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Old 03-11-2008, 02:35 AM   #1
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


First post, be gentle...

I recently purchased a home and had some concrete laid in the backyard. I had my masonry guy form a 5' ft circle and place a gas line directly in the center of the soon to be firepit. I'm planning on building an 18-24" "wall" around the circle to form a firepit. I was curious to know what type of brick/rock I would need to withstand the heat from the fire. I would ultimately like to decorate the outter portion with rock and top it with flagstone. Also, i live in an area where it rains about 60% of the time during the winter season. Should I place some type of drainage system in place?

Here is a website with good examples of the look I am trying to acheive (first column - 1st and 2nd pic 'top to bottom): http://www.aztecalandscapedesign.com.../firepits.html

One more question; How difficult would it be for something like that to do on my own. I'm a pretty pasionate person when it comes to projects and designing things on my own. I know I can put the time, effort, and dedication into a project but how realistic/difficult is it for something like this to accomplish with little to no masonry experience?

-Last but not least, I would like a 'half-a-bench similar to the ones in the pictures below again how difficult would this be to accomplish?
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Last edited by jaysen; 03-11-2008 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:04 PM   #2
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


Jaysen, I hope you get some input since I, too, would like to have something like this in our backyard. Just a couple things to consider in your planning...check your City Code about fire pits. In our area, we can not have open flame. So we need to purchase a grate that will fit over the top of the firepit.

Also, if you build the concrete/stone bench, consider getting some cushions. It will be cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

As for the building part, I believe it's pretty simple for a DIYer. I'll look at my archives and post what I can find. I believe the style we were looking for had holes at the bottom for drainage. There was some type of iron grate at the bottom that kept the logs off the ground and provided a space at the bottom for water to drain. But I can't remember off the top of my head where I read that. I'll be back!

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Old 03-12-2008, 06:15 PM   #3
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


just don't expect it to look like the pics when you sit out there,,, there's a reason that guy get his $$$,,, you'll soon notice your errors,,, don't ask me how i know this - i just know yes, drainage's always a good idea when building even if you don't need it.

imagine you're looking at a gas-fir'd pit so don't worry about a grate,,, raise to desired elevation w/sand,,, the bench's easier'n the fire pit imo but i know how to form, place, & finish conc,,, passion's no substitute for skill.
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:03 PM   #4
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


Here's a video that is pretty simple to follow. It shows the type of materials you can use (regular landscape block, which I didn't know) and issues about venting. He put a course of gravel at the bottom and that is for drainage.



I have a lot of info saved on my computer but didn't put down where I got it. Most of them are just pictures, no how-to. I did an internet search for "building a fire pit" @ Google and tons of info came up.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:55 PM   #5
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


yep, looks easy & really, its not difficult as shown on the video,,, but that's entirely different than was was originally ask'd/pictured,,, the u-tub's pit's blt from conc paving blocks, wood/charcoal fir'd, in a dry-stack method,,, the other's mortar'd together,,, other'n there's a fire in each, not much else in common,,, w/the amt of rain mention'd originally, this latest wouldn't be my choice.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:56 PM   #6
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


Kimberland-

Thanks for the video, i've seen that one before. Maybe I should just pay someone to build it... =/
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:00 PM   #7
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what ? ? ?,,, where's all that PASSION, DEDICATION, & EFFORT, JASON ? ? ?,,, best bet might be finding a retired mason who'd like to make a few $$$ AND teach at the same time,,, good luck ! ! !
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:13 PM   #8
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The video on Youtube is now "Private",am I doing something wrong?
I agree with you elite,I've got piles of dug up stone and plenty of projects around to use it on but I keep holding back knowing I don't have the skill to make it look perfect.
I do have a very expensive Matco 40lb sledge though that i've yet to make my money back on.
Try,Try again?
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Old 03-16-2008, 03:46 PM   #9
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


there's only 1 way to learn it,,, just do it ! ! ! good luck !
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:30 PM   #10
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


The only person who will notice that it isn't perfect is you. Put drainage holes in it, and if it is for gas build the floor higher than patio level.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:11 PM   #11
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


I agree about hiring a retired mason and working together. You'll learn lots. I did that with plaster repair and have become pretty proficient. Love the firepit idea...may have to borrow it one day.
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:30 PM   #12
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


without starting a whole new topic... my question to some folk here;

Do they make rounded/curved cinder block similar to the ones posted in these pics:




Additionally these are pics of exactly what I am trying to acheive... doesn't seem too difficult




Oh almost forgot, in the time i posted my original thread to now it has rained a couple of days and I noticed the inner portion of the 'soon-to-be' fire pit filled with water leaving no means of drainage. Once I decided to build the wall around the firepit (like above) Shall i leave spacing through the mortar/grout at the bottoms to allow drainage or is it suggested to install a fire resistant drain pipe through the bottom and out into the lawn ?

Last edited by jaysen; 03-25-2008 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:45 PM   #13
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


Round block are certainly not common, but I am sure someone somewhere makes them. As you can see from the same photo, the standard method is to use 8x8x8 1/2 block for radius curves. For tight radius, you can use 6x8x8 1/2s.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:21 PM   #14
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


If you are putting a drainage system in, or anything else requiring digging, be sure to call 811 beforehand. This can prevent your own personal injury, as well as a loss of power to your entire neighborhood.

Good luck with your project. Send me a PM or check out our website if you have any questions: http://www.call811.com/
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:56 PM   #15
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Building firepit need advice for first time DIY'er...


to a pvc drain,,, btw, the u-dig #'s a great idea,,, next door neighbor was planting the other day on his property & cut MY phone/broadband line,,, have to confess i watch'd him do it & never thought about the dig guys even tho i'm a gc,,, guess ' jerkdom ' begins in the home

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