Making a backyard fire pit is pretty easy. Here are six easy steps to a backyard fire pit that looks great and is easy to make.
Step 1: Make a Pit
A good social fire has a 3 foot diameter to it, everyone is close enough to hear everybody, the fire is a pretty decent size, and it is in compliance with most codes. To start things off being easy, we used two concrete form tubes. It’s pretty easy to make your own, just make sure you have a 36 inch diameter circle and a 48 inch diameter circle. So first, you’re going to mark around the edge of the pit and then start digging. Only go down to 8 inch and make sue that you do not upset the dirt that will be underneath.
Sep 2: Lay a Strong Footing
Making the footing out of concrete will make a strong and sturdy footing that will help make sure that the sides of the pit wall do not crack over time from the movement of the ground. Stake out your concrete forms and then, according to manufacturer’s instructions, mix up ten 80 lbs. bags of concrete. Fill the form only half way and then just to add some more strength, place a rebar ring into the concrete mix. After that, fill the forms up the rest of the way with the concrete mix and then gently tap them with a sledgehammer till the mixture sits level. After you smooth out the top of your footing, let it sit overnight before you take away the forms.
Step 3: Dry- Set the Firebrick Liner
Firebrick (also known as refractory brick) is a lot better than regular clay brick because it won’t crack at high temperatures. That is why we are using it as a liner for the inside of the pit walls. Although firebrick is a bit more expensive, it is well worth it because your fire pit will last for many years to come. Also, for a 3 foot diameter fire pit, you will need 25 firebricks.
Because of the firebrick’s density, we are only going to split four of them. The rest, we are going to do what is called “soldiering” them, which means standing them on end. It also makes it really easy to furnish the pit’s curve. You will only have to split four of the fire bricks, which you will lay across from each other around the pit so there are draw holes for your fire to get oxygen. Once that is done, dry- set the split fire bricks in place on the footing.
Step 4: Mortar the Fire Brick
To mortar fire brick, you must use refractory mortar, which is made to withstand high heat temperatures. The premixed mortar comes in a bucket and is a lot like peanut butter.
Spread a thin layer of mortar on the footer and place your first brick. Take the next brick, spread some on that one, and butt it up against the first one. Continue like this around your pit, checking the level along the way.
Step5: Finish the Outside Walls with Face Brick
You can use what ever type of face brick that you want, but if you live in a climate that has freeze cycles then we recommend using severe weather face brick. For a 3 foot diameter pit, you will need 80 face bricks. With the brick in one hand and a hammer in the other, give the brick a pretty sturdy tap on the outside edge near the center hole to break the brick in half. Do your best not to whack your hand. Half bricks are a whole lot easier to form the curve of the pit with. You will need to lay three levels of face brick to equal the height of the fire brick. The mortar that you will need is Type N mortar mix and you can find it in any home improvement store. After you make sure the face brick is even and level with the fire brick, apply the mortar to all the joints securing the face brick to the fire brick.
Step 6: Finish the Top Lip
Now comes time to finish your pit and complete the rim around the top. There are a number of things you can use to do this like stone, brick, and more. We used the face brick that we were using before. First, lay 3/8 inch thick mortar around the top of the pit; across the top of the face brick and the fire brick. Then, spread mortar on each brick and press it into place. Make your way around the whole pit, filling any holes in the mortar and check the level of the top bricks often. When that is finished, smooth the joints off with a concave jointer.
Of course, if that’s not easy enough you can visit our main page about fire pits and buy one that’s just right for you!