Weekend Project: Build a Fire Pit!
With weather warming up, one weekend-worthy project to consider in anticipation of cool summer nights is a backyard fire pit! Licensed general contractor Bret Hribar of Delmar Construction Services in Castle Rock, answered our DIY questions about how to get it done!
Q: How Hard is a DIY Fire Pit?
A: It depends. There are two types, gas and wood. Wood is very straight forward, very forgiving. It’s a lot like building a campfire: arranging rocks, arranging places to sit and arranging the wood.
A wood-burning fire pit is absolutely a weekend project. Some people use stacked rocks or pre-made landscaping blocks and bricks. And some will figure out how to do mortar. If you’ve ever baked a cake, you can mix mortar — and it’s much more permanent.
But if it’s gas, you really should use a professional. Seek out a licensed plumber who knows how to run a gas line and check the gas pressure — and what it takes to get it inspected by city. The idea is the same, and people like gas for the convenience — you flip it on and off – but it’s more complicated to build. Not like plugging in a grill.
Q: How Much Will It Cost?
A: If you keep it simple with blocks, and elbow grease you might not spend more than $200. The landscaping stone (from a Lowe’s or Home Depot) is the major investment and then whatever your time is worth. (Or you could purchase the fire pit kits with a rock facade and that run off of propane tanks.)
I’ve built fire pits for $10,000 where the glass medium runs $800 a pound. The gas comes up through the glass and then the flames are blue or orange. It’s really expensive — like what you see in a retail store, where they’re putting their best foot forward, and homeowners go in and fall in love with a $6,000 set up on a $500 budget.
Q: How Deep Should a Fire Pit Be?
A: There’s really no standard or code that dictates the depth.
Q: In the Ground or On Top?
A: A DIY fire pit in the ground reduces the height of the flame and is less effected by weather. But you’ll feel the heat less, too. DIY fire pits on top of the ground raise the flame up higher and the effect a showpiece for your backyard. It’s kind of a lifestyle choice, ‘Let’s make it fire pit that’s a draw for people to come out and enjoy the yard.’
If you know you’re going to use it twice a year to roast marshmallows you might spend the $200 and be done with it. Chances are you’re not going to change your lifestyle because of a cool backyard accessory. I always tell people how you live now is how you’re going to go with it later. If you already have a lot of family and friends over and entertain outside a lot, chances are this Is going to enhance that experiences. If not, your DIY fire pit will look pretty from inside. Those are things to think about before you invest a lot of cash.
Q: How Do You Line a Fire Pit?
A: Usually it’s a metal pan. It’s the same as a fire pit unit. There’s a little metal pan that holds all the wood and when you’re done you scrape out the ashes.
Q: Final Thoughts?
Just remember a fire pit is not a stand-alone item. You’ll want a seating area, landscaping, maybe even hardscaping around it. The best fire pits incorporate lifestyle designs around them.
Fire Safety Considerations
When can you use a fire pit in Castle Rock?
o According the Castle Rock city government website, there are no current restrictions. “Residential use of charcoal grills, Tiki torches, fires in chimineas or other portable fireplaces or patio fire pits (is allowed), as long as the fires are supervised at all times by a responsible person at least 18 years old.”
o During periods of high/extreme fire danger, however, “Stage 2” restrictions may be mandated. To sign up for alerts, click here.
How large should your fire pit be?
o The height of the flames from your fire pit should never exceed four feet. If a fire gets much larger than that, you risk a fine from the city of Castle Rock, or worse, creating a blaze that is too large and difficult to control. Keep your fire manageable. Most fire pits are less than 36 inches wide for this reason.
For more information about fire pits, call licensed contractor Bret Hribar at 303-881-8774.
Relaxing Weekends in Crystal Valley!
Just imagine sitting around a fire pit in your new backyard in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley! Set against the backdrop of nature and minutes from downtown Castle Rock, the beautiful models from Kauffman Homes, D.R. Horton, and Richmond American Homes beckon homebuyers from across the state. Check out the new ranch or two-story designs, priced from the $300s.