If you are planning to build a fire pit, using lava rocks for the base of the pit is one of the easiest ways to get your project started. Here are some helpful tips about how to use lava rocks for a fire pit.
Lava rock is a natural product that has an industrial look that can add a lot of character to certain outdoor spaces. They are very easy to use and adaptable, so they will work great for a wide range of tasks. However, lava rocks can be heavy and have jagged edges, so keep this in mind as you arrange them around your outdoor space or building fire pit with rocks.
How to use lava rocks for a fire pit
A fire pit is a great place to relax and spend time with friends and family. Using lava rocks can add a lot of character to your outdoor area, and they’re very easy to use. Lava rock is mined from molten volcanic rock high up in the Earth’s crust, so it has been exposed to heat at one point. This type of rock is used for fire pits because it absorbs and radiates heat very well. Lava rocks will keep your fire burning longer and hotter, making it more efficient to use for warmth on a cool night or to maintain the flame when cooking over an open flame. To get started using lava rocks for a fire pit:
Step One: What to look for
Lava rocks can be found at your local hardware and home improvement stores. You want to make sure that the lava rocks you buy are relatively small, since they will break down into smaller pieces as you use them. You do not want large lava rocks because these larger pieces may explode when exposed to heat. A good rule of thumb is that lava rocks should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Step Two: Preparing for usage
Lava rocks can come with dust and dirt on them, so they will need to be cleaned before use. To clean the lava rocks, fill a bucket with water and dish soap and let the lava rock soak for a while. This will help to remove any loose dirt and debris that might be stuck on them, and it should also kill anything living in the rock if it’s been sitting outside for a while. Some people may choose to use sandpaper to scrub off any old dirt or tough spots from the rock before using it, but this is not necessary.
Step Three: Packing the rocks
This will vary depending on what you’re using them for, but generally speaking it’s a good idea to make sure the rocks are evenly packed and level. As an option, if you want to use lava rock for a fire pit or similar outdoor fixture, you can fill up the bottom layer with sand and cover it with lava rocks. This will help prevent any sparks from burning the bottom of your fire pit. If you are using the rock to cook on, they can be stacked in a pyramid shape with kindling below them so that the heat radiates down around whatever you’re cooking over them.
Step Four: The fire
Once the lava rocks are packed, you can use them for a fire. You will need smaller kindling and fuel to start the fire with. Once these things are burning well, add larger pieces of wood onto your flame. The stones should not catch on fire; rather, once they have absorbed heat they will just glow red. You may choose to add more lava rocks over time, but do not add them all at once. This will decrease the heat of your fire and make it harder to cook over or keep going.
How to arrange lava rocks on a gas fire pit
Lava rocks are decorative items used to cover the grate of a gas fire pit. Gas fire pits come with an igniter and lava rocks in order to spark a flame and keep it going. Lava rocks catch the flames and emit them upward, providing warmth for people in close proximity. Little is required when choosing how to arrange lava rocks on a gas fire pit. Since lava rocks are decorative, their arrangement does not need to follow any particular order or pattern. The only important factor is that the grate is covered entirely for safety reasons.
Lava rocks come in different shapes and sizes, including roughly round, smooth spheres of varying thicknesses and smaller irregularly shaped rocks. Lava rocks are larger than river stones, so they need to be arranged in a pattern that leaves adequate room for breathing between each rock. Arranging the fire pit takes little time, but it has important consequences related to safety.
The lava rocks should be placed on top of the grate using care not to drop or throw them. Throwing or dropping will break them and create sharp pieces that can injure people nearby. Arrange the lava rocks in a pattern, such as stacking smaller ones on top of larger ones in order to leave breathing room between each layer. A somewhat random but still orderly arrangement with adequate breathing room is also an option; however, any patterns should be spaced at least an arm’s length apart.
After the lava rocks are arranged properly, they can be lit using an igniter. The gas fire pit should emit a flame almost immediately but may not do so if it is new or recently used. If no flame appears within five minutes, contact a service specialist for assistance.
Other than this initial step, there is little to do beyond enjoying the flame and warmth. The lava rocks may crack over time and need replacing; check with the owner’s manual for specific circumstances. Failure to replace lava rocks can lead to poor flame conditions and a dangerous situation.
What should I be aware of when using lava rocks?
1- The first thing to remember is that lava rocks are considered “dirt” by the EPA. This means they cannot be disposed of in a landfill due to their flammability and the chemicals inside them. Never use a dumpster or a garbage can to dispose of your lava rocks.
2- Using lava rocks for a fire pit is not always the best route to take, as they are extremely heavy and can damage your grass if you place them on top of it without having some sort of protection underneath. Also keep in mind that water can seep through the small holes in the rock, creating an unwanted muddy mess.
3- Avoid rocks with chipped edges, as these can spark and cause injury. Also keep in mind that your rocks may need to be wetted down so they do not catch on fire while you are using them or later when it comes time for disposal.
4- Lava rock is porous, which means that if a grass fire were to start in your pit, the porous rocks can give off vapor and might explode.