First Masonry Project - Can I Use Paver Bricks for Outdoor Firepit?


Old 08-01-12, 04:44 PM
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First Masonry Project - Can I Use Paver Bricks for Outdoor Firepit?

HI everyone,

I am just beginning my first masonry project, a brick firepit. I have poured the concrete footer and will be soon installing the firebrick. After that, I lay the brick on the outside of the firebrick and cap it all off.

I am using this as my guideline, however, I am doing it square.

My questions lies with the brick to be used on the outside of the firebrick. I have about 1300 old street paver bricks that I wanted to use on this project. However, they dont have the holes like other brick so I dont know if they would be ok to use here. I am hoping so, as I really like the look of the old pavers, not to mention the cost savings since I already have them.

Your thoughts would be appreciated!
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Old 08-01-12, 04:50 PM
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Use the solid bricks you have.

The modern bricks with holes were developed to make them lighter, cut down on the material used and to allow them to dry and fire quicker. Everything needed for higher speed, modern manufacturing. The holes don't have much to do with the brick's quality or usefulness for one application or another.
Old 08-01-12, 10:08 PM
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That's great. I just didnt know if the holes allowed the mortar to "hold" the bricks better.

As long as I've got a captive audience. I'm planning on using the dry mix refractory mortar to set the firebricks. With this mortar do I need to wet my firebricks before I apply the mortar to the firebrick and set them in place?

Old 08-02-12, 01:31 PM
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I've always thought that pre-wetting bricks or block is not a good idea, in that doing so will compromise the mortar's bond with the bricks/blocks. Maybe some professionals will be along shortly to clarify.

If I were using (mortaring) smooth paver bricks on a project, before starting I would first perform an easy experiment to test the mortar joints' bond strength. It would be a shame to complete the entire project, only to find out that the pavers aren't bonding to each other well enough to prevent the fire pit from falling apart. The test would involve mixing up a small batch of mortar and using it to bond 2 bricks together. If I couldn't separate the bricks from each other (unless really working at it) after a week of cure time, then it's good to go. On the other hand, if the bricks separate easily, then I'd be tempted to still use the paver bricks, but first scarify each of them along the bonding surfaces. A few deep passes (randomly cutting into each paver about 1/8" or so) with a masonry wheel on an angle grinder should do it, giving the mortar much better "grab" on the pavers' surfaces.

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