Additional Fire Pit Safety Tips

  • Don’t use fire accelerants such as lighter fluid or gasoline. They release toxic fumes and can cause explosions. Optimally use wood shavings, kindling, or commercial fire starters or sticks.
  • Keep a close eye on children and pets. They can move unexpectedly fast, and if you’re distracted with conversation about the latest episode of your favorite show, you could be faced with a disaster.
  • Be sure your pieces of wood are sized appropriately for the size of your fire pit. Make sure ends are not overhanging the edges of the pit.
  • Don’t throw paper or garbage into the fire. Burning bits can easily flutter off and create remote fire hazards.
  • Stop adding wood to the fire about an hour before you anticipate moving indoors. This will allow the embers to die down and make the final dousing easier.
  • When ashes are cool and dry, scoop them out and dispose of them. This will help make the next fire successful.

4. Fill Your Pit With The Right Materials

Learning what to put in the bottom of your fire pit takes more planning than you may have considered. Some materials like hard rock, gravel, or sand weren’t meant to reach high temperatures and can spark and explode if your fire gets too hot. Instead, use lava rocks for your fire pit or lava glass beads as a filler for your fire pit. They are a safe way to create drainage and make your fire pit look nice. While some people choose to forgo a fire pit filler and simply use a concrete or stone base, filler adds a nice aesthetic to your fire pit that can enhance your backyard landscaping. Place a thin layer of sand on the bottom of the fire pit and add the recommended 2-6 inches of filler on top of it. If you don’t have a preference for what kind of filler to use, irregular crushed lava rock or small volcanic ash tends to cost less overall. Sandstone, river rocks, natural rocks, and gravel are not ideal fill for fire pits because they are more likely to crack or explode under high heat. No matter what type of fill you use, make sure the fill is dry when you light the fire. Rocks can absorb a lot of water, especially river rocks, and rocks that get too hot near a fire can (and sometimes do) explode. Even wet lava rock can explode.

Video

Mortar the Firebrick

  • Firebrick is mortared with refractory cement, which, unlike regular masonry mortar, can withstand high heat.
  • Refractory cement comes premixed in a bucket and has the consistency of peanut butter.
    • Pro tip: A margin trowel makes it easier to scoop cement out of the bucket and butter the bricks. And a tuck pointer is useful for cleaning up the joints.
  • Work with four bricks at a time.
    • Pro tip: The secret is to trowel the cement on thin, like you’re spreading peanut butter on toast, and use the tightest joints you can.
  • Butter a thin layer of cement on the footer and position your first brick.
  • Butter the second brick and butt it against the first.
  • Continue around the circle checking level side-to-side and back-to-front as you go.

Stonehenge of Bricks

On the Fly DIY

Invoking the majestic look of Stonehenge, purchase bricks and stack them like dominoes with space in between each brick, then lay a top layer on top, lining them all up and locking them in place. The result: A fire pit with an elegant design has the practical benefit of slotted openings for free-flowing air to stoke the flames.

DIY Easy Fire Pit With Pavers

Keeping It Simple

Fast, easy, and, most importantly, inexpensive describes the approach taken to creating this fire pit. Kaysi, from the home and craft blog called Keeping It Simple, and her husband wanted a quick backyard fire pit for the weekend and decided to build it with retaining wall blocks.

A trip to Home Depot cost them around $50 for retaining wall blocks, sand, and pavers. They first laid a ring of blocks, maintaining a diameter of 33 inches, then installed pavers for the floor. A quick sweep of sand across the pavers was enough to lock them in place and prevent the blocks from shifting.

The project did not include grout, mortar, or concrete, making it a perfect starter masonry project. The hardest part was paring down some pavers with a hammer to create a circle. Kaysi used a hammer and masonry chisel, making sure to wear heavy gloves and safety glasses.

Complete the Outside Walls with Face Brick

  • We used SW (“severe weathering”) face brick (also called “common” or “building” brick) to line the outside circle fire pit walls. If your climate doesn’t include freeze/thaw cycles, you can use MW (“moderate weathering”) building brick. Home centers and brickyards carry a large variety of brick.
  • You’ll need 80 face bricks for a 3-ft.-diameter pit. Face brick with holes (“cored”) is easy to split with a brick hammer. It’s easier to form the curve of the pit walls with half bricks. You’ll lay three courses of face brick and mortar them together with Type N mortar mix (sold in 80-lb. bag at home centers, and you’ll need about five bags).
  • Because face brick is smaller than firebrick, you’ll need to make up the size difference as you lay your three courses of face brick. The difference between the height of your firebrick and the total height of three stacked face bricks will determine the width of your mortar beds between courses.
  • Dry-set the face brick, marking where each course of face brick has to hit the firebrick to make the third course of face brick level with the firebrick.

