Fire pits are one of the coolest things you can implement in your hardscape design. It brings a rustic aspect to your project and it can be very useful during the winter at outside gatherings. But what is the right kind of bricks to use for a fire pit?
We are going to discuss not only what is the right kind of brick to use, but how to make the entire fire pit.
What is the Right Kind of Brick for a Fire Pit?
Fire pits can reach high temperatures, so regular bricks won’t work. Regular bricks will crack at high temperatures and can cause a real accident if used in fire pits.
Instead, you are going to use firebricks, also called refractory bricks. This type of brick is much denser than regular bricks and goes through a kiln process to be able to withstand high temperatures.
They are a bit more expensive, but they are the safer and long-lasting option. A proper fire pit made out of firebricks can last a long time.
Materials to Make Your Own Fire Pit
The construction of a fire pit is a relatively easy enough DIY hardscape project, depending on what you have in mind. There are safety aspects you need to be mindful of and sometimes your fire pit project becomes too complex to handle.
That’s why your best option will always be to hire professionals to do the job for you. Still, we’re going to give you a guideline on how the process is done. Starting with the materials you’re going to need.
- Refractory Cement
- Rocks or Gravel
Shovel and level are pretty straightforward, a staple in the house of any DIY hardscape aficionado.
Firebricks, as we mentioned, are the bricks of choice when building fire pits. The number of bricks you will need depends on the type of fire pit you have in mind.
Luckily enough, firebricks can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. With the right planning and calculations, you can easily find the right combination to fit your project. But usually, a good approximation is that 25 bricks will make for a 3ft fire pit.
Refractory Cement is another important part of the project. Just as regular bricks can crack under high temperatures, so can regular cement. For fire pits, the better option is to use refractory cement.
Refractory cement has superior thermodynamic properties that prevent its expansion when submitted to high temperatures. They will usually come pre-mixed but, if you choose a brand that doesn’t, simply add water in small increments until you reach a “peanut butter” consistency.
How to Make Your Fire Pit
Step 01 – Landlines and Proper Distance
Before even thinking about digging, you want to make sure you’re not risking hitting any utility lines. If you’re not absolutely sure the area you’re going to dig is free of landlines, call 811 or go to call811.com.
Also, fire pits need to be at least 25ft away from any other structure or tree, so that needs to be taken into account.
Step 02 – Digging
Digging is easy enough if you’re sure there’s no landline underneath. It will all depend on what kind of fire of pit do you have in mind.
If you want the bottom of your fire pit to be at the same level as the ground, for example, you probably have to dig a few inches more to account for the paver or mortar you will have to add it.
The firebricks will have to be mortared on that base and they will need some space between each other, so take that into consideration when thinking about the diameter of your fire pit. Also, remember to always level your ground as you go along.
Step 03 – Base
With the ground prepared, now is time to make the base of your fire pit.
For starters, you can use a weed block fabric if you want to. Many people choose not to since they don’t prevent weeds 100% and cause more harm than good later on, in some cases.
If you decide to go for one, simply place it on the ground, covering your whole hole.
Whether you used the weed block fabric or not, the next step is to either place the firebricks or pour the concrete on the hole. Placing the bricks is easy, just make sure they are not too close to each other.
Pour concrete is a little bit trickier, but easily done with patience and care. Simply pour the concrete in small amounts and spread it over the hole with a level object.
Step 04 – Mortar the Firebricks
With your base done, is time to build the walls of your fire. Simply add a thin layer of mortar in each brick, in the face that is going to be buttered on the other bricks.
Place them on top of each other according to what you developed in your planning phase.
About the spacing of the bricks, which is really important. You want to leave a little space between the bricks so the air can flow. This is really important to avoid accidents and to make the fire pit actually warm the space around it.
This space can be subtly added between each brick or into bigger sections called air holes, where you practically skip half a brick entirely.
Step 05 – Final Adjustments
Once you’re finished with the walls of your fire pit, you want to clean any excess and split mortar around it. Do it as soon as you can before it dries.
Wait a few hours for the concrete to dry and finish it off by covering the bottom of your fire pit with a layer of rocks or gravel.
Firebrick Supplier and Professional Help
So firebricks are the proper brick to use in your fire pit project, alongside refractory cement. Both have the property to withstand high temperatures without expanding and, therefore, cracking.
As you could see, is not exactly a simple DIY project. There are a lot of calculations and safety issues to consider. Your best approach to have a job well, as always, is to hire professionals. And for that, you can always contact us here at JS Brick.
We can help you not only with your fire pit project but with any other hardscape need you might have, especially the installation, supply, and maintenance of pavers.
Give us a call at +1 941 586 9140 for a free estimate on our services, we’ll be happy to hear from you.