backyard firepit

Does a Fire Pit Need Drainage?

Does a Fire Pit Need Drainage? | Building Firepits | Walden Backyards

Drainage may not be the first thing you think about when setting up a firepit, but it is important. If you have a permanent firepit, you'll need to avoid water buildup. There are a few ways to do this, including adding a drainage hole to the firepit.

What Types of Firepits Need Drainage?

There are two basic types of firepits: portable and permanent. Portable firepits can be placed anywhere and easily moved - when not hot, of course!  If you have a Walden Fire Pit Ring, there's no need to worry about drainage. The ring is open on the bottom, so it won't collect water. 

If you have the Legacy Complete Fire Pit Insert Kit, drainage shouldn't be a major issue. The system is designed with a steel grate, so water can't collect at the bottom of the insert ring. Water can collect in the ash basket. This won't interfere with your fire, but it can make disposing of the ashes messier.

If you have a permanent fire pit, you'll need to take drainage seriously. You can't simply pick the firepit up to drain the water in this case. If water builds up, it can rust your fire pit and make it unusable until the water dries.

How to Create Drainage in Your Firepit

If your fire pit has a solid metal base, you will need drainage holes. If there are not already holes for drainage, drill a few holes into the bottom of the base. This is the first step to creating drainage. 

Now, you'll need somewhere for the water to go once it drains. Depending on the location of your fire pit, you may need a drain pipe. If you have a concrete or flagstone patio, for example, the water can pool on your patio. 

You can add a 4-inch drain pipe to allow the water to drain away from the fire pit. A small gravel channel is another creative way to carry the water away. You can use lava rocks, firepit glass, or gravel to cover the drain pipe and diffuse heat. 

Another way to create drainage is simply to put a drainage layer underneath your fire pit. If the base of the fire pit insert is solid, you'll still need to drain holes. If the bottom is a grate, you won't need drainage holes. 

You can use lava rocks, fire pit glass, or gravel to create the drainage layer. You can also combine materials. Many people use gravel and then add a few inches of lava rocks or firepit glass on top to make it more attractive. The layer should be about 12 inches deep. 

This allows the water to slowly drain away from the firepit, without flooding the area surrounding it. 

Covering Your Fire Pit

If water can't get into your firepit, then drainage isn't an issue. You can prevent water from getting into your firepit with a cover. Walden's Fire Pit Insert includes a snuffer lid, which can put out the fire by cutting off the flow of oxygen, or fuel, to the fire and protects the inside from water. The snuffer lid works for any 30 inch firepit, and can be purchased separately. 

Canvas covers are another option. They can be found in a wide variety of colors and sizes. You can even get the same color cover for your patio furniture to match. 

If you are on a budget, you can use a tarp to cover your fire pit. While it may not be as attractive or convenient as the other options in our opinion, it's inexpensive and readily available. 

However, you should never put a tarp cover on a hot firepit. The rule of thumb is, if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to put a tarp on. Even if the fire is out, heat can still melt the tarp. This can lead to a mess at best, and an unexpected fire at worst. 

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Fire Pit Longevity

Keeping water out of your firepit will keep it functioning well and increase its lifespan. It can take a little extra effort in the beginning, but it's well worth it. The Legacy Series Fire Ring has a lifetime guarantee and is built to last more than a lifetime. Because it is one piece of pressed steel with no welds, it is more resistant to damage from rust or use. 

If your firepit has been exposed to the elements and has begun to rust, the damage can be undone. You can remove the rust with a rust dissolving product.

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