The 4 Things You Need To Consider To

Build The Best Fire Pit Ring

Fire Ring used by past generations

A fire ring is a construction or device used to contain fires and prevent them from spreading. We have been using fire rings since time began to contain the essential element of fire to cook and for warmth.

The ring may be nothing more than a short, wide section of metal, partially buried in the ground. If the ring is a decent height, it is possible to add grates to the ring in order to place food on top to cook on it. These are often found at campsites.

Fire rings in more public areas are often made from concrete.

However when you are burning wood be careful as concrete enlarges with heat. The burner should be fairly high in the it so the two do no come into contact. Refractory concrete can withstand higher temperatures. You also need to remember that when the concrete is wet it will not withstand direct contact with fire. Some stones can be susceptible to heat and can explode when heated due to trapped gas pockets and thermal expansion.

Once it is burned concrete becomes rough and split. You can prevent this by lining your pit with another material such as metal or fire brick depending on your preference. Then add a good few inches of lava rock to really insulate. Things to consider:

1) Fuel source

Every fuel source has its pros and cons, which you should take into consideration:

Wood

Wood is a cost-effective fuel source and a great option if you love listening to those crackle of fire produced when wood is burning. Some wood types are also known to produce distinct and pleasant odors. However, an extreme crackling of the fire, as well as the carbon monoxide produced by burning wood, can be dangerous. Additionally, it takes a lot of time and effort to light wood and sometimes to put out the fire.

You may also need to clear ashes periodically to ensure that your fire pit is functioning optimally. Wood burning is the more natural approach to fire pits, but it can also be the most unpredictable.  You will not be able to turn off a wood burning fire instantaneously.  It can also start to burn out of control if your weather conditions change suddenly.  You also need to watch for debris which may escape and cause an uncontrolled fire. For this reason, a fire screen is advisable. 

Fire ring built in stone

 

Propane 

This is a great non-toxic alternative fuel source to wood. One of the top advantages of propane over wood is that it doesn’t emit harmful smokes. Generally, a 20lb propane tank can run for about 12 hours. be prepared to replace the propane tank periodically, when you opt for this fuel source.

This type of fuel is a liquid petroleum gas.  When using propane you need to have a ventilated area and ensure you have adequately spaced vent holes.   When placing media in the pit, remember that if you have too much of your material above the burner there is a risk of trapping gas in your fire pit which could lead to a burst of flames. This is essential knowledge especially if you want to use fire glass as media, ensure it is layered only around half an inch above the burner. Lava rock is best as it can be layered around three inches deep above the burner.

Propane needs to be mixed together with air to ensure the air in the pit stays clear.  This should be done with an air-fuel mixer.  Fire glass will likely become more darkened with use.

Remember that although propane is by far the easiest fuel to use within your during, it is not ideal to cook on as the temperatures are not as high as wood burning or natural gas. However, many people place convenience above this.

People warming their feet by a fire

 

Natural gas

This is another excellent non-toxic fuel option. Before you opt for this natural fuel source, however, it is prudent to ensure that it is available in your locality. You will also need to install natural lines to your fire ring. You may also need approval from local authorities for installing natural gas lines. Natural gas will not produce as much soot as a propane burner and as it is lighter than air so it is not as dangerous in inadequately ventilated areas. It is also cheaper than propane.  Unfortunately a professional is required to hard-plumb the natural gas lines.  Another advantage is that fire glass and lava rock can be placed up to three inches above a natural gas burner.

Permanent fire pit ring away from the house

 

Ethanol

Also referred to as bio ethanol, clean-burning ethanol is famed for its mesmerizing flame. Coupled with a sleek burner design, this fire source is becoming the fire pit choice for many homeowners, especially when it comes to both indoor and outdoor use. The disadvantage is that the flame resembles more of a burning a candle when in use.  The different variations of this fuel are usually more expensive.  These types include fireplace fuel, bio ethanol, fire gel, bio fuel, spirits, denatured alcohol, and ethanol.  You are able to use these without ventilation inside and out, but you always risk a smaller fire pit being knocked over.

2) Hardware

It is also necessary to consider hardware such as burners, burner pans, igniters, air mixers, valves and piping.  A button spark igniter, an automatic igniter or a simple match will be required to light your pit.

An automatic igniter is typically more expensive-  especially if they contain a timer or a remote control to be a further distance away.  There are also safety precautions in many versions called flame sensors which cut of the fuel source if the flames is extinguished.

Burners are generally best quality when they are made from stainless steel.  They also come in various sizes and shapes that can alter the heat distribution. Typical shapes are circular and “H” shaped, triangular, round, rectangular and square fire ring shapes. There are even more complex shapes such as L-shape fire rings. The burner should be placed into a stainless steel pan.  Piping is used to to link the burner to the valves.  

3) Finish

The number of people you plan to entertain should dictate the size of your fire pit and the ring size.
After you’ve decided on the size and shape of your fire pit, you need to decide on the finish. Gas fire pits come with different materials, including brick, tile, stone, and metal. Go for materials with color combinations that match with your backyard or exterior of your home. Many homeowners favor stainless steel and natural materials because of their easy cleaning and whether resistance aspects.  

 fire pit kit

4) Safety

Safety precautions should be your priority when installing a new fire pit. Ensure that there is enough space between the new gas fire pit and your backyard structures. Be wary of balconies or awnings that could catch flame. As a guide, ensure that you leave 30 ft clearance vertically when installing your new fireplace.  It is important when using any fuel to have a way to close off the fuel source.  A quick disconnect of propane is to pull the tank away.  When using natural gas a key valve is required to turn the fuel off and lock it by removing the key.  This method is safer than using an automatic igniter.  These igniters are not able to be controlled by a person if there is an unexpected condition. 

 

Fire pit ring placed in ground

 

To get the most of your outdoor fireplace, you can also consider the following:

  • Ensure that the pit’s foundation is level when digging your pit and place stones around it. The fire pit ring should be appropriately raised and is stable
  • Strive to place portable fire pits on hard and fire-resistant materials like stone, brick, and concrete
  • To make the fireplace even more enjoyable, build it downwind (based on the prevailing winds in your locality) so as to keep smoke from blowing into your guests’ faces and to stop errant sparks from reaching nearby structures.
  • Strive also to take advantage of higher grounds in your backyard. Construct your gas fire pit ring in a location where you can easily see the nearby natural scenic views or skyline.