Building a fire pit.

Instructions on building a fire pit for your landscape projects.

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  Building a fire pit

 

Building a fire pit.

A fire pit creates a unique space for enjoying fun and safe recreational fires. When determining a location for a fire pit, choose a spot where the ground is relatively flat and even, and at least 25 ft. from your home, garage, shed or any other fixed combustible structures in your yard. It is also important that a garden hose or other extinguishing device be accessible at the location.

In this project, two course of 6 inches manhole block are used to create a fire pit with a 26 inch interior diameter ideal for backyard settings within city limits. Manhole blocks are designed specifically to create rounded tunnels and walls and can be purchased from most concrete block manufacturers.

Three ¾ inch gaps have been factored into this design to act as air vents, allowing the natural airflow to stroke the fire. This layout makes the circumference of the second course roughly ½ inch smaller than the first. A slightly thicker layer of surface bonding cement is added to the top course to make up the difference.

 

 

 

Surface bonding cement starts out as a white paste and can be tinted to match or complement any color of capstone. The 8+16 inch landscape pavers used here are cut at angles to allow ten pieces to fit around the rim of the fire pit. There are usually heavy restrictions for fire pits within city limits, regarding pit size, seasonal burning, waste burning, and more. Many municipalities also require that you purchase a recreational burning permit issued by an inspector from the fire department.

When not in use or during winter months, you may want to cover the top of the fire pit to prevent damage that may occur in bad weather. Note: It is important at allow your fire pit to cure at least 30 days before building a fire in it. Heat can cause concrete with a high moisture content to greatly expand and contract, causing the materials to severely crack.

 

                        Tools you will need building your fire pit

 

·  Hammer

·         Tape measure

·         Shovel

·         Wheelbarrow

·         Mason’s trowel

·         Circular saw

·         2+2 stakes

·          mason string

·         Spray paint

 

 

 

 

                How to build a fire pit.

 

1.      Use a hammer to drive a wooden stake into the center point of the planned fire pit location. Then drive a temporary stake into the ground 10 ½ inches from the center stake.

 

2.      Tie a mason’s string to the center stake. Hold or tie a can of spray paint to the end of the string. Pull the string taut and spray paint a circle on the ground. Remove the temporary stake and drive it into the ground 22 ½ from the center stake. Pull the string taut and spray a second circle on the ground.

 

3.      Strip away the grass between the two circles and dig a trench 10 inches deep. Fill the base of the trench with 2 inches of gravel. Then mix concrete and shovel it into the trench until the concrete reaches ground level. Then finish the concrete with a trowel.

 

 

 

 

4.      Strip away the grass inside the circle and fill it with gravel. Lay out the first course of 6 inch blocks with three ¾ inch gaps for air vents. Mix  a batch of mortar and lightly mist the footing area with water. Throw a bed of mortar on the misted area, covering only the area inside the reference lines. Set a block into the bed of mortar centering it on the footing. Continue laying until the first course is set. When laying the second course line up the internal edges of the blocks, leaving a slight lip on the outer edge.

 

5.      Mix a small batch of surface bonding cement, add mortar tinting agent if desire. Apply the surface bonding cement to the exterior of the fire pit walls using a trowel.

 

6.      Cut the pavers to size 8+16 inch landscape pavers using a circular saw, then throw a bed of mortar along the top of the second course. Adjust the capstones as you work so the joints are 3/8 inch thick and evenly overhang the exterior edge of the fire pit. Allow the fire pit to cure for 30 days before use.

 

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