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Old 06-18-2011, 03:17 PM
Laborer
 
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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Default Insulating slab question

I finished my structural layer and poured my insulating layer using about 4 parts vermiculite and perlite to 1 part portland cement... no other aggregates. It is only a day since the pour, but it seems like I could easily a knife through it. In other words it more resembles hard sand, than cement. Is that normal? What should this layer feel like?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:27 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Insulating slab question

Quote:
Originally Posted by cholme View Post
I finished my structural layer and poured my insulating layer using about 4 parts vermiculite and perlite to 1 part portland cement... no other aggregates. It is only a day since the pour, but it seems like I could easily a knife through it. In other words it more resembles hard sand, than cement. Is that normal? What should this layer feel like?

Thanks in advance.
Your description and concern are common threads here.

The vermicrete will support a lot of weight, despite its crumbliness. Give it a couple more days and you should be ready to start
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Insulating slab question

You can increase the strength of the insulating slab by adding sand to the mix, but you also reduce the insulating value. The 5:1 mix has been proved to have adequate strength, so it's best to stick to the plan.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: Insulating slab question

LeeB pretty much covers it. It will have very good compression strength, but always (even when fully cured) remain crumbly. Give it a full week to cure if you still have an uneasy feeling, it will be hard then (but still crumbly).
Don't let the rain get to it, you wil have a runny oatmeal mess if you do...its far from weatherproof and absorbs water better than a sponge.

RT
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Old 06-19-2011, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Insulating slab question

As for any portland based material, after the initial set (10-12 hrs), keep it wet for at least 7 days. If you inadvertently allowed it to dry out, you may have to rip it out and re-pour.

Last edited by Neil2; 06-19-2011 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Insulating slab question

Mine was "crumbly" for days. But I kept it covered, and voila! a week later, it had the consistency of styrofoam. Yes, I could dig at it if I wanted, but it was pretty solid.

Just layered some on top of my dome. Perfect curing conditions - the oven is under a canopy, but it's going to be raining for the next few days (100% humidity).
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