How to Use Lava Rocks for a Fire Pit? 5 Easy Steps To Start

How to Use Lava Rocks for a Fire Pit

To beautify and make fire pits more effective, people put different materials in it. One of these materials is lava rocks. You must have seen several fire pits with lava rocks in them.

So, why do people use them in fire pits? What are the benefits of lava rocks? These are the questions that we hope to answer with this article because they are among the questions that we have been receiving.

Also, we will discuss the best ways to use lava rocks in your fire pit. Another common question that people ask is, how much lava rocks do they need for their fire pit?

While there is no straight answer to the question, we have given you a very accurate way to quantify the quantity of lava rocks that you need for your fire pit. So, without further ado, let’s get straight to the heart of the issue.

How to Use Lava Rocks for A Fire Pit?

To use lava rock in your fire pit, the pit must be ready before you add some lava rocks into it. There are two basic types of lava rocks.

You can get them in black and in red colors. We like to remind you that lava rocks are better in a gas fire pit.  Here are the steps involved.

Step 1:

After arranging the bricks around your fire pit, it is important to cement it and allow it to dry up. While it takes only 24 hours to dry up, we will advise that you leave it for two days.

Step 2

Inspect it to be sure that that it has dried up inside-out.

Step 3:

Measure its diameter and depth, so you can calculate the quantity of lava rocks to purchase. If you don’t know how to calculate it, don’t worry. We will show you how to calculate it in this piece. Just continue reading.

Step 4:

Pour a layer of sand at the base of the fire pit for a solid foundation before you add the lava rocks. In the alternative, you can use pea pebble instead of sand. It will perform the same function.

Step 5:

Pour the lava rocks in the fire pit and spread the rocks evenly around the fire pit. After that, you can now start the fire. Ensure that the rocks are of the same size, and you should also make sure that they are not wet.

Wet rocks can explode and fly out of the fire pit. We don’t need to tell you that flying rocks can cause injuries if it lands on someone.

What Does Lava Rock Do For a Fire Pit?

People have asked several times that why do they have to put lava rocks in their fire pit. Here is the truth. You don’t have to put lava rocks in your fire pit if you don’t like the idea.

However, we will advise you to put it because you need materials that will promote even distribution of heat and also protect the components of your fire pit like the burner.

Lava rocks carry out both functions very well. That’s why we will encourage you to put it. In addition, we have outlined the benefits of placing lava rocks on your fire pit.

1. Lava Rocks Protect the Burner

As mentioned earlier, lava rocks have the ability to protect the burner of your fire pit from harsh weather conditions day and night. The rocks do not only shield the burner from harsh weather.

They also shield the burner from intense heat. The fire will only burn at the surface, so the heat won’t get to the burner down there. That way, your burner will last much longer. And it will be in perfect condition all the time.

2. Even Distribution of Heat

Have you ever sat near a campfire only to realize that certain parts around the fire are hotter than other parts, and everyone shifts to the hotter part? It happens, and it is because the heat around the fire is not distributed evenly.

Lava rocks prevent that kind of situation. As long as you distribute the rocks evenly over your fire pit, the heat coming from the fire pit will be distributed evenly.

3. Hotter Fire

Lava rocks make fires hotter. This is because the rocks get so hot, and they begin to radiate heat too. This makes the fire hotter and the atmosphere warmer. We actually confirmed this fact ourselves.

We lit our fire pit without lava rocks and took down the atmospheric temperature. After that, we lit the fire pit again after adding some lava rocks. We were shocked that the atmosphere was hotter.  So, we can categorically tell you that lava rocks make your fire hotter.

In addition to these three benefits, we want you to know that lava rocks are cheap, so you can afford them. Also, they are very durable. It’s not like you will keep replenishing them every month. A set of rocks will last for a very long time.

How Much Lava Rock is Needed for a Fire Pit?

As explained above, we can’t give you a straight answer to this question. This is because the quantity of the lava rocks that you need depends on the shape and size of your fire pit.

However, we will explain a simple formula that we have been using to quantify the amount of lava rocks needed for each fire pit, and it has been working.

Before then, let’s explain how the rocks are sold. This will give you a better idea of how much lava rocks you need. A 5-pound bag of lava rocks should cover about 0.24 square feet approximately. A 10-pound bag will cover double the area since it is double in size.

Also, a 25-pound bag will cover about 1.16 square feet. Now, let’s teach you how to calculate the required quantity.  If your fire pit is rectangular, here is the calculation. Multiply its height by length and by depth.

Then, you should divide the answer by 19. Here is an illustration. If the height of your fire pit is 4 inches, its depth is 2 inches, and its length is 5 inches, here is the required quantity of lava rocks.

(4 x 2 x 5)/ 19 = 2.1 pounds.  So, you will need about 2.1 pounds of lava rocks for your rectangular fire pit. Having said that, now let’s do the same for a round fire pit.

If your fire pit is a cylindrical one, you will have to multiply its height by its diameter twice before you divide the answer by 19. Here is another illustration. If the height of the fire pit is 4 inches and its diameter is 3 inches, here is the right quantity of lava rocks for the fire pit.

(4 x 3 x 3)/19 = 1.89 pounds.  For the round fire pit, you will need 1.89 pounds of lava rocks.  One more thing- you can’t get that exact measurement. So, in both cases, 2 pounds of lava rocks will be fine.

4 Tips On How to Use Lava Rocks?

1. Rinse them once in a Year

For durability, we advise that you should remove your lava rocks and rinse them in cold water once in a year. After that, leave them for 24 hours to dry up before you place them in the fire pit again.

If you use your fire pit often, then you may rinse them more often than once a year. You could make it once in 6 months.

2. Always Cover your Fire Pit

Cover your fire pit when it is not in use. This will not only shield your fire pit from long exposure to sunlight, but it will also protect the lava rocks. You don’t want the sun to weaken them gradually.

3. Rinse them Before use

Every bag of lava rocks comes with some dust that may affect the burning of your fire. So, you need to pour the rocks into a bucket. Then, rinse off the dust from every piece of rock. Allow them to dry before you spread them in your fire pit.

4. Check the Drain Hole Regularly

We will also advise you to check the drain hole of your fire pit regularly for any blockage. If there is, you should remove it immediately.

If it is blocked, it will prevent water from flowing freely, and this will, in turn, prevent the lava rock base layer from drying up.

Final Word

By now, you should have learned how to use lava rocks for a fire pit. Also, we explained how to determine the quantity of lava rocks that you will need for your rectangular or round fire pit. Not only that.

We also explained why every fire pit needs lava rocks. Lava rocks protect the burner, they make fire hotter, and they help to distribute heat evenly. Don’t just keep the information to yourself. You should share it.

June Brandt
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