Fire Pit Material Considerations
Learn about your different material options for creating a safe, attractive outdoor fire pit.
Fire pits are a huge trend in outdoor and backyard design right now. Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of materials, and there are several options to take into consideration when designing a fire pit for your outdoor living space.
Materials and Structure
"Traditionally, outdoor fireplaces were made of brick and needed a foundation to be laid before they were built," says Lou Manfredini, Ace's Home Expert. Browse pictures of this outdoor living room from HGTV's 2012 Dream Home.
A porthole mirror and potted plants dress up this outdoor fireplace. Courtyard seating faces the fireplace, creating the perfect spot for company and conservation. Design by Chris Johnson
Find the Perfect Fit
A fire pit is one of the many focal points in this deck's multi-level design. A built-in bench curves around the fire pit for toasty seating on chilly nights. Photo courtesy of Trex
Ready for Company
The entertaining deck at HGTV's 2012 Dream Home offers a warm and cozy respite even on the chilliest winter's evening. This fire pit has a modern design and features four separate gas units.
Two of the most popular portable fire pit options are chimineas and portable fire pits or bowls. Chimineas are free standing, usually incorporate a 'smoke stack' and function in a similar manner to wood-burning stoves. They are typically constructed of clay; however, chimineas built from copper or steel offer greater durability (albeit at a higher price). When using a chiminea, especially on a wooden deck, it's imperative to use a spark arrestor and a fireproof mat.
Portable fire pits are another great option for outdoor fireplaces. These are generally bowl-shaped and made of metal, and they come in a variety of finishes and designs. Originally used to burn a few small pieces of wood at a time, fire pits have evolved to incorporate cooking features, decorative flourishes like stands and legs, and alternative fuel sources like gas, gel alcohol or charcoal.
Before purchasing a fire pit for your backyard, deck or outdoor living space, be sure to check with your local fire department to ensure that you'll be in compliance with outdoor fire codes. You'll also want to make sure you've purchased a sturdy fire pit that's not at risk of tipping over and causing a dangerous situation. Lastly, whenever using a fire pit, it's always a good idea to have a water source nearby in case of an emergency.
See also: Deck and Patio Design Ideas