Firepits are always a gorgeous addition to any garden – they are easily customizable to fit in with whatever shape, size, or type of garden you have. You can also build them yourself, making it a cheap, fast, and relatively simple way to transform your garden. The question is, can you use regular brick?
Regular bricks are not recommended for constructing the inner wall of your fire pit as they can crack and split. It’s recommended to use firebrick as the building material as it’s designed to withstand the intense heat from fires and is, therefore, safer and more durable.
There are many styles of fire pits, and putting one together is more complicated than just popping a few bricks down. What materials you use will depend on the type and size of the fire pit you want. Still, it’s essential to know which are safe, so you and your family can enjoy your new firepit worry-free!
Let’s look at regular bricks versus firebricks, and if there are any other materials you can use instead.
Should You Use Regular Brick For A Fire Pit?
Regular brick cannot be used for the inner wall of a fire pit, but it can be used for the outer wall. The outer wall will not reach the high temperatures needed to crack regular brick. Firebricks should be used for the inner wall, as they can withstand 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. A typical fire reaches temperatures of 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Firebricks are specifically designed to withstand the heat of a fire over a long period, so they are the best and safest option for the inner wall. However, the outer wall can be constructed from regular brick, as the outer wall will stay much cooler.
In terms of constructing a fire pit, you have the inner and outer wall, the cap, and typically some decorative stones or pavers for the bottom of the pit.
The cap is a flat surface surrounding the opening of the top of the pit. Flagstone is best here, but any fire-resistant material is a good choice.
Let’s take a look at what other materials can be used for your inner wall and what you should use for the rest of the fire pit.
What Other Materials Can You Use for Your Fire Pit?
Firebricks are the best material for the inner wall, but you can use concrete, pavers or a steel fire ring. The outer wall and cap can use other fire-safe materials like concrete, stone, or pavers.
A steel fire ring can be used for the inner wall (provided your fire pit is round), and this will absorb most of the intense heat. It is still recommended to place firebricks outside the fire ring as well. Better to be safe than sorry!
In terms of other materials, this will significantly depend on your budget and your fire pit’s size. Some materials will be more expensive than others, and of course, the larger the fire pit, the higher the price.
The shape may also impact the budget as you may need more bricks to round off corners or create quirky shapes. Let’s take a look at a few other options:
- Concrete: This is cheap and can be used to construct all aspects of the fire pit, but it’s not as good-looking as other materials.
- Regular bricks: These are fine to use for the outer wall and are also nice and cheap to buy. You’ll need to break these in half when building, so try to purchase the bricks with holes to make this easier.
- Masonry blocks: Blocks are usually made from brick, granite or concrete, and they tend to be a little more expensive but still cheaper than buying a whole fire pit pre-made. Plus, they do look lovely!
- Concrete pavers: These are primarily used when a fire pit is built as a centrepiece for a patio, but you can use them in other fire pits. If you have a patio already, try to get the same style of pavers so it all matches.
- Flagstone: This is the best material to use for the cap.
You won’t have a problem getting your hands on these materials, and if you need a cost breakdown for each, it’s best to visit your local brickyard and home store. It is crucial to remember not to use any flammable or non-porous materials to keep you and your family safe.
In order to get an idea of the price, here’s a list of commonly used materials sold by popular home stores:
- Concrete masonry block: $0,70 per brick.
- Red Clay Standard Brick: $0,66 per brick.
- Fire ring: $24,99
- Common concrete block: $0,49
- Retaining wall block: $1,28
- Firebricks: $33,99 for 6.
What Should You Do Before Building a Fire Pit?
If you’re installing a fire pit in your garden, there are a few key things you should do and bear in mind before you begin.
- Check for utility lines: If you need to dig as part of the construction, always check with your utility company beforehand. You want to avoid any utility lines as this could be a potentially lengthy and expensive fix if you hit one!
- Check with your local authority: You should always check with your local authority to ensure you don’t need permission or have any restrictions in size or location. Someone may need to check the area before installing, so it’s better to find out beforehand.
- Think about the placement: Your firepit will be smoky, so consider where the pit will be in terms of the windows and doors of your (and your neighbours) house. The last thing you want is to have to try and get that smoky smell out of soft furnishings in the house… we all know how much of a nightmare that would be!
- Consider trees: Always look for any overhanging trees – they are flammable, and building a fire pit underneath would be dangerous. Also, consider bushes and structures and just make sure it’s not too close to anything that might catch fire or overheat and break.
What Else Should You Consider When Building a Fire Pit?
I know you must be eager to jump in and get started. Thankfully, building a fire pit yourself doesn’t require a lot of time, money, or considerable skill. Have a look below at the details surrounding timeframes and cost, so you’re fully prepared.
Time: This should take 2-3 days, depending on how many hours to devote to the building. If you’re a novice, then allow an extra day or two.
Cost: Building a fire pit is always cheaper than buying one and having someone else install it. The exact price will vary depending on the size and materials used. However, an estimation of between $50-$200 is reasonable.
How many bricks? This will also depend on the size and shape of your fire pit. You will need roughly 25 firebricks and 120 regular bricks for a 3ft (in diameter) fire pit.
Safety: Always keep safety as the number 1 priority. If it’s not built correctly or the wrong materials are used, steam can build up, causing it to explode, which is highly dangerous. Ask your local brickyard, a local builder, or your local authority if you’re unsure of anything.