Home Improvement

10 Questions to Ask Before Installing a Home Fire Pit

10 Questions to Ask Before Installing a Home Fire Pit

The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer. It’s time for long summer nights spent catching fireflies, dining al fresco, and making s’mores!

A home fire pit is a perfect addition to any backyard, and it makes these special nights even more enjoyable. If you have the space, it’s the perfect way to extend your outdoor living space!

While it can be a wonderful addition to your exterior, a fire pit is also a major investment. Before you create a space and install one at your home, it’s important to understand how to do so correctly.

Today, we’re sharing 10 questions that will help you ace the installation process and get it right the first time. This way, you can start enjoying your new fire pit as quickly as possible!

1. Where Should We Install It?

When it comes to how to position your backyard fire pit, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. You’re free to install yours anywhere you want, though experts recommend keeping it at least 10 to 25 feet from any flammable structure. In addition to your house, this also includes:

  • Trees
  • Outdoor buildings
  • Vehicles
  • Wooden decks
  • Neighboring properties

Instead of stressing over logistics, think about how you plan to use this spot in the future.

Will it be an extension of an outdoor kitchen? If so, place it near the spot where you plan to install those fixtures, so you don’t have to walk too far to bring snacks and food between each area.

Or, would you prefer the fire pit to be more isolated, tucked back into a corner where you can pretend you’re camping in the wild? As long as you don’t mind hauling marshmallows and chocolate bars a little farther out, find an empty corner and prepare for the next step!

2. Should We Use Gas or Wood?

When they first hit the market, most fire pits were designed as simple, circular structures with pieces of firewood inside. You’d simply light wood, grab your treat, and sit back.

Today, you can still find plenty of fire pits that are set up the exact same way. If you go this route, it helps to find a reliable source for firewood, like Buy Firewood Direct. This is a great place to find kiln-dried logs for sale at an affordable price point!

However, there’s also another option to consider: gas. Many homeowners prefer a gas fire pit over a wood one for one important reason: There’s no smoke!

If you’ve ever sat or stood around a fire pit, you know that traveling smoke can be a major nuisance. Just when you think you’ve moved to the right spot and you’re safe from the fumes and fog, it always seems to find you again. Not only does it make it difficult to have a conversation, but it also leaves your clothes and hair smelling like soot all night and into the next day.

With a gas fire pit, you’ll never have to worry about that issue. Plus, there aren’t any sparks flying around, so these models are often safer.

3. Should We Install a Permanent or Portable Home Fire Pit?

Permanent fire pits are usually built directly into the ground. Then, you can either add built-in seats and benches around the pit, or purchase chairs to sit around it. These are great if you’ve already chosen the perfect spot for your installation and you know you’ll never need to move it.

Permanent fire pits tend to look more stately and established, but they take up more space than you prefer. In addition, they can leave you stranded if you ever change your mind in the future. If you think that you might grow restless with one location, consider an above-ground fire pit, instead.

These are designed to be portable, so you can easily move them from one location to the next. They come in a range of different shapes, sizes, materials, and fuel types. They’re ideal for homeowners who don’t have as much space in their backyard or patio.

4. What Material Should It Be?

When researching a fire pit for your home, you’ll quickly find that there are lots of different materials to choose from. From inexpensive pre-fabricated pieces to heavy concrete stone, the options run the gamut. You can also find fire pits made out of brick and powder-coated steel.

Not sure which one to choose? If you’re stuck, think about your current backyard aesthetics. Is your patio modern or contemporary, with sleek lines and cool tones?

If so, then a portable steel fire pit will be ideal. If it looks more traditional, then consider a stone or brick one that’s built to blend seamlessly into the existing landscape. Make sure you order enough of the material to extend all the way around the fire pit.

It can take a while to understand your preferred home decor style. The furnishings you choose for your interior will usually reflect your exterior tastes, though this isn’t always the case. This guide can help you narrow down the options and decide the types of looks you love.

5. What Type of Surface Should We Use?

Regardless of the specific type of fire pit material you use, you won’t just set it right into (or on top of) the ground. Rather, you’ll need to support it with some type of material that can keep it level and looking great.

Again, there’s not a one-size-fits-all type of material that you should use. Some homeowners prefer the look of broken and decomposed granite, while others prefer the neat and classic appearance of pea gravel.

For a more permanent fixture, consider surrounding your fire pot in sturdier materials, such as tile, concrete, or stone. Before you add the material you choose, remember to place a fireproof pad beneath the fire pit itself. If yours comes with a protective screen or stand, then install those accessories before adding the materials, too.

