4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stone Firepit

stone firepit

Let’s face it, we all love the idea of an open fire in a stone firepit, especially as we begin to gear up for spring and summer. Scholars estimate humans learned to control fire between 1.5 million to about a quarter million years ago. Fire provided our ancestors with warmth, light, and protection from predators.  Even today, we still dance and eat around fires just for the comfort and happiness it offers.

Fire pits are one way we can get in touch with our Paleolithic roots. The popularity of an outdoor stone firepit reflects our desire for healthier, simpler food. They not only offer an option for cooking and entertainment, but they are also a unique decorating idea.  

The growing trend of purchasing and building an outdoor firepit may inspire you to jump on the bandwagon, but there a few things to consider when choosing one. You may be deciding if you want a stone firepit to add more options for cooking a great meal or want to upgrade your backyard into a serious entertainment center. You’ll need to consider your budget, materials, safety and where you will install it.

1. Budget

Depending on whether you want to start a simple DIY project or go all out for a full-scale entertainment center built by professionals, your firepit or stone firepit costs can vary over a wide range. A small fire pit that you’d only use occasionally can be as low as $400. These can be obtained at a hardware store. But if you have the resources to go from something spectacular, the price may be much higher.

2. Materials

Fire pits interiors are usually made of metal or fire-resistant stone. They can also be made of concrete or clay. There are several safety concerns with concrete, since an improperly built fire pit without adequate oxidization can crack the concrete wall and even cause an explosion. You should also avoid any fire pits that use or are made of porous river rocks, as these can also crack or explode when subjected to high temperatures.

While metal is very functional, you also need to consider which ones can be safely exposed to the outside elements in all types of weather.  Some - like copper and iron - can rust or oxidize.

A stone firepit has the benefit of bringing natural landscapes into your backyard, with a variety of colors and cuts available. No two stone firepits are exactly alike, nor do the colors fade. Stone can be tumbled to soften their angles and add sheen, or left raw for a more rustic look.  A stone firepit also won’t be damaged from cold weather or rain.

Gravel or lava rock is recommended for the pit’s base.  Logs are also considered good material for fuel, but the smoke from wood can also be dangerous to human health. 

3. Legal and Safety Issues

The fuel you’ll use will present its own set of concerns. Check your local municipality’s laws about what fuels are legal. Burning wood outdoors could actually be prohibited due to air quality concerns, but this fear can be mitigated with a ‘smokeless insert’.  Gas or propane are also popular fuel choices.

The simplest and safest route for your own stone firepit is to get professional builders and installers.  There are companies that will pre-build a stone firepit, offering an authentic home hearth experience. Designing your own stone fire pit allows you to determine the cut, style and color of the stone, then have the pre-built structure delivered and safely installed in your patio area. 

4. Location

Deciding where to place your firepit can be a big decision for some people. It’s recommended to be careful about building your fire pit on a level surface. In addition, you should make sure there are no low-hanging tree branches and the area has enough room for smoke and heat to escape. This will prevent smoke or fire getting to your roof, awnings, railings, or furniture. At least 7 feet of space around the outer surface of your fire pit is optimal. Finally, any fire should burn as far away from grass and other flammable organic materials as possible.

Haynes is Connecticut’s premier outdoor living and materials solution. We offer custom built and pre-finished firepits delivered right to your door and ready to light. If you’re interested in a stone fire pit, get in touch with us or request a quote today.