4. Brick And Stone Pit

Another classic round design, this DIY fire pit design looks stunning with a rustic, stone exterior. Using fireproof bricks on the inside ensures that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises later on and painting them black maintains the general rustic appearance.

source: www.diynetwork.com
source: www.diynetwork.com

2. Tabletop Fire Pit

This chic fire pit is a elegant alternative to the traditional garden pit. Although you probably won’t be using it to cook anything, it will bring a touch of luxury to your patio. Just add your favourite garden furniture set nearby and enjoy watching the flames flicker.

source: www.theartofdoingstuff.com
source: www.theartofdoingstuff.com

12. Get That Added Value

Save all the hassle with Portofino® Comfort Stone Top Fire Table – Espresso

A beautiful, well-built fire pit adds a lot of value to a home and backyard. Patios with a fire pit are especially valuable because they create a beautiful space for entertaining and visiting with guests – especially if that space is not available inside the home. Fire pits remain popular with home buyers and really don’t cost much for the value they add. To get the most value from your fire pit, make it a central feature of your backyard and invest in quality landscaping and outdoor furniture, that adds to the overall design of your space. There are even stand-alone fire tables and fire table and chair sets that create a quick and easy focal point if you prefer a more temporary option. If you want your outdoor space to feel like an extension of your indoor space, make sure to use similar design elements as you make the transition from inside to outside. It will make your home feel larger, especially when entertaining guests.

Materials Needed for a DIY Fire Pit

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Once you’ve decided on the fuel source for your fire pit, it’s time to pick up some supplies. Of course, the exact materials you need will depend on the type of fire pit you are making and where you plan to put it in your yard.

In general, you will want some sort of stone or cement, a way to attach them to one another, and a way to make a hole for the firepit to drain.

Here’s a list of DIY fire pit materials you can consider:

  • Stones
  • Bricks
  • Concrete Blocks
  • Shovel (to dig)
  • Cement mix
  • Steel Pit Ring
  • Metal Grate
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Paint if you desire

Although bricks and concrete blocks are the easiest materials to make a DIY fire pit with, you can use other materials like glass, recycled metal, or even old flower pots.

Just be sure whatever you use is fireproof, and know that if it is metal, it will be hot to the touch when a fire is in the pit.

What Stone Is Best for a DIY Fire Pit?

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Almost any type of rock can explode, particularly porous and moist rocks. When wet rocks become heated, the trapped water and air expand rapidly and violently shatter the rock, occasionally causing it to explode. 

River rocks, gravel, pumice, limestone, and sandstone are all examples of rocks that should be avoided when building a fire pit due to their porous nature and proclivity to retain water. 

Due to the density of hard rocks (such as slate, marble, or granite), they are less prone to absorb water and burst when exposed to heat. Additionally, fire-rated brick, poured concrete, lava rocks, and lava glass are all safe to use around and in your fire pit. 

This is one place where lava rocks can be used to ensure the safety of a fire pit. If your fire pit contains or is surrounded by rocks, exercise caution when igniting flames after it has rained. 

Wet rocks have a far greater chance of exploding than dry rocks. If you use your fire pit frequently, you may want to consider covering it during inclement weather to keep it dry and to keep yourself safe.

Tools Materials

  • Brick hammer

    Brick hammer

  • Cold chisel

    Cold chisel

  • Spade

    Spade

  • Hoe

    Hoe

  • Metal rake

    Metal rake

  • Tamper

    Tamper

  • Level - 2 foot

    Level – 2 foot

  • Level - 4 foot

    Level – 4 foot

  • Mallet

    Mallet

  • Caulk gun

    Caulk gun

  • Pointed trowel

    Pointed trowel

  • Power grinder

    Power grinder

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6. Add Optional Rebar for Reinforcement of the Fire Pit Stones

While DIY fire pit tutorials I found didn’t really mention rebar, I decided to add extra reinforcements. I looked at it like building a stone retaining wall in the yard and forced a few pieces of rebar into the stones and ground. A mallet made quick work of pounding in the rebar.

I mainly decided to add the rebar reinforcement to the fire pit stones because my fire pit design was larger than most kits and because I dug into the ground to create the pit. My pit is technically an above-ground fire pit and a (slightly) below ground fire pit. I wanted to get the stones nice and solid. (Note: I know the rebar isn’t in the narrower hole, where you would think to put rebar, but that spot wouldn’t work because of the half-bonding layout of the stones.)

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1. Lay Out and Dry Fit the First Ring of Stones for Your Fire Pit

The first steps of building my fire pit were simple. I had already dug a portion out of the yard where I wanted the new pit and burned brush in the spot (both because I still needed a place to do yard maintenance and to get a full picture in my mind of whether this spot was the right one for the new pit).

Once I’d settled on the ideal fire pit spot, I measured the diameter of the hole and did a little math while at the home improvement store to get the right number of retaining wall stones (I needed 16). Basic geometry is essential for this fire pit project, but thankfully Google has me covered with instant calculators for such tasks. With the size figured out and stones purchased, I laid them all out in a ring as a dry fit to create the outer edge of my DIY fire pit.

Fire Pit Parts: An Overview

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

A built-in fire pit is a glorified campfire, with sturdy walls of stone that help contain the flames and heat. That’s especially important in the parts of the country where there’s a risk of brush fires. So the first task in building any fire pit is checking local codes on open flames. The pit must be located far from overhanging trees, the house, and any other flammable structure.

