How to Build a Gas Fire Pit
Ready to spruce up your outdoor space with a fire pit and the thrilling opulence of controlled flame, dancing to your whims? Eager to exert your willpower over Mother Nature herself with your own bare hands? Then you’re our kind of people, and you’re in the right place. A fire pit is always a great way to enhance an outdoor space — and, under the right circumstances, it can be an exciting DIY project too! This how-to guide simplifies the building process for a DIY gas fire pit made of stacked paver stones. These landscaping stones are inexpensive and can be found at a local hardware store. Combine them with our fire pit burner kit and finish it off with dazzling fire glass or traditional lava rock!
It is worth noting that a dry stacked fire pit is considered temporary. To build a more permanent fire pit, we recommend starting off with a Ready to Finish Fire Pit. The galvanized structural steel enclosure is made with a tubing frame, non-combustible hardboard shell and arrives ready to connect. All you need to do is finish with masonry stones to match the decor.
Parts Needed For Your Fire Pit
If you're following along with our video on building a paver stone gas fire pit, then you'll find all the parts you need listed below. There are a few things you'll need that aren't listed though, and for those you'll need to head down to your local hardware or home improvement store. Along with our wide selection of DIY fire pit parts, you'll need paver stones, sand, gravel, a 4-foot leveling device, shovel, and rubber mallet.
Things to Consider Before Building Your Gas Fire Pit
Professional Gas Line Installation
This is pretty important. Making gas connections is not a fully “Do It Yourself” project. Before you do anything, you'll need to contact a licensed professional to determine if your gas setup will be able to handle the additional load of a gas fire pit. They can also diagnose any problems and make corrections before the install to achieve the best results. Remember, all gas connections should be made by a qualified technician and in accordance with local codes and ordinances.
Gas Fuel Types
When compared to bulk or bottled propane, a natural gas fire pit costs less to operate but costs more to set up. When installing the gas line, it is important to remember that the length, width, and pressure of the gas line can affect the flame height. Pressure drops across distance, which is why it is so important to verify that your gas lines can supply the additional pressure and volume necessary. In part, that’s what makes the alternative so attractive: it’s a lot easier to hook up a portable propane tank than install a new gas line! But convenience does have its drawbacks — in this case, staying on top of your propane gas storage. If your property already includes a natural gas line serviced by your local utility company, it probably makes more sense in the long run to have a licensed professional connect this to your fire pit.
Choose the Right Sized Burner
Physics being what it is, a bigger burner doesn’t always mean bigger flames — after a point, bigger burners actually shorten them! From a safety perspective, we strongly recommend choosing a fire pit ring that is 12 inches narrower than the inside diameter of your fire pit. Let’s put that into layman’s terms: for example, if the inside diameter is 42 inches wide, you’ll need to use a 30 inch fire pit ring, which guarantees a safe buffer between the heat and your fire pit’s edge. Besides that, it helps foster an aesthetically pleasing look!
Know your fuel type early in your project, and always plan to allow proper ventilation. Since propane gas is heavier than air, all vents should be installed as low as possible to help any unburned gas escape containment. Natural gas is the other way around — it’s lighter than air, so it rises — so those vents should be placed higher on your build. Furthermore, install your vents on opposite sides of your fire pit’s circumference; this is a fundamental safety requirement that helps prevent unburned gas from collecting and causing an explosion, in the case of a gas leak or the flames blowing out.
Planning For Your Fire Pit
- Pick the spot where the fire pit is to be located. Level ground is best and will require less work to stack the stones even.
- Lay a ring of bricks and set the pan in to make sure the spacing is correct.
- Mark the outside of the ring with a shovel so that you can dig the foundation. Dig deep enough for one stone plus an inch of sand.
- Now is the time to run the gas line!
- Level the bottom of the hole with about an inch of sand.
Building Your Fire Pit
Dry stack the stones. Stop after each layer to make sure all of the stones are level. If stones are not level, use a rubber mallet to gently tap it level. Alternate each layer so that the stones overlap the previous layer. Add a layer of pea gravel to the bottom of the fire pit to help it drain. Plan to leave openings on both sides for venting. This can be done by leaving a single stone out on each side on the first level.
Mount your control valve to the fire pit wall. If you have a paver block bracket, that’s probably your easiest option, but other perfectly fine methods to mount the control valve include drilling a hole into the stone or chipping a stop to fit the valve. Once that’s done, now’s the time to make the gas connections and install the burner and burner pan. Have a qualified technician make all connections and test them before continuing. Once all connections have been tested, place the final layer of stones around the fire pit.
Fill the burner pan with no more than 2 to 3 inches of fire glass or lava rock. For a more traditional look, we recommend lava rock and ceramic logs. If a more modern look is wanted, go with fire glass. We have a dazzling assortment of sizes, shapes, and colors. To calculate how much fire glass is needed, use our Fire Glass Calculator. Once the connections are made and the pit is filled, it is now time for you enjoy your new fire pit!
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