Applications for Pumice

By virtue of its spectacular origin, resulting in a unique set of physical and chemical characteristics, pumice is a truly versatile and valuable industrial and agricultural performer. Though found in abundance worldwide, there are only a few commercial pumice deposits that are of the purity, hardness, brightness and chemical composition necessary to be of wide value to industry. Of course, the expertise with which it is mined and refined and the ability to deliver it where it needs to be—on spec and on time—completes that value equation.

Hess Pumice Products sources a pumice deposit in demand worldwide, and supplies that pumice to a variety of industries for a variety of uses, refined and graded to meet over 300 different specs. We’ve been in the business of pumice for over 50 years, and, quite frankly, we’re very good at it.

Using Pumice in Concrete

•Decorative Precast Concrete. Manufactured (man-made) stone veneer is an enduringly popular exterior and interior finish that imparts the sculpted durability and beauty of stone finishes without the cost and the weight of natural, hand-cut rock. Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels and products provide beautiful and cost-effective finishes for buildings. Pumice is the key ingredient to these lightweight decorative construction materials. [ MORE ]

•Lightweight, Insulating Pumice Concrete. Pumice aggregate concrete has several advantages over conventional concrete in many construction applications. Most significant of these is its unique lightweight quality. Other key factors such as workability, resistance to harsh weather conditions, and a high R-value, make pumice concrete the choice for demanding structure construction needs. [ MORE ]

Pumice Pozzolan Improves Concrete Performance

•Mitigate Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR). In regions of the world with reactive aggregate, ASR is a relentless concrete assassin, causing a slow-motion explosion that shatters concrete from within, bringing about the expense of replacement well before the structure's engineered lifespan. Pumice mitigates or eliminates ASR. [ MORE ]

•Concrete for Infrastructure and Buildings. Hess is leading the renaissance of pumice pozzolan concrete. The Romans discovered the amazing improvements in longevity and performance imparted to concrete by the addition of fine-grained pumice (evidenced by their still-standing concrete structures). Today, HessPozz fortifies modern high-performance concretes, but even better! Current research shows the clear advantages and super-charging properties imparted by HessPozz and Hess UltraPozz in modern concrete formulations. An added bonus, both in terms of cost and reducing concrete's carbon footprint, is that pumice pozzolan can replace a portion of the Portland cement (up to 50%) in the mix design. [ MORE ]

•Structural Precast Concrete. For critical-component precast concrete applications, Hess UltraPozz imparts category-leading results in every essential concrete-performance quantification. [ MORE ]

Polishing, Abrasive and Exfoliating Applications for Pumice

Hess Pumice is used extensively worldwide for crucial surface finishing processes—the friable pumice particles fracture and remain sharp-edged when processed to even a sub-micron size—making pumice ideal for use as a mild abrasive for finishing glass, metal, wood, leather, and plastics. It also makes an excellent tumbling media for anything from small parts like buttons to textiles—like stone-washed denim. [ MORE ]

Pumice is a non-botanical, sustainable, gentle exfoliant that has been used successfully for years in cosmetics and personal care products like exfoliating scrubs, heavy-duty hand soaps, and dental polishing compounds. [ MORE ]

Pumice Filtration Media

A growing body of research has shown pumice to be an effective filtering media for drinking water. The foamy structure and near-white purity of Hess Pumice makes it ideal to capture and hold cyanobacterial toxins and other impurities found in fouled drinking water. [ MORE ]

The excellent filtration and absorption properties of pumice make it useful for other cleaning and filtering uses, such as purifying oils or removing odor.

Horticultural Applications for Pumice

Because of its highly porous nature, pumice holds water and air—both critical to well-conditioned, aerated soils. This makes Hess Pumice an excellent soil conditioner for use in potting media and garden soils—and even for critical and hard-used turf applications such as golf greens and sports fields. Reclamation sites, wetlands improvement projects, storm water control constructs and runoff-filtering ecology embankments—they too perform better with the addition of pumice. Because pumice is non-organic, it will not decompose or burn. Pumice is also pH neutral.

These same qualities make pumice a valuable component to the seed coatings industry as well—first as a chemical carrier, then as a functional soil amendment. [ MORE ]

Ponics Grow Media

Pumice is used to improve the growability of poor soils, and now, with the rising popularity of high-effeciency growth systems (especially aquaponic systems) our pumice stones provide a combination of benefits to high-efficiency soilless grow systems that no other grow media can: pH neutrality; an ideal balance between drainabilty, moisture retention and gas exchange in the root zone; a naturally porous structure excellent for bacteria / microbe colonization; the pumice grow media itself contributing directly to the nutritional needs of growing plants; no rinsing required—the clean, fine dust packaged with the grow media will readily disperse, delivering a quick nutrient charge to the system. [ MORE ]

Microfine (NCS) Filler and Extender

The non-crystalline silica nature of pumice, and near-white color of Hess pumice, coupled with its chemically and environmentally inert nature, makes it an appealing choice as a filler and extender. Hess produces seven carefully-processed microfine, Non-Crystalline Silica (NCS) grades for use in paint, industrial coatings, stains, rubber compounds, and plastics. [ MORE ]

Blast Mitigation

When used for purposes of blast mitigation, cellular solids, like pumice, collapse at a cellular level beneath the force of the blast, absorbing much of the blast energy and effectively containing the damage. Lightweight, abundant and easily processed to any spec, pumice is proving to be effective and economical for blast mitigation media in missile and bomb encasements and blast-protection products. [ MORE ]

Pozzolan Lime Plaster & Mortar

Anciently, the Romans used a mixture of hydrated lime and fine-grained pumice to form strong and incredibly durable concrete, mortar, and plaster.

