Fire Pit Construction and MaterialsMasonry, gas rings, veneers and filler material for custom built fire pits
A fire pit must be constructed with materials that will withstand high temperatures. The internal wall should be made of fire brick and a fire-proof mortar or grout because it will come into direct contact with high heat. The rest of the pit can be built with masonry block, poured concrete, stone, brick or even pavers.
Masonry block is especially appropriate if you plan to face your fire pit with a stone veneer, ceramic tile or stucco. Another option is to have your fire pit built using a steel-frame kit. A steel-frame is a simple way to get a sturdy structure that is heat and weather resistant.
Pro Tip: Leave the bottom of your fire pit open to allow water to percolate out. In heavy rain areas, leave a weep or drain hole just above the height of your adjacent patio.
- Garden Artisan Scott Cohen, The Green Scene
Gas Line and Rings
If you plan to fuel your fire pit with natural gas, propane, or ethanol the first thing you will need to do before beginning construction is make sure that gas lines have been run. To create an even flame effect, you will need a gas ring. Select a stainless steel gas ring because it will last longer than other metals. Gas rings come in circular, square and rectangular shapes and are available in many different sizes. Install a generous number of gas rings to create the effect you desire. This way, you can adjust the flame to suit the mood of the evening.
This fire pit is faced with natural stone and features a precast concrete cap. Concrete-N-Counters in Tampa, FL.
The outside of a fire pit can be faced with many different materials. Try to select a facing that ties in with your patio and the materials on the exterior of your home. Stucco is the most affordable option. It can be sprayed on, or steel troweled into place and colored to match your home. Stone veneer, either natural or manufactured, is another firepit facing option. Stone will give you a luxurious, natural look, but can be costly. Brick veneer is another option. Vertical concrete can also be used to create a colored and textured surface. Finally, you can clad your fire pit with tile. Make sure the tile you select is rated for outdoor use and can withstand high temperatures.
Most built-in fire pits are capped to create a flat, finished rim. Capping a fire pit provides a functional spot to sit or set drinks. Common materials used to cap a fire pit include precast concrete, flagstone and brick.
If you have opted for a gas powered fire pit you'll need a fill material to cover the fire ring, or rings. Fire pit fillers are mainly decorative, but also absorb heat, making the warmth radiate more evenly. Popular fill materials include lava rock, river rock and recycled glass. Recycled glass, which comes in a variety of colors, including black, clear, red, and blue, can be used to create unique effects.