Backyard Fire Rings: 15 Questions & Answers (Explained)

What to Know About Backyard Fire Rings and Backyard Fire Pits

One of the most beautiful sights is a cool dark night under the stars, with a nice and warm fire to keep you toasty. A backyard fire ring could bring that fantasy into reality. An amazing attachment to any home, backyard fire rings create an oasis of comfort and style.

The central premise about fire rings is its usage. Knowing the attributes, cost, and how to maintain it, is important to keeping it functional and pristine. There are also many tips and laws that are associated with a backyard fire ring that are imperative to know if you’d lie to keep it on your property.

I know what you’re thinking, “How do I get started? What do I need to know?” Well have no fear! Because I’m here to provide you with some simple answers to this backyard adventure. It’s time to heat up this conversation and learn more about this stunning home accessory!

What Is A Fire Ring Used For?

A fire ring is used to contain outdoor fires in a central location. Because of the material that the ring is made of, it does a satisfactory job at keeping the fire enclosed. If your fire is directly on the ground, the ring will keep the fire localized within it, instead of allowing it to extend outward towards trees and bushes.

A simple, yet effective fire ring is made of various materials such as metal, stone, or concrete. The size of it may range from a small personal circumference, to a large enclosement for festivals, parties, or events. In this case, the ring is also used to keep people safe from the fire as well.

How Big Is A Fire Ring?

The size of the fire ring is based on the size of the pit. The average fire pit size is 36’’ to 44” inches. The reason why this size is so great is because it is wide enough to allow the heat of the fire to radiate and provide warmth, while still keeping it tamed from becoming too hot.

On a personal level, fire rings can range within 2 and 2 ½ feet in width if attached to a 3 feet pit. If your fire pit is larger, say about 6 feet in diameter, then your fire ring could end up around 3 to 3 ½ feet in thickness.

And let’s not forget about the height! A great height for an above ground ring should stand about 12 to 14 inches high. If you’re thinking you may want to sit on the edge of it at some point, it’s recommended to raise the ring to a suitable 18 to 20 feet high to avoid being burned.

How Does A Fire Ring Work?

The fire ring acts as a guardian and protector of the fire. As the fire begins to heat up, the inner side of the fire pit will begin to get hot as well. As a result, the fire ring’s job is to make sure that it stays inside of the centralized area, while still allowing heat to flow out.

How Do You Clean A Fire Ring?

If you’re going to use your fire pit, it’s bound to get dirty at some point or another. The remaining ashes from what was being ignited tend to settle at the bottom of the pit, which can quicken the rust and deterioration process of your fire ring.

But there is hope! There are several ways that you can clean your fire ring:

  • Remove Major Debris: Take out any and all large pieces of wood that has been burned or charred. The large chunks could create less flow for air to circulate, which makes your pit filthy. When the pit is cool, reach in and grab the debris, and clean out as much ash as you can.
  • Sweep and Remove: Your backyard fire pit ring can be cleaned out efficiently by simply removing the inner material, sweeping all of the ash to the center of the pit floor, and then scoop it out. You can save the ash for future fire extinguishing, or you can throw it in the trash, your choice!
  • Replace Your Spark Screen And Cover: After cleaning out your pit, place the reusable pieces of wood, or other material, back into the pit. Clean your cover as well before putting it back to reduce ash from falling to the bottom of the pit. Once it’s clean, place it back on top of the pit ring to keep animals and nature out.
  • Remove The Spark Screen: The wire trays that you may have in your fire pit are prone to becoming heavily filthy.

The best way to clean the tray is to first remove them; then use a sponge, or wire brush, with a warm solution of soap and water, and simply scrub. If you have heavy build up, use a solution of hardwood ash, soap, and water for a solid scrub.

  • Fire Pit Ash Tray: Many fire pit rings contain a tray that collects the ash residue from burning material. To clean it, just slide the tray out of the pit, dump the ash into a bucket for reuse, wipe the tray with a soap and water solution, dry it, then slide it back it; easy!

