Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hydroton $90.00 / Cubic Yard!

Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA)
From what I can tell, Hydroton was developed for concrete.  Light weight concrete to fill in pot holes.   No kidding it replaces part of the sand aggregate in concrete.  Are you wondering why?  At this point I certainly was wondering why.  Here's the deal.  Concrete can be made very strong by providing a high slump (thick) mix with moisture as it cures.  Pre-moistened Hydroton is porous, and holds a lot of water.  Thus as the concrete cures the water is made available to the Portland cement, and the concrete cures at it's optimal strength.

Well get this!  A company in Texas created an Expanded Shale and Clay product for this very purpose.  The micro surface area is enormous!  Basically it's the same thing as Hydroton, so far as I can tell.

The difference is 89.20/Yard compared to $28.00/50 Litter.  Let me do the math... Oh forget the math you don't need no stinking math to realize this is CHEAP!

A company called TXI  sells Expanded Shale.  Texas Industries

From what I've read this material has all the same qualities as Hydroton.

Hydroton 50 Liters for $28.00
TXI Expanded Shale 1 Yard for 89,20

Interested in specifics?

I just spoke with Carol Philips who told me to call before coming to pick up the product.
Her number is 925-899-6213
The address in Stockton is 915 West Anderson Street, Stockton, CA
I believe this is  known as FTG Construction Material in Stockton.  At least they appear to share the same address and is associated with a trucking company.

I spoke to
Reggie 801 243 9348
at Ureilite in Nevada.  He directed me to Brown-Sand Incorporated also in Stockton.  While Brown-Sand does not stock expended shale they occasionally receive large shipments as special orders by rail.  They may be willing to sell extra material on hand, but once again calling ahead is recommended.

Brown-Sand Incorporated supplies golf course sand and pea gravel, topsoil, sports field mix, playground sand, base rock and environmental soil to developers
800 Mossdale Road  Lathrop, CA 95330

(209) 234-1500

I did the calculation... 1  litter = 0.00131 yards  and 50 liters = 0.0654 yards.  So 1 yard of Hydroton would cost $428.00

PS: Here's the bottom line -

"a porous, lightweight, chemically inert and hard material useful for many applications. Expanded shale is approximately half the weight of sand and gravel, which makes it easy to handle. It’s one of the best soil amendments because it will not decompose, float, or introduce foreign pathogens into your soils. It’s roughly the size of pea gravel and because of its porous nature, it has the ability to retain water and nutrients for use in the root zone. TruGro expanded shale is a valuable ingredient in rooftop garden mixes, landscape bedding mediums, potting soils, bonsai planting mixes, hydroponics, bio-filtration mediums and rain gardens."

Well, it must not be exactly like Hydroton because it says it will not float.  To me that is a big advantage because Hydroton often floats and that causes problems for me.

Also read


  1. hey bob I've been following you for a couple of months one thing I gotta say is make sure it's PH neutral. I'm sure it is considering it's used as a soil amendment. but you never know.
    Johnny Good Faith's Aquaponics

    1. I agree with you. I just wrote a post where I said the same thing. When things go bad where do we look?... PH and if the media is not PH neutral and without buffering we may find ourselves battling an invisible demon.

      The literature says it's neutral so I'm good with it. It's a 5 hour drive to Stockton and back, but I will be making the trip as soon as I can. My analysis and review will be forthcoming.