Your cart (0)
Skip to content

What Kind of Bricks Do You Need For a Fire Pit?

For homeowners who are considering building a fire pit, or who may have even started planning their fire pit already, one of the first things to understand is what kind of bricks need to be used to build a safe and functional fire pit. The wrong bricks will not have the high heat resistance needed to stand up to repeated uses.  Using the wrong type...

what kind of bricks for fire pit

For homeowners who are considering building a fire pit, or who may have even started planning their fire pit already, one of the first things to understand is what kind of bricks need to be used to build a safe and functional fire pit. The wrong bricks will not have the high heat resistance needed to stand up to repeated uses. 

Using the wrong type of brick not only compromises the integrity and safety of your fire pit but could also pose fire hazards. In this post, we'll explore the types of bricks suitable for fire pits, how to identify them, and what bricks you should avoid.

Do You Need Special Bricks For a Firepit?

It may come as a surprise to some, but you absolutely do need special bricks for a fire pit. Regular bricks are often made from clay that hasn't been formulated to withstand the intense heat of a fire pit. When subjected to high temperatures, these bricks can crack, shatter, or even explode, posing a significant safety risk.

Specialized bricks, such as firebricks, are designed to endure extreme heat, making them the safest and most effective option for your fire pit. They're made from a refractory ceramic material that can handle temperatures well above what a typical fire pit will produce.

What Bricks Can Be Used For Fire Pits?

When it comes to selecting bricks for your fire pit, it's essential to opt for ones that can withstand high temperatures. Here are some of the best options:

Firebricks

When it comes to fire pits, firebricks are the gold standard. Engineered to withstand high temperatures, these bricks are made from ceramic material that can endure heat up to 3200°F. They're not only durable but also efficient at heat retention, making your fire pit more effective. Available in various sizes and even some color options, they offer a bit of customization. While they can be pricier than other options, their longevity and safety features make them a worthwhile investment.

Concrete Bricks

Though not as heat-resistant as firebricks, concrete bricks are a viable option for those on a budget. Made from cement and fine aggregates, they are generally less expensive but can crack under extreme heat. Despite this drawback, they offer a broad range of aesthetic options, coming in various colors and textures. If you're looking for a more decorative touch without breaking the bank, concrete bricks might be the choice for you, though they do sacrifice some level of safety and durability.

Calcium Silicate Bricks

Calcium silicate bricks offer another heat-resistant option and are often used in industrial settings due to their high melting point. These bricks are a bit rarer to find in regular retail stores, making them a somewhat exclusive choice for your fire pit. While not as common as fire bricks or concrete bricks, they provide a unique blend of durability and heat resistance.

Cob Mixture Bricks

Cob mixture bricks, often just called "cob", are a blend of clay, straw, and water, and they bring a touch of traditional craftsmanship to your fire pit. While not as heat-resistant as firebricks or calcium silicate bricks, they are highly insulative and relatively cheap to make. They're best suited for low-intensity fires and add a rustic, eco-friendly vibe to your outdoor setting. Keep in mind that cob bricks require more frequent maintenance due to their organic composition.

How to Tell If Your Bricks Are Fireproof?

If you've got a pile of bricks in your backyard and are starting to think that they may make a great fire pit, there are a few tests you can conduct to make sure they’re safe to use. 

One simple method is the "water test." Soak the brick in water for about 30 minutes and then strike it against another hard surface. If it shatters or cracks, it's not suitable for high temperatures. Another test involves heating the brick in an already-established fire. Monitor it closely for any signs of cracking or degradation. If it remains intact, it's likely safe to use. 

It’s important to remember that while handy, these tests aren't foolproof, and it's always best to consult with professionals when in doubt. Some manufacturers label their bricks with a heat resistance or working temperature rating, which can offer an extra layer of assurance. But if you're unsure, it's always safer to opt for bricks that are specifically designed and advertised to withstand high temperatures, like firebricks.

Bricks That Should Absolutely NOT Be Used For a Fire Pit

It's crucial to avoid using certain types of bricks that are ill-suited for the heat generated by a fire pit. These include:

  • Hollow Bricks: These bricks are great for walls but not for fire pits. The hollow centers can trap heat and cause the brick to explode.
  • Salvaged Bricks: The integrity of these bricks is often compromised, making them unreliable for high heat.
  • Coated or Painted Bricks: The coating can release toxic fumes when exposed to high temperatures.
  • Cinder Blocks: While they may seem sturdy, they can contain fly ash, which makes them susceptible to cracking under heat.

Using any of these types of bricks not only risks the durability of your fire pit but also poses a significant safety hazard. Always opt for bricks that are proven to be heat-resistant and safe for this particular application.

How to Place Bricks Around Fire Pits For Best Results

When it comes to laying bricks around a fire pit, the arrangement can significantly impact both the function and safety of your pit. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Shape: The shape of your fire pit, whether it’s a circle, square, or something else, will dictate how you place your bricks. A circular arrangement will help distribute heat more evenly.
  2. Distance from Fire: Ensure there's enough space between the bricks and the actual fire. This gap helps in heat distribution and minimizes the risk of the bricks cracking due to high temperatures.
  3. Adhesive Material: While not always necessary, you can use refractory mortar to bond the bricks together for added stability.

Be sure whatever shape you choose, your fire pit is fully enclosed. Incorrectly placed bricks can result in a fire hazard or structural instability. If you’re unsure of the best way to build up your fire pit, reach out to a professional. 

Other Articles You May Like