Do You Have To Use A Fire Ring In A Fire Pit?

It is recommended to have a fire ring for your fire pit. The fire ring creates many benefits for the fire pit; the number one benefit being safety.

When the wind is heavy, the flames and sparks will be swept away from the pit. The ring is what keeps the flames enclosed in the pit, and away from your face and body. Outside of aesthetics and design, this is the most functional use of the fire ring.

Not only does the fire ring keep fire in, it also keeps wind out. As the wind blows, it will affect the potency of the fire. If it’s strong enough, it will completely blow it out. So when using the fire ring, be sure to build it higher than the pit floor to avoid flame burnout.

How Much Does A Backyard Fire Pit Cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost is around $700. This cost is presuming that you are having a professional build it, in which the labor cost can run around $55 an hour; that’s about $340 per project.

Remember I mentioned that materials affected the price? It hold true; the cost of material to build the fire pit is around $400. If you’re looking to save a little cash, invest in a premade backyard fire pit, which has an average price of around $300.

 Backyard Fire Pit

Where Should You Put A Fire Pit In Your Backyard?

The most important factors for determining a great location for your backyard fire pit are safety, open space, and a level ground. Safety is number one. Be sure that the fire is at least 10 feet from your home, combustible materials, and low hanging trees.

Choose a location that also has level ground. You want your fire ring to be stable, so picking a spot that is even across 7 feet will be your best bet. If your ground is not level, worst case scenario is your pit falling over, and spilling fire on your grass. Flat and even surfaces will be your best friend when setting the pit.

How Far Does A Fire Pit Need To Be Away From The House?

This is an imperative feature to be aware of . In order to keep the fire from spreading to other parts of nature, you must place the fire pit in an exclusive area of your backyard, or the situation could really heat up.

Your fire pit should be at least 10 to 20 feet away from your house, as well as other structures that are on your property. Of course further away is acceptable, as it will be less of a fire hazard.

In addition to the house, it is recommended to also keep the fire pit at least 10 to 20 feet away from bushes, shrubs, trees, and any other flammable object that you can think of. The last thing you want is a wildfire ruining your comfortable evening.

Does A Fire Pit Need A Liner?

Yes, it does. The point of the liner to act as a buffer between the fire ring material, and the fire itself. They provide many benefits like providing essential support to the structure, and preventing underground root fires.

As the fire gets hotter and hotter, the liners’ job is to do one of two tasks: either absorb the heat, or repel it. Metal fire pit liners are the most popular for gas and wood fire pits.

Here is a short list of fire pit liners that will help!

  • Gravel
  • Rocks
  • Fire Pit Glass
  • Sand
  • Lava Rocks
  • Dirt
  • Cast Iron
  • Concrete
  • Copper

So what would happen if you don’t use a fire pit liner? Well, the fire would scorch the material or the pit. As a result, it would ruin the finish of the inside of the pit, weaken it, and the flames would start pushing through the pit material.

All in all, use a fire pit liner to reduce your chances of getting burnt.

Should I Put Sand At The Bottom Of My Fire Pit?

It is recommended to place sand at the bottom of your fire pit. It’s easy, affordable, and readily accessible; however, that isn’t always the case. There are manufactures that exist that give specific instructions on whether or not to use sand. So to make things easy, simply read the fire pit setup instructions thoroughly.

But in most cases, putting sand at the bottom of your fire pit is a smart move. The sand does a great job at absorbing the excess heat that comes from the fire, as well as evenly distributing it across the foundation of the pit. This creates a balanced radiation of heat from the pit to you.

Can You Leave A Fire Pit Burning Overnight?

It’s a gorgeous sight to see the flame contrast against the dark night, but you should extinguish your fire pit when you are finished using it.

Can you guess the reason why? Safety! Without supervision, the flames will have more of an opportunity to expand into your yard, and cause an unwanted fire. From that point, it’s up to the Firefighters to help. Never leave a fire unattended.