6. How Tall and Wide Should It Be?

When measuring a fire pit for your yard, you might not give too much thought to how tall it should be. Yet, this is an important question to ask. They come in a variety of different heights and sizes but think about how you plan to use yours.

If you dream of propping your feet on the edge of your fire pit while sinking your teeth into an ooey-gooey s’more, then you need it to be at least 12 to 15 inches tall. This is about the same height as a standard coffee table, and it’s ideal for resting your feet after a long day.

To make sure all of your guests can comfortably visit with one another, try to build it at between 36 and 44 inches wide, as well. This way, you can see all the way around the pit while still maintaining a cozy feeling.

Do you plan to incorporate built-in seating around your fire pit? If so, ask your contractor to build the pit so it sits flush with your seating. You can even extend the edge around the pit a little so there’s plenty of room for everyone to kick back and relax. If you plan to sit directly on the fire pit rather than use any type of seating, then make it a little taller at 18 to 20 inches.

While designing your seating, make sure the fire pit isn’t so tall that it obstructs your line of sight. You want to be able to see everyone clearly, and the structure shouldn’t impede your conversation.

7. How Can We Turn It Into a Conversation Spot?

An expert fire pit installation won’t add any value or enjoyment to your home if it just sits on your patio or yard, unused. This should be a central social spot in your home, and one where you can make lots of memories for years to come.

For that reason, it’s smart to think about how you can make it as cozy and comfortable as possible. In addition to banquette seating, add plenty of chairs so everyone has a place to sit when they come to visit. You can also add other seats nearby, such as long benches, hamocks, and even rocking chairs.

The goal is to keep everyone happy and engaged while they roast marshmallows and tell stories outside together. To that end, add a few side tables around the area so everyone has a spot to rest their drink. Throw in some cozy blankets and lots of pillows, and you’ll never want to leave!

During the setup, don’t forget to make sure you have WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity out there. You’ll need those connections when you want to play music for an epic dance party! If you’re not sure which specific jams to play, check out this comprehensive guide.

8. What Weather Does the Area Get?

It might go without saying, but remember that you don’t want to place your fire pit in a location that might expose it to hazardous weather conditions. For instance, if a spot in your backyard stays pretty windy, then install it away from that area.

If you ignore this warning and install it there anyway, then a spark from the fire pit could catch wind and travel onto a neighboring surface. If that surface isn’t fireproof, the results could be costly and catastrophic.

The ground should be level and even, capable of supporting such a structure for an extended period of time. When finalizing your installation spot, research the direction that the wind most commonly moves in that area. Then, picture smoke billowing in the same direction.

Does it go directly toward a bedroom window or a central part of the house, like your kitchen? Is it near windows that you prefer to keep open most of the time? If so, consider relocating the pit to ensure that the smoke travels in a safe flow.

9. Do We Have the Right Safety Gear?

A night outside enjoying the fire pit could quickly turn dangerous if your fire burns out of control. That’s why it’s smart to invest in a few key pieces of safety equipment.

Start with a high-quality fire blanket. Keep it within arm’s reach when you’re using your fire pit. This way, you can quickly smother any fire that escapes the confines of the pit.

We also recommend keeping a fire extinguisher in a nearby building, such as a patio shed or garage. For maximum safety, look for one that’s registered as a multipurpose model. This means that it can safely and securely extinguish a range of different types of fires, such as:

  • Class A fires that include combustibles
  • Class B fires that include flammable liquids
  • Class C fires that include electrical components

You may also want to leave grill gloves nearby so people can safely use tongs and grilling sticks to roast veggies, marshmallows, and more over the fire! These accessories don’t cost too much, but you’ll be glad you have them on hand in case of an emergency.

10. Can We Afford It?

Finally, let’s talk price point. A fire pit can extend the resale value of your home and it will definitely make your yard more enjoyable. However, you don’t want to go into debt over it.

If you have your eye on a premium model, then take the time to save for it. If aesthetics matter less to you than function, you may be able to snag a less-expensive one at a great price point. By taking the time to budget responsibly, you can enjoy your fire pit with confidence!

Enjoy Your Home Fire Pit All Year Long

Deciding to install a home fire pit is a major step for any homeowner. It’s one purchase that has an almost immediate ROI. As soon as you place one near your home, you can start creating the perfect hangout spot.

Make sure yours is cozy, and give careful thought to how you build it. Whether it’s an economical portable model or a high-priced built-in one, choose a style you love. Then, take your kitchen goodies out there and enjoy them under the stars!

Looking for more advice on how to spruce up your home? Check out our Property section!

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