Building a fire pit in your yard is a great way to add more character and ambiance to your home. There are quite a few things to consider first, however, such as can you put a fire pit on concrete or will a fire pit damage concrete too much?
The answer to both these questions is “Yes” – you can place a temporary or a permanent fire pit over concrete but the high heat is going to damage the concrete eventually. Knowing how to protect concrete from fire pits is key here as is knowing whether you want to place your fire pit on a concrete slab in the first place anyway.
Here’s what you’d want to keep in mind:
How does fire damage concrete?
Fire doesn’t damage concrete immediately as it damages wood. For short-term exposure, concrete is fire-resistant enough to survive undamaged. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures like the ones generated from a wood-burning fire pit, however, can cause the concrete base to crack and spall over time.
Repairing cracks in concrete is usually inefficient as they will remain weak spots in the concrete base. Instead, removing and redoing the concrete base is recommended, even though it’s both time-consuming and expensive.
The benefits of placing your fire pit on concrete
Concrete makes for a safe and stable foundation for a fire pit that can’t catch fire. When it’s on concrete, you can rest assured that your fire pit will be safer from structural damage and deformities, and your property will be safer from accidental fires.
Are you going for a permanent or a temporary fire pit?
Concrete won’t get damaged by fire right away so if you’re just going for a single-season temporary fire pit, the concrete base underneath it should be safe if it wasn’t already damaged or compromised. If you want a permanent fire pit fixture in your yard, however, you’ll either need to find a way to protect the concrete base or accept the fact that you’ll need to fix/replace it once every several years as it will eventually begin to crack.
How to protect the concrete base from damage?
One solution is to pick a prefabricated fire pit with legs. This way you can still benefit from the safety of the concrete foundation without exposing it to heat directly.
Alternatively, you can get a lower decorative fire pit with no legs but with a protective base that can simply be placed on top of the concrete base and mitigate a significant portion of the heat.
However, if you want to directly build a DIY paver or stone fire pit on concrete the same way you would on soil – damage to the concrete over time will be unavoidable.