A more appropriate way of putting out your fire pit flame is to first spread ashes over it. The ashes will simmer down the flame to its minimal form, at a consistent rate. Once the flame is as small as it’s going to get, then pour some water on it to extinguish the remaining flame.

Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal In California?

California is a large state, and has many codes and laws that are determined by each city. The fire code pertaining to outside burning, including fire pits, states that backyard fire pits are legal, at least in southern California.

For example, in Riverside, California, there are limitations to backyard fire pits, but you can still have one. The California Fire Code Section 307.4.2.2007 states:

  • Recreational or ceremonial fires not contained in a fire or barbecue pit must be located more than 25 feet from a structure or combustible materials. Call the city’s Police/Fire dispatch at (951) 787-7911 to provide advance notice of such fires, which are further restricted in size to 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.
  • Precautionary materials should be nearby, including a water-type fire extinguisher, shovels, and a garden hose.
  • Each fire must be supervised closely until it is completely extinguished.

If you are in California, it’s best to check with your cities specific rules and ordinances for outdoor burning. In some cities, there are certain limitation requirements for using an outdoor burner; in others, as long as the pit is at least 10 to 25 feet away from the structure, you can burn as much as you’d like.

Can Red Bricks Be Used For A Fire Pit?

Red bricks can be used for a fire pit. Outside of steel metal, brick is one of the most common materials for building a fire pit.

The shortcoming of red bricks, however, is the fact that they cannot handle all of the heat that comes from the pit. The red bricks become weakened overtime as constant heat is blazed upon it. The result of this action is the red brick popping and chipping away, piece by piece.

If you choose to use red bricks, be informed that although a good choice, it isn’t the best choice. Now! If you want to have the brick design with full protection, I suggest going with fire bricks. They are made to withstand the consecutive heat cycles, and give the distinct rugged design that you desire.

Can Rocks Explode In A Fire?

Indeed they can. Rock have the tendency to explode under the condition of constantly being fired upon. Other conditions that will make a rock explode inside of a fire is if they are wet and porous – meaning water can be absorbed inside of it. –

Rocks explode because they are not designed to withstand the absolute heat that fire provides. Rocks that should not be used in fire pit construction are pumice, gravel, sandstone, river rocks and limestone.

There are several types of rocks that are safe, and strong enough to stand against nature’s heat:  granite, marble, slate, fire-rated bricks, lava glass, lava rocks, and poured concrete. Also, refrain from lighting your pit rocks right after rainfall. Wipe them dry first, let them hang to dry, then relight it.

Fire Pit Maintenance

Of course it’s great use your fire pit and have an enjoyable evening. But what can you do to keep your fire pit maintained so you can keep enjoying it?

There are a plethora of techniques to use, but here are the primary helpful tips for fire pit maintenance.

  • Don’t Pour Water On The Fire: When you are finished with your event, allow the fire in the pit to slowly dwindle down; do not pour water directly on the fire! When the fire is almost out, then you may sprinkle ash and water on the remaining flames to completely eradicate the fire.
  • Avoid Non-Burning Material: If it isn’t meant to be burned, don’t burn it. Materials like plastic, clay, and cloth can be highly challenging to clean once it settles into the pit. Stay smart and only burn what’s meant to be ignited, like gas, propane, or wood.
  • Cover Your Pit: When you are not using your pit, cover it up. The cover functions as protection from the elements, mainly tree debris and animals, from getting into the fire pit and creating a major mess for you. Fire pit covers come in different materials to fit the particular brand and size of your fire pit.
  • Clean Your Pit Regularly: Create a schedule that allows you to clean your fire pit on a regular basis; either after every use or once a week. Take the fire pit material out, sweep out the ash, remove any charred wood that isn’t reusable, and wipe your rim down with soap and water.
  • Be Safe: Always be sure to watch your fire, and maintain it at a moderate level; never leave it unattended. Keep your fire extinguisher near the fire pit, and always turn the pit off, so that you can enjoy again at your next event!

Recommendation Fire Pits Review

Here is our 20 Best Backyard Fire Pits Reviews and Buying Guide, you can check it here.

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