If your outdoor area features a surface of pavers, you may wonder if you can safely place a fire pit on those pavers.
The answer is yes, you can, as long as you take proper precautions. Read on to learn more about how to use a fire pit on pavers.
What Can Happen If You Put a Fire Pit on Pavers
You might think that because pavers are rocks, they won’t burn, and therefore, there is no concern about using a fire pit on pavers.
Indeed, they won’t burn, but this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to worry about.
Pavers are made of natural stone or poured cement, so the paver blocks do contain moisture.
When that moisture reaches the boiling point, it turns to steam.
The steam builds up, and the paver blocks can “pop,” which is a cutesy way to say that they may explode.
You certainly don’t want to be hit by super-hot shrapnel.
Less dramatically, but still worth considering, the pavers can scorch and darken from the heat of the fire pit.
The discoloration is not dangerous, but it would be disappointing if the fire pit caused permanent burn marks on new pavers.
The other downside is if your fire pit is portable and you’re left with a scorched circle in the middle of your outdoor area.
Consider What Kind of Fire Pit You Will Have
While it is possible to safely use a wood-burning or a propane fire pit on pavers, you will have to be more careful with a wood-burning fire pit.
A wood-burning fire pit generates much higher temperatures than a propane fire pit.
When flames are high, a wood fire can be well over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may be surprised to learn that the glowing embers left after the flames die down are even hotter, often reaching close to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
In contrast, a propane fire pit typically tops out around 700 degrees.
Of course, if you are extra cautious, it doesn’t hurt to take additional safety measures with a propane fire pit either; all of these suggestions will work just fine with a propane fire pit as well.
If you haven’t installed your pavers yet, the easiest and safest thing to do is build your fire pit into your outdoor area.
Set up or create your fire pit where you want it, and then lay down the pavers around it.
This means that your fire pit won’t end up on top of the pavers, and there will be no danger of the pavers scorching or popping.
A built-in option makes your fire pit a permanent fixture, so be sure that you are committed to having a fire pit in that location.
If your pavers are already laid, or you do not want to make your fire pit permanent, you can put down a steel fire pit ring.
Choose a fire pit ring that is made of high-gauge steel and constructed in one piece without seams. Lay it on the pavers, fill it with stones and sand, and place the fire pit in the ring.
Use Protective Layers
Consider putting down a layer of kiln-dried bricks or fire bricks between the pavers and the fire pit. This will protect the pavers from the heat of the fire pit.
If you choose to protect your pavers this way, you need to be extra careful to ensure that the surface is flat.
Neither pavers nor bricks are perfectly smooth, and this means that the layer of bricks may feel a bit wobbly.
A fire pit should only be used on a stable surface, so you need to make sure your layer of bricks is even and level.
Other protective layers that you can put down between the fire pit and the paver surface include a heat mat (also known as a fire pit pad) or a fireplace rug.
Heat mats are made of materials that are either naturally fire-resistant or treated to be fire-retardant. These protective layers keep the heat from the fire pit from reaching the pavers.
Fire pit pads are commonly made with carbon fibers, and many fireplace rugs are woven from fiberglass.
They do a great job of shielding the pavers from excessive heat without releasing toxic chemicals into the air.
While we have explained how you can safely use a fire pit on pavers, there are some things to keep in mind to keep everyone as safe as possible:
- Never let children play unsupervised around the fire pit, and never leave the fire pit unattended
- Make sure that there are no flammable materials, such as curtains or cushions, near the fire pit
- Keep a fire blanket, which can be used to put out a fire, near the fire pit
- Keep a fully charged fire extinguisher near the fire pit
Now get out there, cozy up next to the fire, and enjoy those cool nights!