Glass vs Lava Rock for Fire Pits: Which one to Use?

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Having a fire pit is one thing, but being satisfied with its appearance is entirely different. There are various options available when it comes to the visual effects of your propane fire pit. The topping choices available are ceramic logs, lava rocks, and fire glass. So, glass vs lava rock for fire pit: which one to use?

However, the most commonly used among the three are lava rocks and fire glass. They’re both excellent conductors of heat and hence give off more heat. What you choose will mostly be influenced by your taste, style, and preference.

If you’re torn between the two and don’t know which one to choose, read along for insights. You’ll be better placed to make an informed decision.

What is Fire Pit Glass?

Fire pit glass is a lot different from regular glass. While ordinary glass can crack under heat and explode, fire glass is made to withstand high temperatures. Also known as tempered glass, it won’t melt, burn, or discolor.

It also comes with a polished texture that prevents sharp edges. Glass also produces no smoke as it burns and is therefore non-toxic.

However, you can expect it to collect some soot since propane gas may produce smoke when burning. Ensure you rinse the glass regularly to keep it clean. When well taken care of, fire glass will last for a long time.

Types of Fire Glass

Fire pit glass is available in several varieties, shapes, textures, and colors. These are usually the factors to consider when choosing your fire glass.

Premium Fire Glass has a polished surface and offers a mirrored surface that creates a colorful display. When positioned against the sun’s shine, the reflective glass creates a beautiful backdrop even without a burning fire.

Classic Fire Glass has a jagged crystal look. It provides a crushed glass appearance and is available in ¼” and ½” as well as a variety of colors.

Fire beads are another popular type of fire glass. Their shape is uniform, and the features are contemporary. The appearance looks more finished and reflective than the other types.

The other type of fire pit glass is recycled fire glass that has an eco-friendly result. It undergoes the same kind of processing as all other types of fire glass. It’s available in two size ranges and also in several vibrant colors.

Lastly, there’s the Zircon Fire Glass with a diamond shape for luster. This fire glass offers a luxurious appeal when used in a fire pit.

What are Lava Rocks?

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are the other popular option of toppings you can use. Lava is a naturally occurring, porous, and relatively light rock containing no moisture. Lava rocks provide a beautiful backdrop against the flames. Avoid using river rocks as they hold small amounts of water and could explode.

Lava rocks are more preferred to fire glass. They’re dry and porous and also more efficient in increasing the fire pit combustion. The stones also have a classic rugged look that fire glass may not provide.

Which One is Better?

Both toppings are ideal as the best media for your fire pit. They both conduct heat and help spread the flames throughout the pit while providing a fantastic backdrop. But which one should you choose?

The best way would be to consider some of the differences between the two products. Fire glass is more effective in absorbing heat and also exudes more of it. You’ll enjoy more color, beauty, and shine while experiencing more warmth.

You could choose fire pit glass if you prefer the look of sparkly crystals instead of the rustic look of rocks. Glass could also come in handy if your firepit already has some lava rocks. Combining them won’t do any harm to your fire pit.

How Do Lava Rocks Differ?

Lava rocks, on the other hand, provide a rustic look. They also are cheaper to acquire, although they don’t offer the same options are fire glass.

The rocks are available in various sizes and colors, allowing you to choose what most appeals to you. For example, red lava rocks brighten up the firepit and provide for more warmth and activity. Dark lava rocks work best when you don’t want the eyes to be drawn too much into the fire pit.

Dark rocks reflect little light, which will make your scene have some low light. They’re ideal for use during the day when there’s natural light from the sun. However, you may want to sit a safe distance away from the fire pit due to the exceedingly hot flames.

As you can already tell, choosing between fire glass and lava rocks is primarily influenced by preference. They both provide great backdrops for your fire pit, and none of them has to be the final decision. They’re also both readily available and easy to use.

Can You Use Both?

Sometimes, choosing one medium over the other can be a little bit of hard work. You’re probably wondering if you can use both toppings in your fire bowl.

The fact is that you can layer both of them in the fire pit for the best visual effect. In this approach, use lava rocks as the base layer and lay them carefully around the heater element. Only a thin layer should cover the heating element.

Next, apply a layer of fire glass. The dark tempered glass would do an excellent job of keeping the lava rocks away from view. When layered this way, only 25% of the fire pit media should be glass.

Alternatively, mix the rocks and the glass and spread them out in the fire pit. Their portions should be in a ratio of 1:1.

Glass vs Lava Rock for Fire Pit: Which one to Use?

Final Thoughts

The modern propane fire pit is an outdoor aesthetic feature that adds warmth to your surroundings. It’s a place you want to spend time with your loved ones. One of the factors that make a fire pit so appealing to look at is the toppings.

Most people are torn between fire glass and lava rocks for that curb appeal. The most important thing is to strike a balance between functionality and visual effects. You can choose one over the other, or combine both for more satisfaction and enhanced effect.

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