Fire Pit Material Considerations

Learn about your different material options for creating a safe, attractive outdoor fire pit.

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By: Sean McEvoy

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.

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Decked Out

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.

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