How to Build an Outdoor Brick Fireplace How to Build an Outdoor Brick Fireplace
Building an outdoor brick fireplace not only provides ambiance, utility and warmth to your backyard garden, it also extends the use of the space into the evenings and cooler seasons. These individual masterpieces offer options ranging from a small circular fire pit to a larger structure which will allow grilling, cooking pizza or baking bread. While planning your fireplace you will have to consider cost, materials and building codes in addition to the location of the fireplace itself.
Planning Your Fireplace
Regardless of whether you are building a small fire pit or a full-size structure, begin by measuring the area where you want to build. Construct a drawing, taking into consideration nearby structures, bushes or vegetation and overhanging branches of nearby trees. Check the foundation where you want to place your structure and if you need to dig be sure to to consult your utility companies for underground pipes or wires. If you plan to construct the fireplace on a deck be sure it will support your fireplace. Depending on what you plan to build, you will want to make provisions for insulating your deck so that the fireplace will not create a fire hazard. As best as you can, calculate the quantity of bricks (include fire or heat resistant bricks) and get an estimate of the cost from several suppliers. The fire, or heat resistant bricks are specifically built for use in fireboxes as regular bricks may explode if exposed to high temperatures.
Options available to assist homeowners in building fireplaces range from books to contractors to kits. The enterprising homeowner may want to be creative and build a unique, individualized structure. The first order of business is to build a waist high wall as long as desired. Centered in the middle of the wall will be the fireplace or firebox. This structure will use the fire or heat resistant bricks. Mix these bricks with refractory mortar, not with regular concrete cement or adhesives which can become toxic when heated. For the rest of the structure, carefully follow cement directions and building instructions. Most suppliers of concrete and bricks will carry instructions for mixing concrete and laying bricks. If you are not sure how to build a firebox check on line sources for companies that sell them. This also true for flu inserts and chimneys which come with manufacturers instructions. Use of a t-square and leveler will assist in laying the bricks so that they are even.
Depending on your home's decor and your personal preference, you can use new, used or colored bricks for your fireplace. You can leave the bricks bare, cover them with stucco or masonry veneer, or use a combination of covered and exposed bricks. You can embed timbers or wrought iron into the structure to add additional character. Several suppliers may have photos or actual structures that can offer you ideas for building outdoor fireplaces, as well as free plans and suggestions. Most structures can be built over 2 or 3 weekends.