25 Materials To  Use in the Bottom of a Fire Pit – Construction Details & Non-Combustible Materials

25 Materials To  Use in the Bottom of a Fire Pit – Non Combustible Materials  & Fire-Pit Construction Details

What To Use in the Bottom of a Fire Pit

A fire pit is built outdoors for recreational purposes. It’s a spot for warming up during the winter and cold nights, barbequing, roasting, toasting and even grilling some pizza. The high temperature containment in which a fire pit functions means you have to choose your building materials carefully. Fire-resistant materials are required to build a fire-pit, but they should also be non-combustible or non-flammable. A non-combustible material does not ignite or catch flames. Note that there are fire-resistant materials which catch flames and these are not appropriate for building a fire-pit. The right materials are those which don’t ignite, burn, melt, lose strength, change state, shape nor get deformed by fires. These materials will resist flaming, structural change and damage when subjected to fire temperatures in a normal 40% oxygen environment.

According to the International Building Code Fire Safety FS5-07/08 Part I Section 202:


Noncombustible material. A material that, under the conditions anticipated, will not ignite or burn when subjected to fire or heat. Materials that pass ASTM E 136 are considered noncombustible materials.


According to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000:

Noncombustible Material. A material that, in the form in which it is used and under the conditions anticipated, will not ignite, burn, support combustion, or release flammable vapors, when subjected to fire or heat. Materials that are reported as passing ASTM E 136, Standard Test Method for Behavior of Materials in a Vertical Tube Furnace at 750 Degrees C, shall be considered noncombustible materials.

Now that you have the fireproof requirements right, you should look for materials with these properties. Some of the most common fireproof building materials are shown below. Most of them are suitable for use in a fire-pit:

  1. Natural Stone (Granite, marble, quartz, sandstone, limestone, gravel, basalt, slate, onyx, travertine)
  2. Clay bricks
  3. Sand Lime bricks
  4. Fire bricks
  5. Cast-on-site concrete
  6. Precast concrete
  7. Ceramics
  8. Porcelain
  9. Terracotta
  10. Terrazzo
  11. Steel
  12. Iron
  13. Ceramic glass
  14. Fire glass (Tempered glass in the form of cubes, crystals, diamonds, beads and other small bits or chunks)
  15. Natural volcanic lava rocks (Basalt)


Designing a Fire Pit

When designing a fire pit you should choose fire-resistant and non-combustible materials as previously stated. There are many other building codes that you have to comply with, depending on your local municipality, city or town.

Fire Pit Permit

A permit is often required for building a permanent firepit, setting up the appliance and open-air burning. Appliance certification is becoming compulsory in many states in the USA, and will likely be required before a permit is issued. Outdoor fire pits, chimneas and fire bowls are grouped under open-air burning, so you will need a permit under this purpose, as well as appliance certification if applicable.

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