There’s nothing quite like the aesthetic appeal of a fire pit to bring people together. Before cozying up to the idea of adding a wood-burning pit to your outdoor living space, there are a few distinct qualities to consider.
Advantages of Wood Burning Fire Pits
Already have the marshmallows ready for toasting? Before you get started, take a moment to learn the pros and cons of wood burning fire pits. With a little research and planning, you can find the perfect solution for backyard entertaining. Here are a few benefits:
- Continuous heat: Wood fires can produce heat for hours, making them ideal for parties and gatherings.
- Natural resource: Wood is a natural and renewable resource, and it’s a popular organic alternative to gas.
- Ambience: Wood fire pits function much like fireplaces by offering the perfect focal point in social gatherings during any season.
- Cooking: Extend your kitchen outdoors by making s’mores, roasting hot dogs, and cooking over the fire.
Other Wood Burning Fire Pit Considerations
- Heat control: Regulating the flames may take some work as the temperature fluctuates according to the amount of wood you add to the fire pit.
- Level of effort: Wood fire pits require more effort on your part to build, monitor, and maintain.
- Smoke: Since wood-burning fire pits produce smoke, it can be an irritant to people with sensitivities.
Where to Place a Wood Burning Fire Pit
Preparation for fire pit placement depends on the area in question. Do you want your fire pit on the patio? Ensure it’s properly set up to accommodate the structure. Concrete or paver stone patios are naturally fire-resistant for this purpose. Planning to place a fire pit in the yard? Consider the following tips:
- Drainage: Avoid placing a fire pit where water pools to prevent bricks from sitting in excess moisture.
- Combustible material: Fire pits should sit away from organic material, such as dry grass, leaves, pine needles, or dry brush to prevent the spread of fire.
- Nearby trees: Your fire pit shouldn’t sit beneath low-hanging tree branches.
- Slope: The area of placement should be a level, flat surface.
- Spacing: Placing a fire pit away from the flow of traffic or raised above the ground helps to prevent accidental falls.
Wood Fuel Types
A wood-burning fire pit uses seasoned, dry wood to fuel the realistic warmth and crackle of a fire. The availability of different wood types depends on where you live. Keep in mind the cost of purchasing and storing wood will add up over time if you burn frequently.
Unlike wood smokers or indoor fireplaces, you can burn any type of wood in a fire pit. Dense woods like oak and maple are hot-burning and can be stored or “seasoned” a year before use. Cherry wood produces a sweet aroma, birch burns quickly and is a good fire starter, while pine has a high sap content and burns messy.
Try several types of wood and see what works best for your location, budget, and use. If you use your fire pit often, you’ll want to find a local wood supplier who can recommend woods and deliver them for you.
Firewood Storage Options
Creative landscaping techniques can help you store firewood on your property to further enhance curb appeal. Consider where you’ll store the firewood. You want to keep it protected from the elements and dry at all times. Also, make sure to store wood far enough away from your home, since bugs love to call woodpiles their own.
Here are a few handy ways you can store either large or small amounts of firewood outdoors:
Wood Burning Fire Pit Costs & Installation
For your initial purchase, wood fire pits vary in cost based on materials and your style preferences. You can find basic fire pits for under $100 or spend thousands on your dream design. However, since there is no gas line needed, wood burning styles are typically less expensive than gas fire pits.
Premade or prefab kits are easier to install, with either unit usually taking only a day to set up. If you have DIY experience, wood fire pits can be a great weekend DIY project.
Looking for something extra special? Some prefab kits offer pick-and-choose options to custom build your own patio fire pit ideas. You may also want to choose professional installation to ensure your fire pit is safe, stable, and long-lasting – just be prepared that hiring a contractor will cost significantly more.
Wood Burning Fire Pit Safety
There are a few things to take into consideration when installing a fire pit, both for proper use and for safety. As you consider the pros and cons of wood-burning fire pits, keep these tips in mind:
Found in various shapes and sizes, fire pit screens help contain sparks and flying embers. Screens are also important for covering the wood and embers as they cool down after a fire.
Never leave a fire unattended, and never leave children unsupervised near a fire pit. Teach fire safety at a young age to prevent injuries.
Acquiring a permit may be necessary. It depends on the type of fire pit you choose. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll need a permit for an above-ground wood-burning fire pit. The laws and cost associated with obtaining a permit vary from one community to the next.
Maintaining Your Wood Burning Fire Pit
Use a weather resistant fire pit cover when the pit’s not in use. This protects fire pits from sun, wind, rain, or snow. Live in a harsh winter climate? Store the fire pit in a sheltered, dry area to extend its lifespan.
Use Fire-Rated Materials
Materials like fire bricks or thick steel rings can line fire pits to prevent cracking. This leads to premature replacement. Fire pits constructed of fire-rated materials usually require very little, if any, maintenance.
When you burn wood, it emits chemicals from the byproduct creosote. This substance is a fire hazard, so keeping fire pits clean and properly extinguishing fires after use is essential. Proper maintenance requires a little elbow grease to keep your pit free of ash and soot buildup. Taking time to clean between uses will also help extend the life of your fire pit over time. Read How to Clean a Fire Pit for step by step tips.
Now that you have given our wood burning fire pit ideas the once over, it’s time to liven up your outdoor living space. There’s a stylish and functional wood fire pit out there that’s right for you. Go with what sparks imagination and warms your heart. In the end, your choice will do the same for family and friends year-round.
Read on for More Outdoor Heating Ideas:
- Learn How to Choose the Best Fire Pit for Your Backyard
- Check Out Our Top 7 Fire Pits
- Discover More Options with The Best Outdoor Heating Solutions for Your Backyard