Building a gas fire pit is a very doable DIY project, but there are many things you’ll want to think through before loading up your “cart” with items. The following information should answer any questions you might have, and some you haven’t even thought of yet. We’ll walk you through all of it from the beginning to the end—and a bit beyond.
Let’s get started!
Laws and Regs
First, find out if there are any laws and regulations that will affect your build. If you live within a municipality or planned community, you will likely have certain rules to follow regarding such things as placement and the type of equipment that must be used.
If this fire pit will be used at a rental property (and that includes Airbnb rentals) or in a public place such as a restaurant, there will definitely be specific rules you’ll need to follow, such as using only CSA-certified components.
But even if you don’t live in an area with oversight, it would be a good idea to check in with your insurance agent regarding fire pits and your homeowner’s policy. There may be important factors to consider in order to be covered in the case of an accident.
Location, Location, Location
The location of your gas fire pit is an important decision, especially since it will be permanent in some instances.
Fire pits fueled by portable propane tanks can be moved, but natural gas fire pits (or propane fire pits that tap into a whole-house tank) will be permanent because a gas line must be installed to the unit.
If you have existing landscaping or hardscaping, you’ll want to think about a location that might cause the least disturbance when digging up the ground to install a gas line. Also, where do you envision people gathering? Near the dining area? Near a pool? Overlooking a view?
And one of the most important considerations–clearances. Wherever you decide to locate your fire feature, you’ll have to make sure there is adequate room to adhere to the minimum safety clearances.
Natural Gas vs. Propane Gas
Will you use natural gas or propane to fuel your fire pit? Each have their own pros and cons.
Portable propane gas tanks offer a quick and inexpensive start because no gas lines have to be installed, but they cost almost four times as much to operate.
Natural gas is more expensive upfront because you’ll need to hire a professional gas installer to run the gas line and make the connections, but they cost a lot less to operate.
For more information about the benefits and limitations of each type of gas, check out our article, “Is Propane or Natural Gas Better for Your Fire Pit?“.
Fire Pit or Fire Table
Are you planning a roaring fire pit or a dining table with a fire feature as an accent? If you’re trying to keep a large group of people warm, you’ll need a burner with a 125,000 BTU/hr. rating or higher. In contrast, a dining table with a linear burner will require far less.
You’re looking for the right balance between performance and efficiency. For more in-depth considerations, you’ll want to read “How Many BTU Do I Need for My Gas Fire Pit?“.
How do you envision using your DIY propane fire table? Do you see the table as simply a place to host dinner in a dramatic fashion and then on to something else afterward?
Or do you see your guests lingering around a fire pit for hours playing music and talking?
How long will your fuel source last without having to swap out propane tanks?
Perhaps a propane fire pit burner with a smaller BTU/hr. rating could accomplish your goals and stretch the time between tank changes, saving you money and the hassle of swapping out the tank in the middle of your party.
To determine which burners can fulfill your goals while keeping propane usage in check, have a look at “How Long Does a Propane Tank Last on a Fire Pit“.
What Components Do I Need to Buy For My DIY Gas Fire Pit?
The easiest way to get the components for your fire pit is to buy CSA-certified kits. Everything you need will be included. If you don’t have a CSA requirement for your project, you have the option to buy separate elements, which may save you a little money.
Each build will be a little different depending on the fuel source.
If you’re building a propane fire feature, refer to our article, “Helpful Tips for Planning a DIY Propane Fire Pit/Table“.
If you’re building a natural gas fire feature, check out, “Quick Tips for Installing a DIY Natural Gas Fire Pit“.
Fire Glass or Lava Rocks?
Your choice between fire glass and lava rocks has a lot to do with the outdoor environment and the design of your feature. Depending on the size of your fire pit, budget may also play a role.
What Color Fire Glass Should You Choose?
Now, the fun part! We’ve finally reached the point in planning where you get to think about what color fire glass you might like to showcase. This is the crowning jewel of your fire feature, so take your time. (Of course, you can have a few colors on hand and swap them out as your mood changes.)
Jumpstart your decision with a look at our article, “What Color Fire Glass Should I Use?” It includes photo samples and color pairing suggestions.
So, your fire feature is ready for action! There are just a few more things left to talk about it. There are three accessories that are important to the usage and preservation of your hard work. We’ve already talked about fire glass previously, but a cover and a flame guard are also important elements.
The flame/wind guard deserves a closer look as it not only affects the efficiency of your burner, but also the safety of your feature.
At least once a year, you should check over your fire feature. Most people handle this task with an annual spring cleaning to make sure their system is in good operating order for the upcoming season.
Don’t overlook the fire glass. Over time, it will collect some soot and dust. Learn how to clean it with our article, “How to Clean Your Fire Glass in Just a Few Quick, Easy Steps“.
Kick Back and Enjoy!
Once you’ve completed your project, it’s smooth sailing ahead whether you have the gang over for drinks and conversation or to host any number of activities geared toward family fun.
And yes, you can roast marshmallows on a gas fire pit!
Now that you have a great plan for your outdoor gas fire pit, you’re ready to order and build.
Celestial Fire Glass makes this process quick and simple. Our tech support is here for you before and after your purchase. And not only is our shipping free, it’s also speedy!
If you’re building a natural gas fire pit, schedule time with your contractor to go over your build and installation. Before you meet with them, be sure to read our article, “Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Gas Fire Pit Contractor“.
Still have questions? That’s okay. We’re always happy to hear from you. Contact us Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.