Gathering ‘round your fire pit on a crisp fall evening is one of those simple joys in life. Unless it’s a windy night.Those gusty breezes can quickly turn your peaceful flame-viewing experience upside-down by whipping the flames out of control. An erratic fire doesn’t look too nice—and it also poses a potential safety hazard.
A flame guard can solve this problem by blocking most of the direct wind from your flames. This sleek-looking accessory improves the efficiency of your fire feature, resulting in a clean, steady-burning flame no matter the weather. It also helps prevent black soot buildup on your fire glass and around the burner’s edges. Lastly, a wind guard keeps your burner pan from getting warped when the lip around the pan gets too hot.
DID YOU KNOW that flame guards are made from standard tempered glass? Standard tempered glass can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees (F).
It all sounds great, right? But what if standard-sized flame guards won’t fit your one-of-a-kind fire feature? If off-the-shelf flame guards aren’t available in the exact size you need, there’s no reason to worry—you can make your own, custom-sized flame guard right at home.
Building a Custom Glass Flame Guard in 4 Easy Steps
Having the correct size of flame guard is essential both for proper performance of your fire pit and a visually pleasing appearance. Fortunately, building a custom flame guard is a very easy do-it-yourself project that anyone can take on. Here are the steps you should follow:
Step 1: Determine the size of your glass flame guard.
You want the flame guard to sit outside the burner by about 2” to 3” on all sides. This will keep the flame from touching the glass barrier. You also want to be sure the size is proportional to your burner. We recommend you measure the inside of your burner pan, and then add 5 ½”. This will be the ideal size for the wind guard and should be your starting point when determining the final size. It will allow the flame guard to sit outside the burner by about 2 ¾” on each side.
If you’d like, you can go with a slightly smaller size. Use your best judgment to determine the ideal size for your fire pit. After all, the flame guard should look like it’s designed exclusively to fit your fire feature. So feel free to make changes to the size so that everything looks well-balanced.
Step 2: Determine the size and thickness of your glass panels.
Now that you know the size of the flame guard you want to build, you can determine the size of the glass panels you need. The most common height for flame guards is 6”. This is a good height because it provides protection – but isn’t so high that you can’t fully enjoy the fire. For extremely windy locations such as the beach or higher elevations, we recommend you make a taller wind guard – 8” or more. This should provide the additional protection you need.
To figure out the length of the glass panels, you want to start with the flame guard length you decided on earlier. Then subtract 1” from that to determine the length of the glass panels. You’re subtracting an inch because the corner connectors add ½” to each end, making the assembled flame guard 1” longer than the glass panels. Do this for both the length and width of your wind guard.
Now that you know the size of the glass panels to order, you’ll want to decide the thickness of the glass. We recommend using tempered glass that’s 3/16” thick. However, if you want, you can go up to a 1/4” thickness.
3/16″ is the preferred glass thickness. While the brackets can handle up to 1/4″ glass, the panels may be too heavy and slide down in the brackets.
Step 3: Order your glass panels and hardware.
Contact your local glass store and order the four glass panels. Let them know the size and thickness you want. Tell them it should be standard tempered glass with polished edges. You don’t need high-temperature ceramic glass, which is very expensive. Standard tempered glass is good up to around 470°, which is more than sufficient for an outdoor fire pit.
You’ll also need the hardware to connect the panels together. Typically, glass stores won’t have this. If they don’t, you can purchase your hardware directly from the Celestial Fire Glass website. Our flame guard connection kits are made of rugged, weatherproof aluminum.
Hardware may be hard to find. No worries, we have a flame guard hardware kit you can purchase online.
Step 4: Assemble your flame guard.
Now that you have your glass panels and hardware, it’s time for the exciting part—assembling your flame guard! Here’s how to put it all together:
- First, choose a sturdy, flat surface for your work area and make sure it’s free of clutter.
- Starting with the first panel, connect the top and bottom brackets to each end of the panel. The brackets should be flush with the top and bottom of the glass. Be sure the screw tips in the brackets have a plastic tip – this ensures the metal tip of the screw doesn’t touch the glass, which would cause breakage. Do the same for the panel that will sit opposite the first panel.
- On your flat surface, attach the end glass panels with the feet facing upwards. Having the feet facing upwards will make aligning the glass panels much easier. Once all your panels are connected, go back and check that all the screws are nice and tight. Pro tip: Use a long screwdriver. It’s easier to grip since it gives your knuckles some turning room. If the screws are properly tightened, you should be able to handle your wind guard without the panels shifting in the bracket.
- Place your new flame guard gently around your burner. And pat yourself on the back. Great job! Now you’re ready to enjoy a beautiful, contained fire that gives you, your family and your guests more peace of mind.
Questions? We’d Love to Help!
If you have any questions at all about assembling your custom flame guard, please reach out to us. We’re always here to answer your questions and help in any way we can.