The Fire Pit Resource

What do I need to build my own fire pit?

As do it yourself (DIY) projects become even more popular, you might find your interest building as you think about keeping warm on cool Summer nights. It can be very beneficial to build your own fire pit instead of buying one. Following are some pros and cons for building your own fire pit.

  • The choice of your design is entirely up to you!
  • You can choose different burner pans to allow for different flame sizes.
  • There are many kits available so that you don’t have to start from scratch.
  • It will add a unique touch to your backyard.

  • You will potentially have to follow strict codes or ordinances.
  • If you choose to use gas, you will have to hire a professional for installation.
  • It requires labor!

Let’s get started!

The very first thing that needs to be considered is the fuel. The two types of fuel that you can use are wood and gas. Wood is considerably more popular and is very easily accessible. With a gas fire pit, you will have to have to install a burner and can pick between propane or natural gas.

Wood: This is the easiest, most common fuel for fire pits. Just grab some sticks, logs, and kindling, and you are ready to go. The only con to the wood fuel system is the labor behind keeping the fire going.

Natural Gas: This is a more permanent solution for fuel, as it is hooked up directly to your home's gas line. When using natural gas, a professional is required to install it. It uses a gas burner pan, which makes ignition very reliable and very easy.

Propane: This is going to be very similar to using natural gas. You will use a burner pan, making ignition very dependable.

Fire Pit Accents

If you do choose to go the gas fire pit route, you have several options to make your fire pit unique and exciting. You can add fire glass, ceramic logs or lava rocks to your fire pit to give it distinctiveness. DO NOT use any normal stones in your fire pit, because the steam build up from heat will cause them to explode.

Fire Glass: Fireglass comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, so you can choose what best suits your outdoor entertainment area. It's made from tempered glass, which is color-infused. The glass is processed and tumbled, so it is not sharp and can be easily handled. The benefit of fire glass is that it will not create soot, ash or smoke. The glass will also never lose its color, burn, melt, or let off any fumes. Fire glass will generate more heat than ceramic logs when it is used in a vented fireplace or outdoor fire pit. With its reflective surface, this decorative accessory will radiate 3-4 times more heat than wood or artificial logs.

Lava Rock: Lava rocks will help your fire pit with its combustion efficiency, while still maintaining an organic look. The lava rocks are guaranteed to be fire-safe and will add a natural look to your fire pit. Because these rocks are formed naturally, their size and shape will vary.

Gas Logs: To get the look of rustic, wood logs without the hassle of continuously replenishing your fuel source, an outdoor gas log set is for you. They come in vented or ventless systems, depending on the type of fire pit you plan to build. You can also use a log system that includes a burner and is certified for outdoor use because of the high heat output and stainless steel design.

DIY Fire Pit Finishes

The best part about a DIY fire pit is that what it looks like is entirely up to you! There are many materials that can be used to surround you fire pit. Metals, bricks, clay rocks, even stones and concrete can be formed into the size and shape you want for your fire pit.

Mix and match stones to create a unique surround that brings out the natural ambiance in your outdoor living area. Large, medium and small round stones can be placed strategically around its form and cemented into place. If you want to use flat rock, you can even stack it for a layered look.

Bricks are also a very popular finish for fire pits. They come in many different colors and sizes and are very durable. Since they are stackable, you can also adjust the size of your fire pit to fit your setting.

Some people use solid concrete pads to construct the surround; it provides a look similar to a brick frame with less time required. There is also coloring available to add to the concrete mixture, providing you with the versatility and uniqueness desired when completing a DIY project.

Fire Pit Safety

Before building your fire pit, it is important to check with your local fire department for city codes and ordinances in your area that apply to fire pits and fireplaces. Laws vary and you may have to get a permit or additional insurance before installing your DIY fire pit.

Choosing the right location for the new addition to the yard is also an important decision. First, make sure that you select a location that is not on a slope. Also, make sure to build your fire pit away from trees, plants, buildings or anything else that could possibly catch fire from a spark. And remember, it is always a good idea to have a hose close by in case of an emergency.

Finally, if you are going to be using gas as your preferred fuel, you will want to have a technician evaluate the area. Similarly with natural gas, the technician will need to do the installation for a permanent feed.