Cooking in a fire pit is one of the easiest ways you can cook food outside. Moreover, you can sit with your friends and family around the fire pit and spend quality time.
But when it comes to choosing a fuel, can you use charcoal in a fire pit? The answer is yes. Charcoal is a great alternative to seasoned firewood and other fueling material people use for this purpose.
In this article, we’ve thoroughly talked about this matter. Moreover, we’ve also mentioned how you can build a fire pit and start a fire in it.
Without further delay, let’s dive right in-
- 1 Can You Use Charcoal in a Fire Pit?
- 2 How to Build a Fire Pit? (DIY Method)
- 3 How To Light A Fire Pit
- 4 Wrapping Up
Can You Use Charcoal in a Fire Pit?
Of course, you can use charcoal in your fire pit. In fact, burning charcoal is a lot safer than burning wood. You see, charcoal doesn’t have so many sparks and burning debris flying as wood.
So, the risk is minimized as these things are less likely to make something else catch fire. On a windy day, charcoal is the better fuel option for your fire pit.
Moreover, you’ll find that it’s far easier to make fire with charcoal than with wood, assuming you make a traditional wood fire with tinder and kindling.
Another thing is, maintaining a charcoal fire is easy too. You just have to add more charcoal and that’s it. But with wood fire, you have to be careful about not placing a log that’s too big and the placement of the wood plays a role too.
For many people, finding charcoal is easier than finding wood as almost every bbq store sells these things. And even if you have a source of wood, tinder, and kindling aren’t that easy to find especially if you live in a city.
But most importantly, charcoal fires are known for not creating too much smoke. So, if you ask us, how to light a fire without smoke?
Using charcoal is your answer. Well, it’ll make some smoke but that’s nothing compared to wood fires.
So, if you hate too much smoky flavor in your food, a charcoal fire is the way to go. And you’ll get to keep a good relationship with your neighbors for making too much smoke.
How to Build a Fire Pit? (DIY Method)
A fire pit is a great place for hanging out with friends and family. You can do this DIY project in 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the pit you’ll be building.
This guide will show you how to build a fire pit that you can enjoy in any season. Gather the tools and materials you need and let’s start-
Tools and Materials
- Stone Pavers (On Amazon)
- Concrete Pavers (On Amazon)
- Landscape Accessories (On Amazon)
- Garden Hoses (On Amazon)
- Construction Adhesive (On Amazon)
- Rope (On Amazon)
- Fire Pit Kits (Optional)
- Shovels (On Amazon)
- Tape Measurements (On Amazon)
- Mallets (On Amazon)
- Standard Level (On Amazon)
- Caulk Guns (On Amazon)
- Marking Spray Paint (On Amazon)
- Hand Tamper (On Amazon)
Step 1: Select The Location and The Shape Of The Firepit
Selecting a safe location is important for a fire pit. You don’t want to build a fire pit next to a low hanging tree and right beside any structure. In this case, it doesn’t matter what material you use to build the fire pit.
- Talk with your local homeowner association to see if there are any restrictions. Also, look up the building code in your area.
- Your insurance policy might change a little bit now that you’re building a fire pit. Check with your agency to see if they cover fire pit damage.
Now for figuring out how many and what type of blocks you’ll need to buy, you’ll have to select a shape. Fire pits are usually 3 to 4 square feet.
- If you want a fire pit ring, you’ll have to buy trapezoidal blocks that become narrower. This lets the corners connect together perfectly without creating any kind of gap.
- For a square fire pit, you have a lot of options. There are a variety of shapes and sizes of blocks you can buy for a square fire pit.
Step 2: Take Preparation For The Fire Pit Area
Making an outline around the area will make it easier for you to take measurements of the fire pit.
- For building a circular fire pit, pin something at the center of the area where you’ll be building it.
- Now, use a marking paint that’s attached with a string for drawing a circle around the area. Remember to make the diameter of the circle slightly bigger than the actual outer dimensions of the fire pit that you’re building.
