Owner- Kevin Davis- (541) 365-0925
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Summer Loading Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-4:30pm
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Sun: Call for appointment (541) 480-1577
All About Pumice
*The Answers You Need*
While working with customers, we’re constantly learning about their needs and managing inquiries that arise. As a result, we’ve included a list of frequently asked questions along with answers in order to provide additional support. If your question isn’t addressed below, get in touch with us and we’ll provide the information you need.
Pumice has a chemical composition similar to that of obsidian, or volcanic glass. It has very thin, translucent bubble walls of extrusive igneous rock. Pumice stones as used in beauty salons are generally high in silica and low in iron and magnesium.
Pumice is very lightweight. This is due to the air bubbles in it, created as gasses departed during the formation process. Pumice stones vary in density, according to the thickness of the solid material between the bubbles. Average porosity is 90 percent, which is extremely high for a rock material.
Pumice stones are so lightweight they will usually float on water for a time, before eventually sinking once becoming waterlogged. Large rafts of pumice have been known to float through oceans for decades after volcanic eruptions.
Pumice stones are abrasive, which is why they are good at removing dry skin and calluses from the feet. Pumice is also used as an abrasive in polishes, pencil erasers, cosmetic exfoliants and the production of printed circuit boards.
Pumice is commonly pale in color, ranging from white, cream, blue or grey, to green-brown or black. Pumice stones found at beauty salons or in pharmacies are generally light gray in color.
Pumice is widely used to make lightweight concrete or insulative low-density cinder blocks. When used as an additive for cement, a fine-grained version of pumicecalled pozzolan is mixed with lime to form a light-weight, smooth, plaster-like concrete. This form of concrete was used as far back as Roman times.
Pumice is a type of volcanic rock consisting of mostly silicon dioxide and aluminum oxide with small amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Readily available and relatively cheap in most of the Western United States, the porous nature of pumice particles improves aeration porosity but also retains some water within the pores. Pumice is the most durable of the inorganic components and so resists compaction.
Landscaping Mulches with Pumice Stone. Coarse-grind pumice makes an excellent and attractive mulch for flower and shrubbery beds. The soil beneath the mulch stays moist longer and is less likely to compact from watering. Weed problems are minimized with a couple of inches of pumice mulch. Pumice does not break down, so does not need to be replaced. Our white pumice can also be color-dyed if necessary.
Pumice as a Packing Medium for storing and transporting tubers, roots and bulbs.
Specialty Growing Applications. Lightweight pumice is ideal for hydroponics, aquaponics, cutting propagation, and other high-efficiency soilless growing applications. We package and distribute a pumice grow media specifically for the soilless growing industry—Ponics Stone™ Grow Media (see left; linked).
Pumice as a Seed Coating. Seed coatings are necessary when the natural state of the seed needs improved so as to be more compatible with precision seeding equipment and practices. The customized seed coatings possible with pumice produce seeds that are ideal in size, weight, shape and uniformity. Because of the highly absorptive nature of pumice, a pumice-blended seed coating can also serve as a kick-start nutrient carrier. Once sown into the soil, pumice also works as a long-term soil conditioner.
Pumice as a Chemical-to-Soil Delivery Medium. Pumice is chemically inert and extremely absorbent, making it an ideal host for delivering useful agricultural chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers. And once pumice has given up its chemical rider, it remains to condition and improve the soil.
Ecology Embankments. Designed as an effective and affordable solution to filtering runoff water along roadways, ecology embankments that include pumice gain filtration performance as well as improved soil quality to support vegetation and biomass growth.
Pumice in Rooftop Gardens. A significant amount of the soil needed for rooftop gardening and green-roof applications can be replaced with lightweight pumice. Not only does pumice-soil cut the overall weight load on the roof system, pumice, as detailed above, provides real value to soil function as well.
Pumice Improves Compost. A blend of compost and pumice makes sense on two levels—pumice provides a buffer to the extreme volatilization taking place in the decomposing compost matter and then, once in the soil (as a part of the compost), the pumice provides long-term soil structure. The pumice also improves the moisture and nutrient-holding capability of the soil.
