What to put in bottom of fire pit? 5 Materials

Your outdoor living space is important. And, to enjoy your evenings, you need to have a good firepit. There are different types of firepits and all have one thing in common, they need a good bottom.

The bottom of a determines if the fire lights and if there will be lots of smoke. So, what materials you use?

What To Put In the Bottom Of Your Fire Pit

Fire pits burn differently depending on the material at the bottom of the fire. Here is a list of what to put at the bottom of the firepit.

  • Lava rocks
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Dirt
  • Fire glass.

These materials have their advantages and disadvantages. Let us look at these options in detail.

1. Lava rocks

Lava rock is appealing to the eyes and good at conducting heat. Lava rocks are strong enough not to crack or explode in your fire pit. You can be sure of an even distribution of heat and protection of burners from elements. You don’t have to worry about the dirt when you build a fire pit bottom with lava rocks. They are clean, durable, and require low maintenance. They also boast of an exquisite natural look. Additionally, lava rocks are affordable. Lava rock is the best material because they insulate and retain heat well. Moreover,it is also waterproof and won’t be affected by the rains.

2. Sand

fireplace sand

Sand is one of the most popular options for the ground fire pit. Many manufacturers also recommend using sand at the bottom of the fire. Why use sand? Sand is great because it perfectly absorbs and distributes heat at the base of the fire pit. Using sand also ensures that your pit is protected from high temperatures. Also, if your fire pit has holes at the bottom, this material will help in drainage. When it comes to heat distribution, sand is the best. A layer of sand is also enough to take care of embers and sparks.

Related Read: How to add a pit liner

3. Gravel

Gravel is another incredible option because it is readily available. You should not hesitate to consider gravel if you have a fire pit in your backyard. You can cover 10% of your fire pit with gravel. You will have an assurance of a continuously burning fire. However, gravel is not suitable for high temperatures. Gravel comes in handy when you are using it with a mixture of magma lava stones or fire glass. These two can explode and gravel is put in the bottom of your fire pit to keep a balance the two.

4. Dirt

The use of dirt might not be appealing but it is also ideal for a fire pit. It is among the most commonly used materials. Plus, unlike magma lava rocks, you will not spend any money for this. However, you should be prepared for the higher maintenance process if you put dirt at the bottom. You can be assured of a lengthy warm time for friends and family.

Also Read: How to make a pit screen

5. Fire pit glass

fire glass

Fire glass is a small piece of tempered glass. This aesthetic glass boasts of high functionality in the fire pit. If you want your backyard fire to look beautiful and enticing, then this is the best material to use. It is available in different sizes and colors. You can consider using a variety of colors to add style and glamour to your backyard. Having fire glass material is a guarantee of your safety because it is not flammable. It is also easy to put.

6. River rocks

River rocks are the stones found in river beds and beside -some water streams. They are beautiful and easy to install. The rocks can be used, however, home experts warn that the rocks can explode because they are porous. This happens after water is drained and air is formed in them. Also, before picking the rocks from the river banks, some states require that you get authorization from the government.

Different Materials used to build Fire Pits

Fire pits come in different types and are made of different materials. Some are dug and use firewood while other fireplaces use gas. Your backyard is a great determinant of the type of fire pit you should choose. Here are some materials used to make an aesthetic fireplace that you should consider for your outdoor space.

Stone fire pit

bottom of fire pit

This is a permanent fire pit and less costly because you can DIY. And, you need to first identify where you are putting it. Most people prefer having them at the back of their homes. You should consider safety as you select the ground for a stone fire pit. It should be built away from the house and other buildings.

Also, ensure there are no hanging tree branches and fuel supply lines around. Everyone should be safe as they sit around the fire. Another thing to consider when building a stone fire pit is the size. How big do you want your fire pit to be? There are no exact measurements for this outdoor project and so you can choose what you think is best for you.

Cast iron

This metallic material is heat resistant and can therefore withstand high temperatures. It is strong and long-lasting and will serve the right purpose of a fire pit by ensuring you are kept warm.

Stainless steel

Building your fire pit with stainless steel is a guarantee of memorable outdoor experiences. Fireplaces that are built with steel look great in a garden. The metal is strong and resistant to rust making it a good choice of material to build your fire pit with.


Copper is common thanks to its strength and attractiveness. However, it requires frequent maintenance since it rusts easily when exposed to elements like water. This means that you have to store it.

Types of Fire Pits

There are many types of fire pits in the market. They vary in prices and features and this makes it hard for people to choose what befits their homes. Here are some fire pit types and their features.