To make building stone walls easier, you can use blocks made from cast concrete and molded to look like real stone (available at any home center). They’re flat on the top and bottom so they stack neatly, and some interlock for added strength. Glue them together with masonry adhesive. Choose a block with angled sides, meant to form curves when butted against each other. The optimal size for a fire pit is between 36 and 44 inches inside diameter. That will create enough room for a healthy fire but still keep gatherers close enough to chat.

As an added precaution, the fire pit should be lined with a thick steel ring like the ones used for park campfires. These protect the concrete in the blocks from the heat, which can cause them to dry out and break down prematurely.

A fire pit should sit low to the ground, with walls rising no more than a foot off the ground. But for stability, the base of the wall must be buried below ground in a hole lined with gravel, providing drainage and protecting against frost heaves in winter. The gravel also creates a level base for the stones to rest on. Most concrete blocks are about 4 inches high, so if the first course and a half sit underground, and there are two and a half courses above ground with a cap on top, you’ll end up with a foot-high wall—just right for resting your feet on while sitting in an outdoor chair.

How to Make a Fire Pit From Cinder Blocks Step by Step

Building your cinder block fire pit might lead to a quick trip to the store and some afternoon physical work. But, don’t fret! By the end of the week, you’ll be able to invite your friends over for a get-together around the new fireplace!

Purchase the following materials to make a cinder block fire pit:

  • Cinder blocks
  • Sand or gravel
  • Shovel
  • Rake

Step 1: Decide Where You Want To Build Your Cinder Block Fire Pit

Your front or backyard is the perfect place for yo
Your front or backyard is the perfect place for your cinder block fire pit! But, make sure that you follow backyard fire tips from the EPA and ensure that it’s legal in your area.

The very first step is to learn if fire pits are legal in your community and if you need permits or inspections. If you’re not sure, take a trip down to your municipal office of local fire departments to find out these answers. Or, call them!

Then, before we can get started, decide where you’d like your fire pit and define its place. For example, some prefer a fire pit near the housegarden corners, or a focal point in the center of their patio area.

Consider the shape and size of the fire pit you’re envisioning and ensure the selected spot is at least 20 feet away from shrubs, trees, sheds, garages, or your home.

Also, look above the potential fireplace location and ensure that there aren’t any overhanging trees that can catch fire (sparks easily ignite dry foliage).

Step 2: Decide Whether You Want a Permanent or Temporary Cinder Block Fire Pit

If you decide upon a permanent fire pit location,
If you decide upon a permanent fire pit location, it’s possible to seal parts of your fire pit using cement. However, I prefer to leave the cinder blocks uncemented to help increase circulation. It also lets me move the bricks if I decide to later!

temporary design is the simplest of the two. It will take approximately one hour to pack your cinder blocks in a ring (adjust each so that the corners of the blocks touch).

It’s best to remove around 4 to 6 inches of soil before arranging your cinder blocks. Ensure that the holes in the cinder blocks face skywards.

If you’d like, you can turn one cinder block every three feet to create a draw hole, allowing airflow.

If you prefer a permanent design, you’ll have to be slightly more patient and take on a couple of additional steps to ensure that the fire pit lasts long.

  • Dig out 4 to 6 inches of soil.
  • Fill the center of your new fire pit with sand or gravel (to prevent accidental fires).
  • Lay your first row of cinder blocks below the ground.
  • Add extra layers of cinder blocks until you reach your desired height.
  • Position your cinder blocks in a way that they straddle the seams between the cinder blocks in the row below.
  • Use mortar to seal the blocks together.
  • Allow the mortar to cure for about a week before using your fire pit.

If you’re still not sure about the best size for your cinder block fire pit, here’s my best tip!

three-foot-diameter circle comfortably accommodates three to four people. Add an extra foot for each additional person!

Step 3: Add Finishing Touches to Your Cinder Block Fire Pit

Our Pick 36" Diameter Round Fireproof Mat for Outdoor Patio and Deck Fire Pit – Heat Shield $16.99 When finishing up your cinder block fire pit, consider that the fire pit’s heat may negatively impact some surfaces! That’s one reason I’m a big fan of these fire pit heat shields. They’re perfect for protecting surfaces and property against heat damage – especially if you love to keep your fire pit burning as much as I do – nearly nonstop! They protect up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The mat also absorbs up to 90% of the fire’s heat and will remain close to body temperature. Perfect! Get More Info We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 05/03/2022 12:35 am GMT

Consider finishing your cinder block fire pit off with a coping of flat finish of concrete blocks or use bricks, tiles, and pretty stones to achieve an attractive finish.

Add a grill and bring those outdoor benches closer- you’re ready to enjoy your backyard fire pit!

Cheap and Easy Fire Pit Instruction

Here’s a cheap and easy DIY cinder block fire pit tutorial so you can follow along and build one from scratch!

Final Thoughts

Backyard entertaining is certainly enhanced with an attractive and functional DIY fire pit. And while you’ll definitely want to check local laws and regulations before installing one in your yard, once you do, you’ll be very happy you did. With a well-crafted, welcoming fire pit, built while carefully adhering to the dos and don’ts of building a fire pit, you might even get to know the neighbors better!

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