- If you’re building a rectangle or a square fire pit, place the initial layer of concrete blocks. Then, use your shovel to mark the area and remove the blocks.
- Finally, use a hand tamper to remove all the dirt from the area.
However, if you choose to build a store fire pit on your already existing patio, you should put in the first layer of blocks so they don’t shift easily.
Step 3: Make A Gravel Base For The Fire Pit
Making a gravel base on top of the dirt will make your fire pit stronger.
- First, start pouring crushed gravel pavers over the area. Make sure to put enough gravel so that it gets approximately 5 to 6 inches thick.
- Now, take out your garden hose to wet the gravels. Then, use a hand tamper to stuff it and make it a thick layer of a few inches.
- Finally, use the level to see if it’s leveled out or not. If not, take the necessary measurements.
Step 4: Place The Blocks
Now’s the time to place the first layer of concrete blocks over the gravel base. When placing the blocks, make sure that they are side-by-side and touching each other.
- Start placing the blocks one-by-one around the circle you made. Make sure to keep them together and check to see if they are level or not.
- If it’s not level, you can add more gravel or sand below or you make the blocks lower with a rubber mallet.
- After you finish making the first row, check to see if it’s level or not.
- Finally, start putting the other blocks to complete the structure.
Step 5: Put In The Fire Pit Bowl
Fire Pit bowls and insert rings have lots of different sizes. So, find out beforehand what you need.
- By now, you’ve placed the second row of blocks Now, place your fire pit bowl on the structure to see if it holds properly.
- If the bowl fits perfectly, remove it. If not, adjust the height of the blocks.
Step 6: Use Construction Adhesive
Construction adhesive will secure the concrete blocks used for building the fire pit. It’ll also make sure that the blocks stay protected.
- First, remove the second row of blocks that you placed before.
- Add enough adhesive lines on the first row of blocks to secure everything in place.
- Now, place the second row of blocks again and this time put the adhesive for bonding everything.
Most charcoal fire pit grills usually consist of 2 to 4 layers of blocks depending on the size. If you want to increase the layer of blocks, then get more adhesive.
As for adhesive, remember to check the instructions manual to see how long they take for curing. Most construction adhesives take 2 to 7 days for curing properly.
After that, your DIY fire pit will be ready to fire up some marshmallows.
How To Light A Fire Pit
Now that you’ve made your fire pit, it’s time to start a fire. Buy your tinder, kindling, and charcoal to get the fire up and running. Here are the steps-
Step 1: Make a Teepee Frame
First, gather a pile of tinder material in the middle of the fire pit. Take as much tinder as you can hold with your hands.
Then, make a teepee like structure with the kindling. But make sure to build this frame directly above the tinder that you’ve gathered. Place the sticks and twigs together. However, leave some space for the air to pass through.
Step 2: Start The Fire
Find a gap for starting the fire. If you don’t see a gap, make one with the sticks. Now, light the pile of tinder with a lighter or anything you like.
After a while, you’ll see that the kindling is starting to burn. That’s your cue to start putting in the charcoal inside the fire pit.
Remember to put the charcoal inside the teepee frame. That’ll make it burn nice and easy. However, always make sure to leave enough room for the air to pass through. Otherwise, the fire won’t go for long.
Finally, add more tinder and kindling to the fire if it doesn’t burn properly. After a while, when the charcoal lights up perfectly, you won’t need to put any more tinder and kindling.
Now you know the answer to ‘’can you use charcoal in a fire pit’’. In many cases, charcoal is a lot better than wood. But when working with fire, safety should always be the main concern. So, always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case anything ever happens. Checking out more article at groundinsider. Peace!
Hi, guys! I’m Lucía Fornes. I’ve graduated from Queens College, City University of New York. I’m currently living in New York City! Everything from interior decorations for living smartly to tips for living a free and stylish life, I share my thoughts on GroundInsider.Com. Besides, you can also catch me sharing tips regarding gardens here from time to time!