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Do Fire Pits Cause Concrete Damage?


Fire pits provide a great social space to any outdoor area. They are aesthetically pleasing and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes; there are even videos showing homeowners how to build their own fire pits. With this growing popularity comes the question of how a fire pit will affect the concrete it is installed on top of.

How Fire Pits Affect Concrete

Let’s start out by saying that concrete will not catch on fire on its own; it will only “burn” if it is covered in something flammable, i.e., lighter fluid, gasoline, or plastic. Concrete is made up entirely of non-combustible materials, this lack of flammability makes it the perfect base for a fire pit. What concrete will do is expand when exposed to high temperatures, this could potentially cause cracking. The good news is that this cracking can be prevented with a little bit of forethought.

Preventing Heat From Damaging Concrete

There are several ways to prevent your patio’s concrete from becoming damaged by your fire pit, but you have to consider first if you want a permanent fire pit or an above ground mobile fire pit.

Above Ground Fire Pits and Heat Retardant Mats

If you have a fire pit that is above ground, you can place a heat retardant mat underneath to prevent high temperatures from reaching concrete. These mats are relatively affordable and definitely less expensive than performing a full concrete repair once a year. This is also a great way to prevent ash from collecting which makes for easy clean up after you have a fire. This type of fire pit is best for concrete because the heat will not directly contact it at any point.

The mobility of this fire pit also keeps one specific area of your concrete from getting too much heat. Move the pit a few feet every once in awhile to keep concrete looking great for years to come.

Permanent Fire Pits and Concrete Cracking

Permanent fire pits generally will cause concrete to crack over time. This means that every few years the concrete will need to be replaced in that area. There are specific additives that can be incorporated into your concrete to help prevent premature cracking. You can also add some fire resistant rock as a barrier between your concrete and pit. You will want to consult with a concrete professional before installing your fire pit to find out all of your options when it comes to installation.

Other Considerations

  • Having your concrete, perfectly level in the area you want to have your fire pit is extremely important. You will need to make sure your fire pit is on a completely stable surface for safety reasons.
  • Do not put the fire pit too close your home or anything that is flammable, i.e. wooden decks, plants, or propane tanks.
  • Ash will not damage concrete and can be easily removed with regular sweeping and occasional power washing.

Placing your fire pit on concrete is completely safe, but cracking might occur due to high temperatures. Taking the right steps before purchasing or installing a fire pit is your best defense against concrete damage.

Contact us for information about decorative and stamped concrete installation.

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