Relaxing around burning flames on a chilly evening is really enjoyable. Fire pits can really spruce up social moments in outdoor areas during a cold weather. Most wood burning fire pits are made of heat conducting materials such as iron. So will a fire pit damage my concrete patio?
Yes, a fire fit will damage concrete or any heat sensitive surface like asphalt or wood beneath it. Heat from a fire pit will slowly weaken your concrete over time, causing cracking and spalling. You can prevent this by putting a fireproof mat under your fire pit to stop the heat transfer.
Concrete is one of the most used material for construction of patios due to its availability, affordability and durability. During winter or cold weather, wood burning fire pits are essentially used to produce excellent heat for keeping a patios and backyards warm.
Most propane and wood burning fire pits have a wrought-iron, steel or copper bottom that conduct heat which is capable of burning anything heat-sensitive placed under them.
Although concrete is not flammable, it will burn if exposed to high temperatures of heat. Both portable and permanent fire pits are capable of burning your concrete causing it to expand and crack.
Apart from damaging a concrete, a fire pit will burning down a wooden deck, lawn grass and asphalt surfaces beneath it. Avoid using it on these areas if there is no proper mechanism of protecting heat from reaching the underneath surface.
When building a brick and rock fire pit, ensure there is nothing around capable of catching fire. Sparks, embers and hot ash can also ignite fire when they breach from the pit and land on combustible materials.
Fire comes with great risks that should always be mitigated. Observe fire safety requirements, place thermal barriers under the fire pits and cover a burning fire pit with a spark screen to prevent sparks or embers from flying away from the pit.
How do I protect my Patio from a Fire Pit?
You can prevent fire damages to your outdoor areas in the following ways:
1. Heat proof mats/pads
Placing a heat retardant mat or pad under a fire pit that is above the ground will greatly prevent heat from damaging concrete or wooden deck.
Fire resistant mats for fire pits are made to resist fire and heat. The mats are usually easy to set up, portable thus suitable for any outdoor use.
Heat proof mats also helps in collecting ash and other debris which makes it easy to clean your patio. One advantage of above the ground fire pits is their mobility and ability to protect heat from damaging your surfaces.
Permanent fire pits and outdoor fire places are professionally constructed using fire proof materials in the inside such as fire brick. On the outer side, wall are also made with heat resistant materials such as traditional brick, stone, concrete pavers or tile. Sparks and embers are protected from leaving the pit with a spark screen.
2. Fire pits with screen protector
Fire pit sparks can also ignite fire when they land on flammable materials such as fabric, dry leaves and grass among others. Fire pit spark screens are very essential in containing sparks, embers and ash from leaving a pit and burning your family, guests or pets.
Using a fire pit spark screen is the first step to safely enjoy your outdoor fire. They are also a requirement by law in most local municipalities as a way of preventing fire hazards. It is an offence if you are found using uncovered fire pit.
Fire pit screens come in various shapes and designs. Commonly we have a lift off semicircular dome shaped fire pit that has a wire mesh and a handle at the top. There is also a hinged fire pit spark screen that features two hinged doors on the front which you can fold on top so that you can tend to your fire.
Pivot fire pit spark screen opens on either ends when you want to gain access to fire. Finally, you will also find a square fire pit screen that only fits on square fire pit screens. It features a hinged door on the front panel where you can access fire.
Since fire pits comes in various shapes of difference measurements dimensionally, you should visit a nearby hardware for customization of your fire pit spark screen.
3. Keeping an eye
To further mitigate risks from a fire pit, clean up dry leaves, remove fabrics and other flammable materials from around the fire pit. Also do not leave a fire pit unattended or leave it burning overnight while you are asleep. Be watchful and be ready to extinguish fire if anything goes wrong.
What to consider when buying a fire pit
While choosing a fire pit narrows down to your own preferences, there are some factors that will also influence your decision. They include the following:
There are varieties of fire pits with different modes of powering. If you like the natural cracking and popping sounds, then wood burning fire pits are for you. Be ready to deal with some smoke, ash and some debris.
If you don’t have time for starting fire and you like some calm flames, then propane or natural gas powered fire pits will be your perfect choice. While propane and natural gas fire pits emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, they do not produce smoke, ash or fine debris associated with wood burning.
Various designs of fire pits come built with different types of materials. This also creates differences on how the fire pit stands up to the weather. Stainless steel and iron are some of the most durable materials although very heavy. Aluminum holds up well against elements but weakens with higher temperatures.
Where you want to use your fire pit from matters a lot. Some fire pits aren’t suitable for camping or hiking. They can either be too small or not easily portable. Additionally, you cannot just use a fire pit anywhere without minding the safety and nature of your surroundings.
This is a key factor in choosing a fire pit. A small spark or ember can cause a fire accident. That is why fire pits with shields are much better to consider. Fire pits can also damage concrete, wood, asphalt and any heat sensitive surfaces underneath. You should therefore invest in a fireproof mat if you want to enjoy a bonfire without causing damages to your hard earned properties.
Tips for using a fire pit
- Keep kids and pets away from the fire pit and don’t touch the hot fire bowl or side with your hands
- If you decide to have a BBQ with the fire pit, prepare a special BBQ shelf. Do not use the log grate as BBQ shelf
- In order to prolong the service life of the fire pit, don’t put ice or water into the fire bowl. This will lead to the rusting after some time.
- Invest in a fire pit cover to protect against elements when the fire pit is not in use or during storage.
- Observe fire guidelines, do not use a fire pit near anything flammable materials and remember to place a fireproof mat under the fire pit if you are using on fire sensitive surfaces.
Gathering around a burning fire pit with family or friends creates unforgettable memories. However, fire might come with unexpected risks. To stay safe and protect your property, adhere to fire safety guidelines. Use a heat resistant fire proof mat under your fire pit to protect your concrete patio, wooden deck or lawn grass.