How to Make a Fire Pit

How to Make a Fire Pit

Tools Required

  • Brick hammer
  • Bucket
  • Concave jointer
  • Concrete float
  • Cordless drill
  • Level
  • Margin trowel
  • Mason’s trowel
  • Safety glasses
  • Spade
  • Tuckpointing tool
  • Wheelbarrow

Video

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.

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

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.

DIY Koi Pond Fire Pit

Lucy's Lampshade

As long as the size is correct, old garden ponds work perfectly as fire pits since they are usually lined with non-combustible rocks. Ensure that the pond has stone or concrete lining, not PVC, EPDM (a synthetic rubber), or other flammable pond liners.

Lucy, who blogs at Lucy's Lampshades, turned her old koi pond into a DIY fire pit for outdoor gatherings. She was ready for the change since raccoons and owls tended to gobble up the fish. The transformation was simple, and it took a layer of sand, a covering of rocks, plus firewood in the middle to start the party.

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.

DIY BBQ Fire Pit

Red Door Home

Most backyard fire pits offer the charm of flames that can roast marshmallows. But Stacy at Red Door Home wanted a completely functional fire pit that can be used for cooking throughout the summer.

Two full-size grills rest atop a ring of retaining wall blocks, allowing Stacy to cook anything from steaks and kebabs to s'mores. Extending the use of the fire pit ensures that it can be used for more than just the summer season.

6. Washing Machine Drum Pit

If you’re looking for something simple and portable, this basic fire pit is a great solution. Not only will it keep you warm, and look great while doing so, but it’s a great upcycling project.

source: houseandfig.com
source: houseandfig.com

6. Arrange the bricks

After you’ve spread the gravel around, arrange your bricks in a circle and stack them in layers until the fire pit wall is at least 12 inches tall.

For extra safety, you have the option to put an in

For extra safety, you have the option to put an inner layer of firebricks. Though you don’t need to use mortar if the bricks are heavy enough to make a sturdy stack, you can use an outdoor fire-resistant mortar between the bricks for extra stability.

4. Make sure the circle is level

Get down on the ground with your level to ensure t

Get down on the ground with your level to ensure that the surface is ready for the bricks. Keep making small adjustments until it’s completely level.

Keep It Simple!

 

If this is your first time building a fire pit, you should try to keep it simple. A basic shape, materials and steps mentioned above will give you a great result. If you’re a bit more experienced with this kinda of thing, you can move on to more challenging design that have irregular shapes or a more decorative exterior.

 

 

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

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 do it

Part 1

man using spray paint to form circle
Step 1

Outline DIY Firepit

Site the pit on a flat area about 12 feet in diameter. Place the stake at the center of your desired circle (ours is 56 inches in diameter), tie the spray-paint can to a string attached to the stake, and mark a circle. Dig out the dirt within the circle to about 18 inches deep.

Warning Before installing an open firepit, check local codes and beware of any burning bans.

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packing gravel into base of fire pit Step 2 Create Level Base Fill the pit with 6 inches of gravel. Rake smooth and tamp after each load to make a solid base. Then spread a layer of course sand over the gravel, tamp, and check that it’s level.

forming base to build fire pit Step 3 Mark Inner Circle Use the stake, string, and paint to mark an inner circle guide for placing the first layer of retaining-wall units. Our inner circle is 38 inches in diameter. If you’re using a fire ring, place it to be in line with the painted circle.

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man using hammer to pack stone brick into pit
Step 4

Place First Row

Place the first row of retaining-wall units in a circle. Use the mallet to set them in the sand and gravel. Check that it’s level from side to side and front to back after you place each unit.

Variation If you are using cheaper pavers, use a metal ring as a liner. The ring can help you form a base and keep the layers of stone straight, as well as making the pit last longer by protecting the pavers from crumbling.

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using seal to form stone pit wall Step 5 Finish Rows Add the second row of retaining-wall units. Many products feature a groove on the bottom and a ridge on top, allowing the rows to interlock. Add the top row of blocks and glue in place with the concrete adhesive. Make sure the blocks are clean and dry before you apply the adhesive. You can also use flat, finishing pavers on top of the regular pavers for a sleek, professional look. Adhere them to the top row as you did on the rows below.

packing bricks for patio
Step 6

Optional: Install Ground Pavers

To surround the pit with pavers, first create a 6-inch gravel base topped with 1 inch of course concrete sand. Lay the pavers in the pattern of your choice. After the pavers are in place, install a plastic or aluminum-edge restraint. Sweep concrete sand into the joints until the joints are full. Compact the surface with a hand-compactor or rent a plate contractor.

Warning Make sure a firepit is installed away from potential fire hazards, such as wood decks, shrubbery, fuel tanks, or any structures.

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