Building a house is a complex process. There are many elements to consider, such as bathrooms and bedrooms, to other additions that depend on the tastes of each owner. A very popular item among fans of gardening and landscaping is the addition of fireplaces. It is an extravagant and striking element, which is also useful. Whether you like stone, tile, or even brick designs, you should know that building a fire pit is simple. Today we will show you how to build an outdoor fireplace following safety and aesthetic advice.
Be the envy of the neighborhood with a DIY fireplace
To create an avant-garde backyard patio, a small campfire should not be missing. However, as with other furnishings that involve the use of fire, there are some rules to follow to get the most out of it while maintaining safety.
When you think of campfires, the first thing that comes to mind is a gathering of family and friends around the fire. With this mental image, you should start to think about a few things. The fire pit should be centrally located, away from other buildings or vegetation, but not so far from places like toilets or kitchens.
Still, remember that you should check with your local entities what the regulations are for the job. They can better guide you through the placement process.
Considering your outdoor space, it is time to decide if you want to make a custom fire pit or if you prefer to purchase fireplace kits. Although construction is not difficult, the work can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
You should consider whether you are capable of doing it on your own or if it is best to check some fireplace kits. Outdoor fireplaces could be nice DIY, but you will need the right tools.
Finally, after analyzing the security elements, the last thing to consider is the aesthetic aspect. We know that all this information can be difficult to digest, so below we leave you tips and steps so that you know how to build an outdoor fireplace.
How to build an outdoor fireplace step by step
Currently, there are many types of fireplaces. From the dimensions required to work, to the type of fuel they use. Most fire pits have a square base, but you can even go for a round base if you want.
In the first place, you must take note of the available space you have. On average, standard chimneys have dimensions of 52″ wide, 48″ long, and 91″ high. In addition to that, you have to know what other aggregates are planned to be installed, such as storage areas. It is best if you have outdoor fireplace plans to follow.
A solid foundation guarantees success
No DIY fire pit can begin without a well-structured foundation. This will be the backbone of the fire pit, and the one that will keep the whole project from falling apart.
If you want to avoid unnecessary headaches, it is best to build on a concrete base. It is the easiest and most resistant material to handle an outdoor fireplace.
However, even concrete jobs require preparation to build an outdoor fireplace. The first thing is to reinforce it with steel sheets so that it does not break with the expansion generated by the heat. If you are going to use a large concrete surface, you will have to section it into different parts to form expansion joints.
If you are creating new concrete bases for your DIY fire pit, you have to first dig a trench, clean everything, level it, and cover it with gravel or rock.
It’s time to pour the concrete for the fire pit
Now is the time to form the trench so that the concrete can be poured. This formwork will not be made on the four sides of the hole, but only on the two longest sides. Its objective is to serve as a guide to be able to level the gravel or concrete that will work as the fire pit base.
Once the base is leveled, flattened, and dry, you can remove the formwork. Put rebar that will be located in the middle of the plate. Now you can finish filling the rest of the trench, which does not matter if it has imperfections on the surface.
Over the area that was prepared and leveled, you will place a base of sand or gravel that will act as a pad for the blocks of the outdoor fireplace. Again, you will need to flatten it out before proceeding to the next step.
Now it only remains to wait for the concrete to cure completely. This should be ready after 2 days, and as time goes on it will become more solid, reaching its highest hardness after 14 days.
How to build an outdoor fireplace using cinder blocks
The time has come to start laying the blocks that will make up the outdoor fireplace. The best material for this exterior construction is cinder blocks. They will be able to withstand the natural elements in an excellent way, in addition to optimally conducting the fire pit heat.
Before building the vertical structure, you have to build a floor with the same blocks. You should start their placement from the center so that you do not have problems in the framing of the sides. You can help yourself in this task using a square.
With the floor ready, you will proceed to build the structure that will enclose the fireplace’s flame. Ideally, this structure should be about four feet tall, but this can vary depending on your taste. You will place the blocks in a locked way so that those on the lower level can support the weight of those on the upper levels. In addition, you will only place a slight amount of adhesive between the blocks, since they will stay on their own with only gravity. Just remember to leave a front opening on the firebox.
By the way, if you do not have cinder blocks, you can always create a stone fireplace. Its resistance will be pretty similar, and a stone fireplace combines better with natural spaces.
No structure is ready without a lintel
A lintel is a top bar that completes the structure. Windows and doors have a lintel that allows building on the upper part.
For this fireplace, you will use an L-shaped metal profile for the lintel which can rest on the opening that you left when building the structure. Place more cinder blocks over the profile to create a couple of additional levels in the structure.
It’s time to build the firebox
The firebox is the section of the fireplace in charge of keeping the heat inside it and of taking care of the integrity of the cinder blocks. Inside the structure, you will proceed to create another cage, this time with fire bricks that can withstand the heat.
As you already have a previous structure, you only need to follow the firebox’s cinder blocks. Note that the height of the firebox is up to where the lintel begins.
Adhere each block with its corresponding adhesive, be it glue or cement, and let it dry before continuing to the next step.
Channel the smoke with a smoke chamber
With the firebox blocks firmly in place, the next thing is to create a smoke chamber that can redirect the resulting gases from the chimney. Its design is simple: using again the cinder blocks build three extra levels on the structure that you already have.
However, the first row you will build will need to be offset toward the center by at least 2 inches on the sides and 4 inches on the front (the back is preserved).
Then, the second and third levels will have to be offset each by 2 inches on the sides, but without altering the front area. The result will be a kind of pyramid or arch that will work as a support for the chimney.
It’s time to finish the structure with a chimney
When the entire structure is done, it is time to build the chimney that will release the smoke into the sky. The process is quite simple: you just have to place cinder blocks following the shape of the final level of the smoke chamber. You should always keep everything leveled and square.
The height is free depending on your taste, but remember that you must have some firm base to work on. The use of a scaffold is recommended for this since the stairs can leave you in a bad position for assembly.
Consider that outdoor fireplaces can have cylindrical chimneys as well. The stacking process will be similar. However, for these cases, it is better to have a round base.
You can even get creative and combine different materials for the construction. The chimney could be made of stone to give it more character.
The perfect finish for the DIY outdoor fireplace
Finally, you must finish the fireplace with a small roof that protects it from the entry of water or other natural elements. This ceiling should be slightly higher than the chimney to leave a couple of openings where the smoke will escape.
Nowadays there are many ways to make the roof for outdoor fireplaces. The easiest is by placing four stones or blocks in the corners of the chimney and then placing a single large piece of concrete on the top. You can also be more creative and install tile roofs.
Now you know how to build an outdoor fireplace
With the last piece on the ceiling, you need to add a few final decorative touches to your DIY fireplace. Now you just have to wait at least 72 hours for the rest of the concrete or glue to finish drying before you can start the first fire.
If you follow these steps, you will be able to create as many outdoor fireplaces as you want. Just remember that a DIY outdoor fireplace could be a challenging job. It is recommended that you always have assistance from another person for heavy tasks.
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to build an outdoor fireplace, you should read these as well:
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