Fire Pit Covers, Screens and Grates
Make the most of your fire pit with the right accessories that protect your investment and family.
What accessories do you really need to enjoy safe backyard burning? Fire pit covers and screens definitely earn a spot in the Top 10 list. These items provide protection for both your fire pit and property. Add a fire pit grate, and you can also cook over your open fire. Learn more about these fire pit add-ons.
A fire pit cover is a must-have accessory. It keeps rain, wind-blown debris like leaves, and even unsuspecting critters from filling your fire pit. With in-ground fire pits, adding a cover also protects guests from taking a tumble into the pit. You can build a lid for your fire pit from a weather-resistant wood, like red cedar, or have a local metal worker craft one. If there’s even a remote chance that someone might step on your in-ground fire pit cover, choose a material strong enough to support an average adult.
For manufactured or custom above-ground fire pits, look for fire pit covers that offer a weather-resistant material, such as plastic, metal, or outdoor fabric. A cover should fit tightly enough that strong winds won’t work it loose and send it sailing.
If your fire pit is portable, it’s still wise to have a cover, in case you don’t want to move the pit out of the elements between fires. For long-term storage, such as through winter in cold regions, invest in a less expensive fire pit cover if you plan to stash your pit in a shed or garage.
A fire pit screen protects family, friends, and property from flying embers and sizzling sparks. Firefighters report that many backyard blazes become a problem when someone reaches over a fire to add or rearrange logs. At that point, it’s easy for flames to ignite clothing, and an emergency can quickly develop. Other times, an unnoticed spark can kindle a dry surface. In both situations, a fire screen alleviates the problem.
Most manufactured fire pits come with a screen. If you have a custom fire pit that’s above- or in-ground, you might have to search for manufactured fire pit screens. Most fire pit specialty companies sell screens, or you can often have a local metal shop produce one for you.
A fire pit screen is typically made from heat-resistant metal, such as stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, or powder-coated steel. Iron offers a cheaper price, but it’s a heavier material and tends to rust over time. Steel is lighter weight, but commands a higher price. A fire pit screen should have a handle to allow you to move it easily. Some have hinged doors that you can open to tend the fire and replenish wood.
A fire pit grate enables you to cook over your wood-fueled blaze. You can usually find a replacement grill for a gas or charcoal grill that fits your fire pit. Don’t worry if you have a rectangular grill for a round fire pit. That shape gives you access to tend the fire from the edges of the grill.
Most fire pit grates are made from cast iron, stainless steel, or any of a variety of metals coated with porcelain enamel. Cast iron grates, after they’re seasoned, offer a non-stick surface that conducts heat evenly and lasts forever. Stainless steel also provides good heat conduction and resists sticking if you clean it after use.
Enamel-coated grills also conduct heat well and have a non-stick surface, but they require careful cleaning. Never use a harsh scrubbing pad or wire brush to clean an enamel grill, or you risk scratching the surface. Once enamel is scratched, food sticks.