How to Build a Fire Pit with Bricks on a Budget: Step-By-Step
by bluu Carol on Nov 13, 2022
Creating an optimal hang-out space can be different depending on who you ask. If you enjoy spending time in your yard, there is no question that a backyard fire pit can be the way to go. But knowing how to build a fire pit with bricks can differ depending on where you look. Compared to a wood fire pit, a propane or butane fire pit is both portable and environmentally friendly.
Thankfully, with the help of the right guide, you can learn how to build a fire pit in no time. Whether you want to know how to build a fire pit with retaining wall bricks, a square fire pit, a round fire pit, or something else, you can build one on a budget.
How to Get Started
Not everyone has an unlimited budget in mind for their DIY fire pit. So, if you want to learn how to build a simple fire pit with bricks, you can save serious bucks. In some instances, you can even learn how to build a fire pit for $60 or less. It just takes a few important pieces of information.
Check local ordinances. The very first thing to do is to ensure that your plans don’t violate any local ordinances. Depending on where you live, a permit may be required to add a fire pit to your yard. Don’t simply assume that no one will find out, either. The last thing that anyone wants to happen is to do all of the work only to face a penalty or the prospect of having to remove the entire installation. Do your homework.
Choose a location. Don’t just wing it. Carefully determine where the best spot for your outdoor fire pit. Ideally, finding a spot that has a flat parcel of land is ideal because it will minimize the work involved. When you have the land set up properly, you can learn how to build a square fire pit, how to build a round fire pit, or even how to build a wood burning fire pit. But know where it is going before you move forward.
Select your shape. Not every outdoor fire pit is created equally. Some like round fire pits, others square fire pits. Maybe you want to learn how to build a wood burning fire pit. Know your style and what kind of shape you want for your DIY fire pit. The option that you choose may create a slightly different construction process along the way.
Prepare your tools and materials. No project can be successfully completed without the proper tools and materials. The list is not long, but each item is crucial to the completion of your DIY fire pit.
Pea gravel (or a similarly sized gravel)
Metal fire pit ring
Concrete pavers or fire brick for the bottom
Retaining wall blocks (start with 36, more or less may work)
8 Steps to Building a Fire Pit Easily
Now that you are properly prepared to take on building an outdoor fire pit, it is time to get to work. The steps can vary slightly depending on what kind of fire pit you want to build. For the most part, however, this is the basis needed to complete a simple, cost-effective fire pit.
Step 1: Mark Out Your DIY Fire Pit Site
The first step in how to build a cheap fire pit with bricks is marking out the spot where you are going to build. Think of it as measuring and marking before implementing a cut during construction. You always want to know the parameters in which you are building.
This can also vary depending on how big you want the fire pit to be. The key to learning how to build a round fire pit versus a square fire pit is knowing how big you want it to be. The average diameter for a round fire pit would be somewhere between 36 and 44 inches, for instance. This part is also crucial because you can get a pretty good idea of how many pavers or how much sand/gravel you will need to complete the job.
Step 2: Laying the First Course of Bricks
When you have the site marked out, you will need to pour the sand base and add in your pavers. The pavers are where the fire will sit and will keep everything contained. This part is important for another reason and that is keeping the entire thing level.
Drawing out your site helps the rest of the construction process. It ensures that your shape, whether it be round or square, stays in place and doesn’t become wonky and uneven. Carefully layer the bottom level, ensuring evenness throughout.
Step 3: Build the Fire Pit Paver Base
With the pavers in place, the next step in learning how to build a simple fire pit with bricks is creating the outer layer. This is the base layer and should see the inside edge of the brick lined up a few inches from the outer edge of the sand/pavers.
Pavers and sand are also necessary for protecting the surface on which you build upon. Though things are slightly different when you learn how to build a fire pit on grass, the idea is the same. The sand and pavers will keep the base cooler, providing the safest burn environment possible.
Step 4: Add Construction Adhesive to the Bricks
This is a crucial step in the process. Without a proper adhesive, it doesn’t matter how the rest of the process goes. Your DIY fire pit can only be safely completed with the use of construction adhesive to bond each of the layers together.
Apply liberally, ensuring total coverage across the top of the first layer of bricks. That adhesive is going to be the stability needed to hold your pit together, so don’t skimp on the adhesive.
Step 5: Complete Layering the Other Two Layers of Bricks
Continue with the subsequent layers of bricks. You can make your pit to any size or specifications, but four to six layers should do well enough. That provides just high enough of a wall without it becoming a major project.
Again, be certain to apply construction adhesive liberally throughout. Don’t get so crazy that it oozes down over the sides, but just enough that it will keep everything securely together.
Step 6: Line the Inside of the Brick Walls with Firebricks
Adding fire bricks is an important part of learning how to build a fire simple fire pit with bricks. Some materials used for the retaining wall can hold up to the heat generated by the fire but that isn’t a universal fact.
The addition of the fire bricks gives you peace of mind in knowing that the fire will be safely contained. Even better, the fire bricks won’t be stained or ruined by consistent exposure to the fire. That will save you serious time and money in the long run.
Step 7: Add Lava Rocks
Lava rocks are one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Though they may look like “just rocks,” they serve a greater purpose. They actually form a barrier that provides protection for the burner components, keeping them safe.
Additionally, they are quite durable without costing very much. When it comes to knowing how to build a fire pit for $60 or less, lava rocks are going to be at the center of that equation. Not to mention they look great in any style of fire pit.
Step 8: Add a Fire Pit Bowl (optional)
Though they are not imperative to the completion of your DIY fire pit, adding a fire pit bowl can be highly recommended. They can replace the fire brick and provide insulation from the fire and the exterior bricks.
There is also the aesthetic component of a fire pit bowl. They provide a neat, even shape that can make everything feel more symmetrical. You can skip the bowl if you are trying to keep your fire pit as low budget as possible, but a fire pit bowl or ring can really improve the overall aesthetic quality of your fire pit.
A gas fireplace from Bluu is a great way to amplify your outdoor space, creating the optimal hangout. Simple and easy to install, there is no better way to create a backyard fire pit.
FAQ for Building a Fire Pit
Regular Bricks or Fire Bricks?
This depends on whether or not a fire pit bowl is being used. If a bowl is being used, regular bricks should suffice. Without one, fire bricks constituting the interior layer would be best as they have a natural resistance to the high heat put off by the pit. That increased resistance will keep the aesthetic quality high for a long time.
Do I Need to Put Sand in My Firepit?
Though it is not necessarily imperative, it can be highly beneficial to add. Sand can absorb heat, distributing it more evenly throughout the entirety of the put. If you have a metal bowl inside of the pit, sand can provide protection from the pit’s heat output.
How Deep Should My Fire Pit Be?
On average, the hole housing a fire pit should be in the 12 to 18-inch range. This is just deep enough to keep the fire safely contained without becoming a huge project. The hole should be filled with gravel and, if the soil doesn’t drain well, you may need to add in a drain pipe.