DIY Firepit

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  #1  
Old 06-18-19, 07:43 AM
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DIY Firepit

Hi all

So, I (finally!) got spousal approval to build a firepit in my backyard.

I know that the max size of the pit allowed by my town is 36" (I am not sure if they mean inside diameter, or outside diameter--will be confirming this).

My plan is to:
  • Dig a 37" diameter circle, down about 6" below grade, ensure level
  • Dig additional 6" wide by 12" deep circle in center and put some gravel in for drainage (we have clay soil)
  • Put 2.5" of stonedust (crushed stone?) down 1" at a time, and tamp it down. Confirm everything is level
  • Stack 12 of these stones in a tight circle (https://thd.co/2WPFnYC). This gives me approx 24" instide diameter, a little over 36" outside. This is first course, and will be below grade.
  • Repeat on three more courses, using a masonry adhesive to ensure it wont fall on our (young) kids if they jump on it
  • add 2" of gravel (NOT RIVER ROCK) to bottom
  • if my math is right, this should give me an approx 36" wide (outside) by 12" above grade fireptit (inside dimensions should be 24" wide by 12" deep (to top of gravel, 14" total to stonedust base)
  • I have a question on fire ring/liner (please see 'questions', below)

I know I need an insert, and one of my options would involve me increasing the size of the pit slightly (see "heavy gauge" liner option below)

My questions for this project are:
  1. Is it necessary to introduce air gaps on the courses above grade? ie: only use 11 blocks in the course/stagger the seams of course)?
  2. I know I need a fire ring. I have heard that the galvanized/cheapest option from Tractor Supply type place may not be 100% safe to burn in... So, I am looking at 'fire rings' and 'fire pit liners'... I am torn between a heavy gauge options (this one: Heavy Gauge Option) or a cheaper option, which would also have air holes, so the fire would get more draft (this one: Cheaper Option)

I guess I am wondering how must air I need to introduce in this. If I buy that heavier gauge liner, it seems like there wouldnt be much air intake from below in the pit-- would I end up wanting to drill holes in it? That said, maybe--however wasteful-- the less expensive option is 'better'? Its less money, AND it has air intake without any further modification needed.

What say the experts? Thank you in advance for any and all advice
 
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  #2  
Old 06-18-19, 09:03 AM
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My fire pit is about 8' dia and is surrounded by 18" boulders.

My pit has had some extreme fires, like when the 36" dia oak tree came down and we were burning 12" slices for about 3 days, yes global warming was effected!!

You mention a lot of steps that I would never install, fires are messy and hot so it's going to get some rough treatment and all that work will be for not!
 
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Old 06-18-19, 09:19 AM
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1. No, you don't need to have air holes. It's probably better not to have them.

2. Galvanized is not good to use as the heat of the fire can release some toxic gasses. But once you burn off the galvanizing it's OK to use. The pretty ring you linked is designed to be used on it's own so you can see the designs. The second one is a liner for a stone or masonry fire pit but you can use it on your own if you wish. Another option is to go to a local metal fabricator or welding shop and say you want an 11ga or 7 ga steel ring 30" in diameter and about 10" high or whatever dimensions you want. As a comparison the heavy duty ring you linked is 14ga (lighter duty).
 
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Old 06-18-19, 10:22 AM
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thanks! My google-fu failed me on the gauge of the 'heavy duty' example I linked to-- it said 2mm, which google indicated was 12 gauge.

I am guessing I want 10 gauge or better, in an ideal world?

WRT the one with all the cutouts, I can basically replace that every year and it would break even with the heavier duty one (the 14 gauge ring) after 3 years (which is what I am guessing these would last). Is there any reason NOT to use the cutout "pretty" one? Premature paver failure?
 
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Old 06-18-19, 10:24 AM
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Your paver life will depend on how you line the fire pit. A fire directly on the pavers has a good chance of cracking and breaking them but some fire brick or a few inches of sand, dirt or gravel in the bottom will protect the pavers from fires that are burned for only an hour or two.
 
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