Pumice stone qualities are suitable for:
Production of lightweight structural elements (pumice concrete blocks)
Production of lightweight concrete
Insulations and floor fillings
LAVA pumice stone is a natural, chemically inert building material that combines several intriguing features:
Low density (600-800kg/m3) when the sample is dry;
Good compressive strength and satisfactory elasticity;
Good thermal and noise insulating properties;
A porous structure with low permeability;
LAVA pumice stone's extraordinary qualities have been utilised by numerous industries in the US, Europe, Middle East and Greece over several decades to produce high-quality building materials that comply with international regulations and meet contemporary building requirements.
Pumice stone building products have the following advantages:
Excellent mechanical strength-to-weight ratio;
Although approximately 30% lighter than traditional concrete, pumice stone features high strength values with significant benefits for the structure's cost-efficiency and behaviour (reduced dead loads and transportation cost).
All types of lightweight concretes can be manufactured by altering the pumice stone's granularity and the concrete's composition:
Structural: Compressive strength > 15 Mpa, Density < 2000 Kg/m3
Structural and thermal-insulating: Compressive strength > 3.5 Mpa, Density < 1400 Kg/m3
Thermal-insulating: Compressive strength 0,5 Mpa, Density < 1000 Kg/m3
Altering the composition of lightweight concrete, the element's geometry and pumice stone's granularity, we can produce building blocks for load-bearing or non-bearing masonry:
Compressive strength: 2,5-10 Mpa
Material density: 900-1400 Kg/m3
High thermal-insulating capacity
Thermal conductivity λ=0,22-0,33W/mK
Good sound dampening properties thanks to the pumice stone's porous texture that traps air, and high soundproofing-to-weight ratio
Pumice stone products are non-combustible and thus enhance the structure's fire resistance
Pumice stone products feature good seismic behaviour
Everyday Uses For Your Home and Body
Pumice is widely used as an abrasive in soaps and cleaners. It is considered one of the softest abrasives on earth. Pumice is safe to use on the body because it is a natural mineral and is non-toxic. It can be used to remove grime and dirt as well as to exfoliate the skin. Pumice is also used in its natural rock form to wear down calluses and remove dead skin on the feet and hands.
Pumice rocks are natural exfoliants that scrub away dead skin cells and smooth roughened or calloused body parts. Pumice rocks are commonly used on heels during foot baths or feet treatment. Pumice rocks are inexpensive, durable and easily sanitized -- one can be used by different people if they are cleaned properly. Ground pumice rock acts as a skin exfoliator in some facial and body scrubs. Adding pumice rock to hand soaps and scrubs reduces the amount of extra chemicals that are often added to cleaners to remove stains, grease or dirt.
Pumice rocks are ground into powdered form and then added to cleaning products to enhance cleaning and help create a polished appearance. In its powdered form and as an ingredient in cleaning products, pumice provides cleaners with the benefits of abrasion without scratching surfaces. Pumice powder is added to products that are used to clean finishing glass, metal and plastics.
Stone Washing Jeans
Pumice rocks can be used in jean production to give the pants a faded, worn-out look. When pumice rocks are added to wash cycles with the jeans, they remove a layer of the jeans, exposing some of its white threads. Stone washing jeans with pumice rocks is time consuming -- it may take several washes until the jeans achieve the desired appearance. Additionally, pumice rocks reduce the durability of the pants while producing results that are not uniform or consistent. Due to the large amount of water necessary to stone wash jeans with pumice rocks and the unpredictability of the amount of abrasion, many jean companies are using manufactured enzymes to create the same appearance.
De-Pill Your Clothing
Whether you're wearing your sweaters out in this cold weather or you live somewhere where the cold is a few months off, it's never too early to take care of your sweaters, jackets, and other pilled-up clothes. Thankfully, the perfect tool for the job may already be in your bathroom: a simple pumice stone.
Just lightly run the pumice stone along the outside of your shirts, jackets, sweaters, or even pants to quickly restore the surface to its former smooth glory. It only takes a few minutes!
Removing Pet Hair
Sometimes, a vacuum just won’t cut it for removing pet hair, especially in locations where it’s hard to get with a full-size cleaner. A simple pumice stone will do a remarkably good job at getting pet hair out of fabrics.
You can remove body hair with a pumice stone. Soak a pumice stone in warm water for about 5 minutes. Lather skin with soap. Gently rub the pumice stone on skin in small circular motions for 1-2 minutes. Rinse off the soap and dry skin. Be sure to use lotion after hair removal.
Who knew there were so many interesting uses for a pumice? And trust us, there are many more! Please call us with any questions you might have!