Under the guidance of Stan Petersen, the renowned expert in old-world masonry and lime plastering, Hess Pumice formulated natural mortar and plaster products that put the strength, durability and beauty of the old-world masters in the capable hands of today’s masons and plasterers. [ MORE ]

Pet and Livestock Care

Pumice has wide utility in livestock husbandry and pet care. Sometimes the application is straight-up obvious—like bathing dust for Chinchillas and Degus (as well as gerbils, dwarf hamsters, chickens and other dust-bath-loving critters).

The moisture and odor-absorbant properties of pumice are directly applicable to confined livestock applications, like horse stalls and chicken coops. And, when removed and composted along with the manure and other litter, pumice keeps on giving. Pumice helps retain nitrogen (and control odor) during the composting process and then contributes to the soil the compost is blended into by increasing the ability of the soil to hold moisture and nutrients while permanently improving soil structure (by enhancing aeration and friability in the root zone).

Texturizing Grit

Because of the light, frothy nature of pumice and its low specific gravity, pumice tends to stay in suspension in most paints and coatings (depending on viscosity). Heavier grits, like sand, will settle and clump, requiring constant stirring or agitation or a last-minute sprinkle-in application right before applying, neither of which is ideal. Even when you do manage to get it on the surface, sand tends to clump and blotch—sand is just not light and properly textured to disperse evenly and stay suspended in the viscous liquids like primers and floor paints.

Other Uses for Pumice

•Pumice and LEED Certification: The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program has been embraced worldwide and is the predominant green building certification system in the US. As the program evolves and grows, so too does the need to understand the fit—both in cost and performance—of a wide range of effective materials and processes to meet the requirements. We've written a white paper that focuses on identifying the LEED categories and options where pumice and pumice-enhanced products can be valuable contributors to the goal of LEED certification. [ MORE ]

•Release Agent: Fine-grade pumice, dusted inside a mold, prevents the plastic or rubber material from binding and sticking to the inside of the mold wall. Pumice powder is also used to avoid sticky (and expensive) problems by those who practice the delicate art of applying gold leaf.

•Spill Containment. Think of pumice as a mineral sponge: inert, stable, lightweight and much more effective than sawdust, clay compounds and textiles. The absorption factor of carefully processed pumice is incredible. Pumice will absorb and hold oils and impurities and so is useful as a dry absorbent for chemical and petroleum spills.

•Lightweight Fill for Infrastructure Construction. Projects calling for a lightweight fill—like bridge approaches, road embankments, and mechanically stabilized earth walls—are ideal uses for light, clean pumice.


•If you’d like to run tests and trials using our pumice in your commercial product formulation or industrial process, please contact us at with your request. We look forward to answering your questions, helping you select the best grade for your process, or helping you explore the fit of pumice for your needs. PLEASE include your name, your company or organization, pertinent project details, ship-to address, and preferred contact information in the sample request email.

pumice store logo

•If you’d like a bit of pumice for personal use, we have a nice selection of pumice grades available to purchase via our Pumice Products Store.


We know pumice. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and help you explore utilizing pumice in your product or industrial process.

•SALES: If you need to talk availability, grades, logistics, Jason Kimberling, Sales Manager, at extension 142 or email

•RESEARCH: Perhaps you are exploring the possibilities—thinking pumice may fit your particular need, thinking you’d like to see the existing research data, thinking you’d like to do some testing of your own—then we invite you to contact Brian Jeppsen, VP Research and Development, at (208) 766-4777 x111 or email:


Hess Pumice Products sources a pumice deposit in demand worldwide, refining and supplying it to a variety of industries for a variety of uses.

3 generations of HessBulk-loading rail cars at the Hess Pumice processing plants.


typical pumice stone Hess Pumice is a volcanic rock containing 71 percent silica, 13 percent alumina and small amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc. Basically, an amorphous silica, with the respirable portion (PM10) crystalline silica-free: considered a nuisance dust only. Our pumice is chemically inert and environmentally safe. As pumice has no crystal structure, it is classified as a glass. pumice packaged however you need it pumice packaged however you need it Whether you want a single bucket of pumice, a shipping container full of palleted bags, supersacks, or a bulk-loaded rail car, Hess Pumice will process and ship the grade and amount you need, packaged how you need it. 208.766-4777  •  Malad City, Idaho 83252