Gas Firepits

Gas fire pits are a transition from the ancient ones that used wood. They are perfect for providing ambiance and some warmth within your home. You can use different fire media with a gas fire pit. The media include fire glass, lava rocks, or log sets of ceramic. Unlike a fire pit that uses wood, this fire pit does not give off heat. They boast a high level of convenience because you can easily turn them on and off by pushing the button.

Advantages of gas fire pits

  • They are convenient and beautiful to use because you don’t have to build a fire or struggle with wet firewood.
  • Gas fires are safer than wood because they don’t emit embers which can spread out. This makes them ideal for apartments and suburban areas and outdoor structures like pergola. Check some pergola fire pit ideas here. 
  • You will not have to worry about dirt once you use gas fire. The fire will burn without smoke or its smell.
  • In terms of cost, fire gas is cheap unlike using firewood which requires frequent purchasing.
  • The gas fire is safe for the environment and tags along with a touch of style.
  • There are no burning restrictions on a gas fire

Disadvantages of gas fire

  • High gas installation coast
  • The fire has no ambiance since it doesn’t produce a sound similar to that of wood.
  • You will need a connection to install gas into your fireplace.

2. Wood Pits

wood pits

This is a traditional type of fire pit. It is easy to install and use. You can build this fire pit with stones, concrete, or metal. They are usually structured with an enclosed design to contain wood in the pit.

Advantages of a wood fire pit

  • It is simple to set up and doesn’t require much hustle, unlike the gas one in which you have set up some pipes.
  • Firewood is readily available
  • The fire that burns with real wood gives some warmth and has cozy flames to behold.
  • It can be used to cook because it produces a high heat
  • They encourage family bonding

Disadvantages of wood fireplaces

  • Wood produces soot that can choke you
  • Wood causes sparks that might trigger a fire to break out if they spread.
  • Firewood is dirty and you must keep on cleaning the surrounding regularly.

Important Tips When Buying Or Building A Fire Pit

how to choose a fire pit

As mentioned earlier, there are many fire pits you can buy or DIY. Some are portable fire pits while others are fixed to the ground. Here are some tips that you need to consider when buying or building a fire pit by yourself.

1. Budget

You don’t have to spend a fortune in order to get a perfect fire pit. And, these home additions vary in price. A portable fire pit might be surprisingly cheap at the store. On the other hand, if you wish to build a firepit by yourself, you can get the necessary materials with ease. Also, you must have the right measurements of the size of the fire pit before you dig it out.

2. Check on local laws

Some states have a law in regards to the legality of owning a fire pit. These laws define a fire pit as an outdoor burning and recreational product. Therefore it is wise to find out if there are restrictions when it comes to owning a firepit. You don’t want to build or buy a movable fire pit and be fined later.

3. Choose between a permanent And Portable firePit

A fire pit can come in different shapes and sizes. Would you like a portable or permanent fire pit?  Portable fire pits are versatile and can be used in various locations. You can also move them around your home in case you feel the need for a better place. On the other hand, a permanent fire pit is ideal for your yard more so if you play host in your outdoor space more often. It also enhances the general look of your backyard.

4. Fuel Type

There are many types of fuels used in a fireplace and they burn differently. For example, propane gas burns faster and you can light it easily than wood. Also, if you use gas, you will not have to worry about dirt and smoke.

5. Identify the location

Where would you love your fireplace to be? Having it at the back of your house would be better. However, you must ensure the location doesn’t pose any danger to your home or loved ones. Also if you live in a windy area, you need to be mindful as you select the spot for your fireplace. Generally, it should be some meters away.

6. Choose the materials

You can make a fire pit from anything. However, the material you choose will determine how much you need to put up a fire pit. If you want a touch of class and modernity in your yard, then you should consider stainless steel or fire pit glass. On the other hand, if you want a permanent fire pit then stones would be the best. As you choose the material, ensure that it matches and completes your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.Which is the best type of fire pit?

The best fire pit is made of a long-lasting material that conducts heat well.

2.Which is the best material for building a fire pit?

Stainless steel is the best because it’s long-lasting, attractive, and withstands high temperatures.

3.How far should your fireplace be from the house and other buildings?

It should be at least 10 meters away from any building.

4.Which is the best fire pit fuel?

Gas.Because it is fast, convenient and clean.

5. How expensive is a fire pit?

The price depends on the material and design. Most pits go for between $300 and $500.


The value of firepits to a home is unmeasurable. They enhance family bonds and friendships. Additionally, fire pits add an aesthetic touch to the backyard making the home beautiful and complete. As discussed above, there are different types of fire pits. And, you should always be careful about what you put at the bottom of the fire. Lava rocks, fire glass, sand, and dirt are the best materials. They will make the fire burn evenly and ensure that you have the best winter moments in an outdoor setting.

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