Fire pits are generally used for having small campfires in the backyard. It is getting very popular lately and is a very useful feature. Indeed, not only can it be used for backyard decoration, but people can enjoy a campfire to stay warm or use it for a barbeque party. Fire pits can either be bought or built at home. With that said, can bricks explode in a fire pit? If so, what causes it to explode?
Bricks can indeed explode in a fire pit. Although not common, it is possible. In some instances, bricks have exploded, cracked, or broke down in a fire pit. If that happened to you, there is a good chance the bricks you used are not made of proper material to withstand the heat.
To be safe from any fire hazards and other similar accidents, it is important to know under what conditions a brick might explode in a fire pit. You must also know the kind of bricks that might explode while heated and the most suitable type of bricks for making a fire pit. So, let me help you with this so you can build a fire pit safely.
How Much Heat Can Bricks Withstand?
There are different kinds of bricks, and each shows different resistance to heat. Bricks that can withstand the heat the most are fire bricks. Those are white bricks mainly composed of alumina and silica. However, there are different types of fire bricks as well. The highest quality fire bricks can withstand around 2,460°F.
Red bricks almost have the same heat resistance as firebricks. Although not as durable, red bricks can withstand the same amount of heat as firebricks until they break down. Indeed, they can withstand at least 1,750°F, sometimes more depending on their quality and composition.
While masonry bricks are not built for fire, they too can withstand a considerable amount of heat. A standard masonry brick can withstand around 1,000°F before breaking down. Therefore, these are not very recommended if you are looking to use them in a fire pit.
Adding a fire pit to your backyard improves the aesthetic and ambience of your outdoor space. Whether you are building on on your own or getting a pre-made one, you need to prepare the area where you will place your fire pit. You may be wondering, do you need to dig a hole for a fire pit? Read our article to find out.
What Can Cause a Fire Pit to Explode?
Fire pits can very well explode if they are not built properly and with proper materials. Explosions mainly occur when water vapor gets trapped in the fire pit. Fire pits are generally built with different kinds of rocks, bricks, concrete blocks, and other materials. But one thing that is very important and must be kept in mind is that the materials shouldn’t be trapping water inside.
Instead, the materials used should have enough pores and holes to let the water vapor pass through. If the water trapped in the pit keeps heating up, it starts to increase in mass and the pressure created from it can explode the fire pit. Such accidents have happened many times and can turn out to be deadly.
Experts recommend not to use river rocks in fire pits as those tend to feature little to no pores. Thus, they easily absorb and trap water. Even though they are good for decoration, they are not suitable for a fire pit. Materials that are less likely to absorb water and hold them are the best ones to use in a fire pit.
Can You Use Regular Bricks in a Fire Pit?
Regular bricks can be used to make a fire pit. It is a very cheap option and can be easily found anywhere. Besides, fresh regular bricks can withstand a good amount of heat, don’t absorb much water, and can let the water vapor pass through.
The problem with regular bricks is that they break very easily. Unlike fire bricks, those bricks are not very durable and sturdy. They surely can withstand a lot of heat but there are good chances that the bricks will break off or crack in no time.
Will Red Bricks Explode in a Fire Pit?
As said earlier, red bricks can withstand at least 1,750°F. Thus, they make a very good replacement for fire bricks.
Besides, red bricks are very porous and don’t absorb much water. The water vapor in the bricks can easily exit through the pores, and thus, they can easily release the heat. Therefore, there is not much pressure building a fire pit with red bricks. Thanks to their many pores that allow water to evaporate, there is very little chance for red bricks to explode.
Unless the other materials or the concrete around the bricks somehow manage to block off the pores in the brick, which starts to trap the water inside of the fire pit, there are very few chances for red bricks to explode.
However, if you are making a very big fire, chances are that the red bricks might crack. It is very normal for red bricks to crack or break at very high temperatures. With that in mind, for a bigger fire with high temperatures, fire bricks are much better options than red bricks.
Will Fire Bricks Explode in a Fire Pit?
Fire bricks are made to withstand fire. Due to their composition, they can withstand up to 2,460°F of heat. Thus, it is very unlikely for fire bricks to explode at high temperatures. Experts rather recommend using fire bricks as they don’t absorb much water and contain enough pore to let the water vapor pass through. For this reason, you can heat these bricks properly without fearing that they crack or explode.
How to Build a Fire Pit With Bricks?
Fire pits are a beautiful addition to your backyard. But as they deal with fire, it is important to build a fire pit that doesn’t explode, break down, or cause any kind of fire hazards. Therefore, you must know how to build a fire pit perfectly with bricks. Let me guide you, step by step, on how to build a fire pit with bricks.
- Pick a safe location: It is important to select a location far from the house so your house is safe from any fire hazard. Also, check the wind direction to ensure that the wind is stable where you are going to build your fire pit.
- Prepare the ground: You have to remove the grasses on the ground before digging a small pit. Make sure to keep the ground even and remove the soil from the area.
- Installing the base: Apply gravel base on the ground and add water to it. Then, make sure the gravel base is evenly spread everywhere. Let the wet gravel base dry off.
- Install stone blocks: Now, make space for the stone blocks surrounding the base. Add 2-3 more rows of blocks and glue them with adhesives. Make sure to place the blocks in such a way that there isn’t any big gap between the blocks.
- Install the bricks inside the pit: Now, install the fire or red bricks inside the blocks of stones. Use adhesive to glue them with the stone blocks.
- Add lava stones: Finally, add lava stones inside the brick walls. Lava stones can withstand very high temperatures and don’t absorb much water. They are very porous and let the water vapor pass through very easily.
- Keep safety measures: Always keep fire safety measures in place. No matter how safely you have built your fire pit, accidents can happen anytime and you should be prepared for it.
Is your fire pit not generating enough heat? This will be a problem, especially during the colder months. If you want your fire to burn stronger and generate more heat, check out our 5 ways to get more heat from your fire pit.
Best Bricks for Your Fire Pit
Good bricks are very much recommended when you are building a fire pit. A brick that can withstand good heat, have good heat insulation, and is safe is required when building a fire pit. I suggest you get yourself a fire brick, which is a much safer option than regular and red bricks.
The Rutland Products Fire Brick are a very good material if you are looking for affordable fire bricks. These bricks are very sturdy, affordable, and very good at withstanding heat. They also look really good and will add to the decoration. This model is very popularly used and recommended by experts. The bricks come in 9 X 4.5 X 1.25 inches and weigh about 4.01 lbs.
Another good option is the Insulating Fire Brick for Ovens, Kilns, Fireplaces. These bricks are very lightweight and durable. They provide great longevity and can withstand very high temperatures. Although, they are less strong than other fire bricks due to them being lightweight. These bricks come in 9 X 4.5 X 2.5 inches and weigh about 2.15 lbs.