Making a fire pit in your backyard is an excellent way to step outside of time and enjoy a break from modern-day distractions. Gathering around a crackling fire under a darkening sky is a surefire way to create a relaxing ambiance. Materials matter when determining how to construct your firepit. Rock and brick are the most common materials to secure your firepit, but not all rocks are made equal. Appearance is not the only consideration when selecting the suitable stone for your firepit.
Rocks For Around The Fire Pit
Rocks can and do explode in intense heat. The more porous the stone, the more likely it is to absorb water that can expand in the presence of the fierce heat fires give off. For safety reasons, it is necessary to be mindful of the type of rock for the fire pit and how you use it around your fire. Nothing ruins a party faster than an exploding rock.
So, what type of rock should you use? Well, that depends on what you want to accomplish with them. There are three primary places where you might want to use stone around your fire:
Underneath, as a liner for the firepit to improve the drainage and appearance of your fire,
Around the fire as an enclosure to help keep the fire maintained and add visual appeal, or
On the ground beneath your seating area to create a distance between any plant growth and for appearances.
Fire Safe Rock and Brick
Fire-Rated Brick: Fire-rated bricks, or “firebrick,” are commonly found around a permanent firepit for a good reason. These bricks are designed to retain significant amounts of heat without splitting or cracking. They are safe below or around your firepit; some people even construct wood-fired ovens in their yards using fire-rated bricks.
Red Clay Bricks: These old-fashioned bricks are made strictly from high-quality red clay and function like fire-rated bricks due to the excellent heat resistance of the clay. Break one open, and you’ll find it looks the same throughout. It’s important to stick only with bricks made with high-quality red clay throughout. Some modern variants only use red clay slip on the exterior and less-quality clay within to achieve the look of red clay. These will not have the same fire-resistant properties and would not be safe to use beneath or as a direct enclosure around your firepit.
Lava Glass & Lava Rocks: Lava rocks are made out of basalt. While they are highly porous, that becomes a benefit for basalt in a firepit. Liquid and gas can easily flow through these rocks, meaning they don’t tend to hold on to moisture long. Because they are so porous, they tend to stay dry after hard rains and serve as an excellent insulator for the heat. Further, lava rocks are excellent at distributing heat evenly. They retain the heat and release it at a steady pace. They are also a breeze to clean. Simply gather up your lava rocks and soak them in a bucket of water to dislodge any dirt, ash, or other debris collected within their pores. Let them dry completely before lighting a fire over them. Keeping a cover over your firepit when not in use and cleaning the lava rocks once or twice a year will ensure an attractive firepit. It will also improve their drainage and remain safer, as debris can retain moisture hidden within the lava rocks.
Hard Rocks (Granite, Marble, Slate): These are dense rocks; thus, even uncovered outdoors, they are less likely to absorb moisture, leading to cracking and splitting. If you wish to use a hard rock material, consider using it around a firepit ring or grate. This will provide the necessary distance from the fire to prevent trapped moisture from reacting to the heat.
Soft Rocks (Sandstone, River Rock, Natural Rock, Gravel): These rocks are not suitable for direct contact with high heat. You can safely use these rocks as a ground cover in the seating area around your firepit.
Rockin’ Firepit Accessories
Our ancestors often made do with a hole dug into the earth. We’ve evolved since then. The right accessories can make your fireside conversations more enjoyable, easier to start up, snuff out, and clean up. For the simplest solution, a Walden steel firepit grate gets your fire off the ground, leaving clearance to ensure easier clean-up, better burn, and improved safety. The best solution is the Legacy Series Fire Pit Insert Set, which gives you everything you need to build impressive fires year after year safely. This unique closed-system fire pit makes clean-up a cinch, allows for open-fire cooking, and looks great for every time spent fireside. Go ahead, build a fire in a Walden fire pit.