How to Use Lava Rocks for a Fire Pit

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Your propane-burning fire pit wouldn’t be complete without lava rocks. They’re the best substitutes to fire pit glass, and they provide a perfect backdrop for the fire pit. Apart from having an aesthetic value, lava rocks are also functional. This review will discuss how to use lava rocks for a fire pit.

They serve to provide a semi-permeable barrier that protects the components of the burner from damage. They are also handy in facilitating the distribution of the flames evenly throughout the fire pit. Once you’ve lit the fire, the rocks also shield the gas burner from direct exposure to the fire.

Lava rocks are easy to maintain, natural-looking, and durable. They retain their color even after prolonged use and exposure to natural weather elements. However, to ensure you get the most out of your lava rocks, you need to know how to use lava rocks for a fire pit correctly.

How to use Lava Rocks for a Fire Pit

How Much Lava Rock Do You Need?

One thing you must do for the best lava rock effect is to get the right amount needed. The quantity depends on the size of the fire pit. If you’re not sure of the size, a layer of rocks 2-4 inches thick will be a good amount.

When buying lava rocks from vendors, they’ll typically sell by the cubic foot. Sometimes they’ll weigh in specific pound increments. Each cubic foot of the fire pit lava rocks will weigh approximately 25 pounds.

A 5-pound bag of lava rocks will cover an area of about 0.24 square feet and a 25-pound bag 1.16 square feet. These measurements will help with both rectangular and circular fire pits.

Instructions for Use

Once you get your bag of lava rocks, tear it from the top. The contents of the bag may contain some dust since the pebbles are collected from lava fields. They then undergo a process to obtain consistent shapes and sizes.

Pour the rocks in a bucket and rinse them off to remove the dust. Remove them from the water and use a towel to dry them. Leave them in an open place for a few hours to completely dry.

Prepare the fire pit for the lava rocks. They can be used in natural gas or propane fire pits. One thing to note is that lava pebbles don’t crumble or break down.

For a unique outcome, consider putting a layer of sand in the fire pit before laying the pebbles. Pea gravel would also be ideal for the task as it also provides a sturdy foundation for the lava pebbles. Take the lava rocks and place them around the burner to a level that they slightly cover the burner.

It’s recommendable to start with the smaller-sized lava rocks to form the first layer after the sand layer. The smaller there are, the more effective they’ll be in providing a base layer that fills the gaps while covering the burner. They also give support to the large rocks and offer thermal protection against the flames.

There’s no definite way to arrange the rocks but ensure they’re all at an even level. Avoid cramping them at one place to allow the flames to find their way all around the fire pit.

Safety Instructions

While doing all you can to get the best backdrop using lava rocks in the fire pit, consider your safety.

  1. First, it’s crucial to note that you can’t use just any rock in your fire pit. River rocks, for example, can explode when put in a furnace.
  2. Ensure you only use the approved type of fire pit lava rocks. If you prefer other media to lava rocks, your best bet would be special fire pit glass. It comes as tempered glass and is made to withstand high temperatures.
  3. Regular fire pit lava rocks can also explode if not used correctly. After washing them, ensure they dry completely before using them. Trapped moisture can cause a reaction that’ll see the pebbles thrown out of the fire pit.
  4. If you’re burning wood in your fire pit and want to have lava rocks, place them under the wood. They should be 4-5 inches thick from the top of the bowl and the firewood placed on top. Avoid burning anything in your fire pit without putting a protective layer at the bottom.
  5. Be cautious about the environment where you use your fire pit. The area should be well-ventilated and if possible, not indoors or on a covered patio. Be careful of the surface you’re placing your fire pit to avoid fire accidents.
  6. If your floor is wooden, place a heat-resistant material underneath the pit to protect the surface. In a windy and open area, ensure the bowl is stable and well-supported to avoid being blown out of balance.
  7. If you’re using a gas-burning fire pit, check to see that the fire ring and the flames are not too close to the edges. A safe distance is 4 inches from each of the four sides. Upon installing the fire ring, cover the top with more lava rock to the very top of the pit. The idea is to hide the ring from sight. As you do this, ensure you comply with the gas connection codes in your county or state. The gas line should pass through the bottom of the bowl in a way that people won’t trip over it.
  8. Concrete fire pits can develop slight cracks despite taking the best precautions. The cracks are not always fatal, especially if your fire pit has been aligned with a special wire meshing. You can minimize these cracks by avoiding large wood fires as they tend to be hotter than gas fires.

Where to Get Fire Lava Rocks

Firepit lava rocks are available from your local outdoor store or hardware stores. You can also order them online, choosing from among the most common color options which are red and black.

Final Thoughts

Lava rocks are simple and durable alternatives to fire pit glass. They play a significant role in protecting your natural gas or propane fire pits from heat damage. They also help to distribute the heat and flames evenly throughout the fire pit.

Learning how to use lava rocks for a fire pit is vital. Be sure to maintain a layer of about 2-4 inches when arranging the pebbles in the fire pit. Ensure you also observe other safety precautions while using your fire pit.

You may also enjoy our Glass vs. Lava Rock tips and tricks article. Enjoy!

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