Uses and Guide Specifications


Buildex SmartWall Systems lightweight concrete masonry units made with Buildex aggregate are up to 40% lighter than masonry units made with sand and gravel "normal weight" concrete. The blocks' lighter weight increases mason productivity, speeds construction, lowers construction costs and reduces back injuries. Buildex SmartWall masonry also provide superior insulation by combining high R values with thermal mass and low thermal bridging. The energy savings from SmartWall can more than pay for cost of the unit! In addition, SmartWall offers superior fire resistance, effective sound absorption, excellent seismic performance, low shrinkage, and high strain capacity.

Buildex SmartWall Systems units are available from quality block producers located throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. Click here for a current Buildex SmartWall Systems Producers List. SmartWall Systems is also available in other parts of the country, from block producers supplied by members of the Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute (ESCSI).

To achieve the benefits of SmartWall it has to be specified for use in your project. Our guide specification (below) makes this easy. You can specify SmartWall Systems units with confidence, knowing they are available from producers throughout the country. For more information on SmartWall Systms, contact the Buildex office or one of the listed Buildex SmartWall Systems producers .

SmartWall Systems is a registered trademark of the Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah and is used with permission.

Guide Specification (Short Form): Sec 4200 - Unit Masonry:

Unit Masonry: Lightweight aggregate used in the manufacture of lightweight concrete masonry units shall be Buildex or approved equal, manufactured by the rotary kiln process, and shall meet the requirements of ASTM C 331 "Standard Specification for Lightweight Aggregate for Concrete Masonry Units"

Lightweight concrete masonry units shall conform to ASTM C 90 "Standard Specification for Load Bearing Concrete Masonry Units" and the following Buildex / ESCSI SmartWall Systems specification..

Units shall be [Type I - Moisture Controlled] [Type II - Non-Moisture Controlled].

Comment: Edit above to specify either Type I or II.

Lightweight concrete masonry units shall have a minimum net compressive strength of 2500 psi and a density not exceeding 93 lb/cu ft, determined in accordance with ASTM C 140 "Sampling and Testing Concrete Masonry Units" Units.

Comment: Blocks meeting these SmartWall specifications are commonly available throughout the US, whether made with Buildex or another rotary kiln lightweight aggregate. This specification assures the building designer, contractor, and owner that the lightweight masonry will have the desired productivity for economical construction, and the needed in-place structural, thermal and fire resistive performance.

Specification Revised December 1998


Asphalt chip seals using Buildex aggregate have high performance yet are economical. When bonded to asphalt, Buildex aggregate creates an advanced road surface that is safer, more economical and longer lasting than conventional aggregates. Wet or dry, road surfaces of Buildex aggregate provide superior skid resistance, and, since Buildex doesn't polish as it wears, the skid resistance is maintained throughout the life of the surface. Because it is lightweight, Buildex affords shipping and handling cost advantages to the contractor. A major problem of damage to windshields, headlights and cars' paint caused by "flying" stones is virtually eliminated with Buildex, avoiding costly insurance claims and motorist complaints.


Structural Lightweight Concrete.Structural lightweight concrete made with Buildex aggregate solves weight and durability problems in buildings and exposed structures. Buildex concrete has strengths comparable to normal weight concrete, yet is typically 25% to 35% lighter. Buildex offers design flexibility and substantial cost savings by providing less dead load, improved seismic structural response, longer spans, better fire ratings, thinner sections, decreased story height, smaller size structural members, less reinforcing steel, and lower foundation costs. The excellent durability performance of Buildex is a result of the ceramic nature of the aggregate and its exceptional bond to, and elastic compatibility with, the cementitious matrix.

Guide Specification (Short Form): Sec 3313:

Materials: Expanded shale lightweight coarse aggregate shall be Buildex or approved equal, manufactured by the rotary kiln process, and shall meet ASTM C 330. Grading shall be 1/2" x No. 4 as detailed in C 330. Coarse lightweight aggregate shall be pre-wetted prior to mixing if placement is to be made using a concrete pump. Follow the lightweight aggregate manufacturer's recommendations for pre-wetting procedures.

Normal weight fine aggregate shall meet ASTM C 33.

Concrete Properties:

Strength: Proportion materials to produce concrete with a minimum compressive strength of __ psi at 28 days.

Comment: Commonly specified compressive strengths are 3000 psi and 4000 psi, but higher strengths, up to 9000 psi, are attainable with special mixes.

Unit Weight: Proportion materials to produce concrete with a 28 day air dry unit weight of 107 to 113 lb/cu ft, as determined by ASTM C 567 "Test Method for Unit Weight of Structural Lightweight Concrete".

Comment: The fresh, pumped in place unit weight of this concrete will be approximately 116.5 lb/cu ft; the calculated equilibrium unit weight will be approximately 105 lb/cu ft. The calculated equilibrium unit weight is calculated per ASTM C 567 Sec. 9.5, and represents the point at which the concrete in place reaches its air dry equilibrium density. Mixes with this density have proved to have good pumpability, performance and economy. Other design densities are attainable if needed; contact our sales office for details.

Slump: Slump at point of placement shall be 2 - 3 inches if placed conventionally and 3 - 5 inches if placed by concrete pump.

Comment: Design pump mixes so that the mix attains the desired strength with the higher slump needed for pumpability.

Air Entrainment: The air content shall be 6 percent, plus or minus 1.5 percent.

Comment: Typical pumped mixes will lose 2 inches of slump and 1% entrained air during pumping.

Field Control: Perform all quality control tests on lightweight concrete at the point of placement of the concrete. Adjust material proportions as needed to maintain proper slump, air content, fresh density and yield.


Geotechnical Lightweight Fills. Buildex lightweight aggregate fills are approximately half the density of common fills. This advantage, coupled with its high internal friction angle, can also reduce lateral forces by more than one-half. Buildex is used to solve numerous geotechnical engineering problems and to convert unstable soil into usable land. Buildex also provides permanent insulation around water and steam lines and other thermally sensitive elements. Buildex lightweight aggregate fills are a reliable and economical geotechnical solution.


Decorative Ground Cover and Horticulture Uses. Since it is non-toxic, odorless, completely inorganic and 100% inert, Buildex is environmentally friendly. It is an attractive permanent ground cover that helps to protect shrubbery by insulating it from temperature extremes. When used in soil mixtures, Buildex will not compress, degrade, decompose, or react with agricultural or horticultural chemicals. It acts as an insulator in the soil mixture and protects plants from rapid temperature extremes. Buildex retains a high percentage of its weight in absorbed water and waterborne nutrients, making it an excellent buffer. Buildex is user friendly because it is lightweight, inert, pH adjustable, easy to handle, economical, and readily available.


Specialty Concrete & Other Miscellaneous Uses. The superior qualities of Buildex are effective and economical in many other applications. Examples include wood floor topping lightweight concrete, bagged concrete mix, cement wallboard, artificial stone, refractory concrete, roof tile, Car-Go brand traction aid, clay brick grog, insulating aggregate fill, and many more.

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