The backyard fire pit has slowly worked its way to the forefront of the most popular backyard landscaping features. These days it’s right up there with decks, outdoor kitchens and water features and this is true whether we’re talking about Los Angeles or Piedmont, SD. The fire pit has taken off primarily by virtue of word of mouth. As more people have had personal experiences with these backyard features they’ve spread the word to their friends and sought to include them in their own yards. One of the best things about the fire pit is that it can be constructed from a wide variety of different materials. This ensures that it will always dovetail nicely with whatever style your house may be.
Building an Outdoor Fire Pit: Material Considerations
One thing to keep in mind when designing and building your pit is that, even in Rapid City, SD there are building and fire codes that need to be adhered to. So before you etch the design of your pit into stone make sure it will pass inspectional muster. Or better yet, let the pros at L&M handle the design and construction of yours. This will guarantee a happy outcome. That said, here is a brief guide to fire pit material considerations.
Copper-Copper is a popular choice for a number of reasons from its durability to its timeless look. In most cases where copper is used it’s used exclusively for the fire bowl, which is then set on a base of masonry or steel.
- It’s malleable
- It’s easy to form into whatever shape you want.
- It’s highly durable.
- It’s heat and corrosion resistant.
- It looks great.
- It’s expensive. At least more expensive than some alternatives.
- It’s relatively high maintenance. (The keyword being “relatively”)
Cast Iron - Cast iron as a building material goes way back to the ancient world. It has retained its relevance into the 21st century because, not only is it incredibly strong, but it’s also better at resisting corrosion than some other metals.
- It radiates heat to add to the warming effect of the outdoor fire pit.
- It can be coated with heat resistant paint to match any color scheme.
- It looks and feel permanent.
- It’s durable as all get-out and can literally last for centuries.
- It’s too heavy to be used for a portable fire pit.
Ceramic - The legendary Space Shuttle was able to withstand the fiery inferno of re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere because it had thousands of ceramic tiles on its underside to absorb heat. That should give you some indication why ceramic is a popular material for building fire pits.
- Incredible ability to absorb heat.
- Can be molded into any shape you desire.
- Can be made in any color you like.
- Is relatively lightweight so it can be used for a table top fire pit.
- It’s a brittle material that breaks easier than most others.
GraniteGranite is a traditional building material that’s been used for things like fountains and countertops for thousands of years. Many homeowners have used granite to build their outdoor fire pit because they can’t resist the undeniable beauty and durability of the material.
- Can last for centuries.
- Provides a timeless, upscale aura wherever it’s used.
- It’s available in a variety of colors and veining patterns.
- It’s resistant to scratching.
- You won’t be making a portable pit out of granite. Way too heavy.
- Granite is going to set you back some serious cash
Concrete - Concrete’s reputation for being a strictly utilitarian material means it’s often overlooked for anything but travel surfaces and skyscraper framing. However, concrete is actually an incredibly versatile material that can be molded into whatever shape you want for your outdoor fire pit.
- Design is limited only by your imagination.
- It’s one of the most affordable materials available.
- It will last for centuries if properly cared for.
- It’s fully fire resistant and does not retain heat.
- It doesn’t retain heat so no radiant heating effects are possible.
- It’s heavy so it’s not for portable fire features.
If you want a pit that isn’t going anywhere during heavy weather events in Rapid City, SD you can’t go wrong with cast iron, concrete or granite. You won’t be able to lug these materials back and forth from the house as needed but at least with cast iron you’ll be able to take it inside for the winter, if you want.
The outdoor fire pit is a backyard feature that’s likely here to stay. What the furnace is to the home interior the fire feature is to the outdoors. But it’s more than just a way to stay warm outside on chilly Piedmont, SD evenings. It’s also an aesthetic addition that will ramp up both the curb appeal and market value of your home.