Perlite and Vermiculite: Lightweight Aggregates in Gypsum

Decorative Stucco

The most common types of plaster are lime, concrete, and gypsum. They share some characteristics, but what makes them different helps determine which is best for your application. In many cases, weight is the deal-breaker, and you don’t have to have experience in the construction industry to know lime and concrete are heavy. That’s where gypsum plaster comes in.

What Is Gypsum Plaster?

Gypsum plaster is a replacement for its predecessor, sand cement plaster, that was time-consuming and expensive. It is known for being lightweight and has been used for centuries in the construction industry to create smooth lines and leveled walls.

Benefits of Gypsum Plaster over Other Plasters

  • Faster construction
  • Less water curing
  • Eliminates shrinkage cracks
  • Lightweight
  • Insulative for temperature control

Why Mineral Aggregates Work

Perlite and vermiculite are lightweight, making them valuable for this application. They each also have their own unique properties that improve gypsum plaster.


Perlite is one of nature’s most versatile and efficient minerals, formed by volcanic glass. Over time, and during formation and cooling, water is absorbed into the raw perlite ore matrix, giving perlite its unique ability to expand when heated. It’s best qualities include:

  • Lightweight
  • Free of organic contaminants
  • Insulating
  • Fireproof
  • Pest-proof


Vermiculite is a hydrated magnesium aluminum sheet silicate mineral. When subjected to heat, vermiculite expands and forms particles that are revered for being:

  • Lightweight
  • Incombustible
  • Compressible
  • Highly absorbent, soaking up to three times its volume in water
  • Non-reactive
  • Highly effective in cation exchange capacity

Switch to a Lighter Plaster Today

The mineral professionals at Dicalite Management Group are ready to lighten your workload with help from perlite and vermiculite. Our sales representatives work closely with our technical services team to ensure you’re receiving the right product for your application. Give us a call at 866-728-3303 to learn more and place your order today.

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Our blog offers insight and information about new and exciting uses for perlite, diatomaceous earth, and vermiculite deriving from years of research and application. From passive fire resistance to mineral depth filtration, by subscribing to our mailing list, you will receive the latest information surrounding the Dicalite, Dicaperl, and Specialty Vermiculite brands and products.

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