All About Fire Pits

Smores cooking over a wood fire

Fire Pits

Fire has always been crucial to daily life. Archaeological evidence from sites during the Palaeolithic period – around 200,000 – 400,000 years ago, shows that fire pits were made using stones to contain fire likely to keep warm, cook and ward off predators and insects. Once ash built up after multiple usages, this eventually created the basics to what we know today as the hearth, or fireplace.  Other cultures throughout history have used simple holes in the ground filled with hot coals and stones for warmth and for in-ground cooking.

Today, fire pits have evolved into the focal point of outdoor living spaces. No longer is a bbq enough of a feature for a modern outdoor area.  A fire pit of some sort is so commonplace in our outdoor spaces now, that a backyard without one appears to be “bare”. They have become so popular that some builders construct them as part of a package for their higher-priced homes. The reason for this is their ability to not only extend back yard use through fall and winter but also to bring it “alive” by adding another layer of texture and interest within your outdoor area.

A fire pit can even be incorporated into your dining area (a fire pit table), conversation area or can simply be a freestanding focal point away from the entertainment space. Fire pits can be an inexpensive way to create ambiance and warmth to your outdoor area. You can simply buy one off the peg – prices start from as little as $100. Alternatively a fire pit table fuelled by propane or natural gas may be a little more but the effect can be jaw dropping.

Permanent fire pits and fire places are obviously more expensive to build but can create a stunning focal point to your outdoor area and really set a scene for potential buyers.

When considering a fire pit, there may be a number of local regulations regarding fire in some areas. There may be limitations on any source of heat and pollutants, limiting the possibilities when it comes to which pit you may be able to purchase. Here is a summary of the options available:

 

Permanent fire pit positioned away from the house

Fire Tables

Fire Tables are arguably the most stylish fire pits available and can range from merely functional to those with the “wow!” factor.  They are the trend in outdoor furnishings and therefore there are many styles to choose from. A fire pit table is unique in that it doubles up as a piece of furniture.

Fire tables consist of 4 basic heights:

  • Dining height: Typically accommodates dining chairs.
  • Counter height: Great for informal get-together where guests stand around or sit at bar stools.
  • Occasional height: Lowest height which pairs with deep seating patio furniture.
  • Chat height: A little taller than Occasional height, ideal for “chats” around the fire pit table which may incorporate taller, more formal patio furniture.

Choosing a table size and height is dependent on the main use you intend to use it for; dinner parties come alive with an elegant patio fіrе pit table at dining height. Mоѕt dining fire pit tables have ample space for dinner plates, dishes and glasses.  The flames are contained by a protective mesh dome so you and your guests are safely protected from sparks.

Other heights such as “occasional” or “chat” height, create a stunning centerpiece to conversation, cocktails or coffee.

Standard or Convertible?

Fire pit tables are available as “standard” – whereby the fire ring is uncovered – or “convertible” which includes a cover that fits over the fire ring concealing it. This enables you to use it as a table alone. These tables are usually circular or square in shape and саn be made from a variety of materials including cast-aluminium, marble, slate and steel.

Some styles are sold with a grill tool which fits nicely above the fire pit. This enables you to grill food such as kebabs or even s’mores whilst remaining seated in your comfortable furniture.

 

Wine and a fire pit

 

Fuel

Most fire pits use either wood or propane, and each has their own advantages. Wood is easier to gather and it does not require an apparatus in order to be used. This means that they require little maintenance and are extremely durable.  Wood burning fire pits also have a nice dramatic flair and appeal to the primal nature of humans.

However, wood burning is obviously pollutant and wood burners should be carefully watched. The surrounding area must be kept clear in order to make sure that random sparks do not ignite even the smallest items or fire may spread.

A propane fire pit burns cleaner and with fewer risks making it better for the environment. It is also easier to control the intensity of the flame, as a twist of the knob can increase or lower the flame. Once the flame is extinguished, there are also no ashes to worry about . This additional control and safety are only countered by the need to bring in fuel and careful maintenance of the propane fire pit.

There is a wide range of fire media to choose from when deciding upon a gas fire table design – ranging from pebbles, glass, ceramic logs or lava. The flames are built into the middle of a table, providing a beautiful ambiance and warmth.

 

Fire pit being used to cook

 

DIY Wood Burning Fire Pits

If you prefer a traditional wood burning fire pit, you have the option of purchasing a ready to use model or creating your own permanent or portable structure.

There are many other advantages of a DIY fire pit, including:

  1. Lower cost than a ready made product. You can save costs further by using building materials that are left over from another project.
  1.  Ability to reuse or recycle old materials. A fire pit can be made from any heat resistant, non-flammable material, such as stone, brick, concrete, iron, or clay.
  1. Plenty of room for creativity and unique design. Would suit someone looking for something unique, that is not available in stores. The fire pit can be designed to coordinate with the home’s exterior, a deck, or other exterior features.
  1. Pride in a completed, attractive project. It can be satisfying to know your fire pit was created with your own hands, using your own creativity.

There are a few ways to make your own fire pit. You can select one of the attractive diy fireplace pit kits available from a retailer. You can use your own concept for do it yourself fire pits. Another alternative is to purchase a DIY gas fire pit kit and make your own base or exterior, from materials you have around the house.

Wood Burning Fire Pits For Sale

There are a multitude of wood burning fire pits for sale, including tables to free standing bowls. Design is personal; you may like the modern look or perhaps rustic. These types of fire pits are the easiest to purchase and set up – often there is no set up at all. All you have to do is buy some wood! A family may prefer a wood burning bowl which can be situated away from the house for roasting marshmallows etc. Whereas some may prefer a fire pit situated in the entertaining area of the outdoor space, for maximum ambivalence.

Remember to check local regulations as some areas place limitations on any source of heat and pollutants. This may limit the possibilities when it comes to which pit you may be able to purchase. Some homeowners also need to think about homeowner associations and rules. In short, check out local regulations before purchasing in order to make sure you can use your pit.