A fire pit offers you warmth and comfort when having family or guests over for a gathering that goes well into the night. Therefore, you’ll want to choose the right one for your yard. There is so much to consider when it comes to shopping for a fire pit. From the location, cost, and fuel type to fire pit materials. That's why doing some research in advance can save you a great deal of stress when it's finally time to buy one. To make your shopping experience less stressful, we’ve prepared an elaborative guide on everything you need to know before buying a fire pit.
Types of Fire Pits
First and foremost, it's crucial to learn about the different types of fire pits. You’ll find fire pits of varying sizes, materials, and styles. Some of the most common fire pits include:
Fire Pit. This is the standard fire pit that’s exactly what it sounds like – a sunken pit in your backyard where you can safely start a blazing fire. You can DIY or hire a contractor. Usually, fire pits are large – at least 10 feet in diameter - and are ideal if you have plenty of space in your yard.
Fire Pit Bowl. This is a temporary fire pit that you can move from one location in your home to another. Fire bowls come in different sizes and are made from various materials. The advantage of the fire bowl is that you can easily store it when the weather gets real nasty, ensuring durability. You can opt for bowls that use logs or glass beads if it's gas-powered.
Fire Pit Table. Fire tables, while rare, are super cool. They combine form and function in one, giving you warmth and a place to place your drinks, food, or even feet. They are mostly fueled by gas or propane since a wood-burning table can be a lot to handle, not to mention, pose a fire hazard risk.
Table-Top Fire Pits. If you lack the space for a fully-fledged fire table, you can pick a tabletop fire pit that’s more portable. They are designed to fit atop your patio table and require less maintenance.
Chiminea. Another cool style is the chiminea, which is slowly growing in popularity. They are more common in Mexico and the southwest states. Traditionally, they are made from fired clay and used for both cooking and heating the home. The modern chiminea is made from modern materials, and the tall pipes direct the smoke upwards, while the heat comes from the front.
Choosing the Fuel Type
You can choose wood, propane, or natural gas as the fuel type for your fire pit. Wood is the traditional fuel source because it's cheap and brings that nostalgic and legitimate warmth of the campfire. However, wood-burning requires more maintenance, and then there is the issue of smoke. Plus, wood entails more safety precautions to prevent any hazards. Likewise, your local laws might prohibit the use of wood on covered patios or porches.
Propane, on the other hand, is more convenient and safe. Fire pits that use propane can be activated with the flip of a switch and give you more control when it comes to setting the right temperature. The downside is the cost, which can be way higher than wood-fueled fire pits.
Material Used for the Fire Pit
The material of the fire pit determines its quality, durability, and price. If you go for steel, keep in mind that it can rust. To avoid that, you’ll want to look for a powder-coated one. The advantage of steel is that its lightweight, making the fire pit easily portable.
Stone is a popular option when choosing fire pit materials for varied reasons. Not only does it blend with the existing outdoor features, but it also won't rust, making it quite durable. However, the stone is susceptible to cracking if you live in regions with extremely cold temperatures. The cycle between freezing and thawing can cause the stone to crack.
HDPE Lumber is the most ideal fire pit material, especially for those living in areas with salty sea air, cold winters, or rainy seasons. The marine-grade material is weather resistant and doesn’t rust. Plus, it's on the heavy side, which can come in handy during periods of torrential storms and winds.
It makes sense to want to erect the fire pit right in the middle of your yard as a centerpiece or near the back patio. However, you want to check the building regulations first before you decide where to install it. Some factors may affect the location of the fire pit.
Top on the list is space constraints and fuel type. The fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from structures of any kind. Choose a spot that will prevent fires, such as away from bushes and low-hanging branches, on those windy evenings. Keep in mind that embers from the fire can be carried by the wind, and you don’t want to burn down your neighbor's fence!
Moreover, it's wise to consider from what direction are the gushing winds during the cold months. For safety issues, erect the fire pit in an area protected from the high winds.
Fire pits come in different sizes and models, each with varying costs. The basic model, usually made from steel and set up for wood-burning only, costs as low as $100. Free-standing models made with stone, powder-coated metal, or concrete can start from $300 to $2,000, depending on some variables.
It's equally important to weigh your options and choose what will suit you best between a portable and permanent fire pit. This will depend on factors like your budget, the location, and the materials used. Portable options are ideal since you can easily move them around to wherever the crowd wants to gather.
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