I think vermiculite is a little close to asbestos chemically so I'd go pearlite but I'm sure there are others who know more about this than me


          • #6
            Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

            Perlite is a better insulator dry than vermiculite, but once you start mixing cement with it the result is almost the same. I'd be going for perlite if added dry.
            Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


            • #7
              Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

              "I think vermiculite is a little close to asbestos chemically.."

              Not at all related.


              • #8
                Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

                Yeah..I think saying vermiculite and asbestos are related is like saying tuna and dolphins are related...from what I understand they occur in the same natural environment so when one was mined the other was present...until "they" found out asbestos could make the lawyers A LOT of money.... Uhhhh, I mean was dangerous, "they" found a way to isolate the vermiculite...


                • #9
                  Re: Vermiculite or Pearlite???

                  The issue with Vermiculite and Asbestos is an often confused one - usually people say vermiculite CONTAINS asbestos though...

                  A few years ago, a few of the vermiculite quarries were found to contain asbestos as well; thus a lot of the vermiculite on the market also contained asbestos. If you are re-using old vermiculite, there is a chance it contains asbestos - yes.

                  That said, if you're buying new vermiculite, unless you are being sold 30-year old stock, it will have no asbestos in it.

                  Oddly, pearlite is in a similar situation... but people rarely quote perlite as having asbestos in it...