Building a fire pit in your garden is one of the most rewarding projects you could possibly undertake. Picture pleasant evenings spent with your loved ones watching the flames and enjoying the crisp evening air. However, suppose you’re building the fire pit yourself. In that case, the conventional construction methods involving mortar and concrete may be far too labor intensive and expensive to complete. Maybe be you should consider alternatives and building your fire pit without mortar.
To build a brick fire pit without mortar, your best option will be to use a steel fire ring combined with a pit filled with gravel and retaining wall blocks or conventional masonry blocks. To ensure the bricks remain firmly in place, you should use masonry adhesive, particularly for the capstones.
There are several ways to build a brick fire pit without needing mortar. This will save you time, money, and extensive labor. When building a fire pit, particularly one you are building on your own as a DIY project, it’s important to consider several other factors to ensure that the project functions as it should and is as successful as possible. You should try to eliminate extra costs.
How To Build A Brick Fire Pit Without Mortar
Once you have located the perfect spot in your garden to build your fire pit, you can follow the guidelines below on how to construct it without mortar if you are planning this as a DIY Fire Pit Project rather than calling a tradesperson.
- drive a stake into the ground at the desired center of the pit. Use a mason’s line and loop it around the stake.
- Next, tie the mason’s line around a can of paint, preferably the white landscape type of paint.
- Using the line and the paint, create a painted circle to the desired diameter.
- Once the pit’s location is marked out, dig a trench with straight sides to a depth of one foot. The trench width should be the same as the width of one block. The area encircled by the trench should be dug by approximately six inches.
- The next step is to lay the ring of blocks down in the trench to allow you to see if the pieces fit in the circle, removing them afterward.
- Fill the trench with six inches of ¾-inch drainage gravel. Next, compact the gravel and add more to ensure the trench is even and level.
- Once the trench is perfectly level, place the first block into the ring. Using a spirit level, ensure that the brick sits completely level in all directions.
- Ensure that the block is level and properly positioned in the trench before you continue with the next block. Continue laying the bricks in this way until you have completed the ring.
- Once you have completed the first layer of bricks, squeeze some masonry adhesive onto the top and lay your next block on top of the glue, ensuring it is centered over the two bricks below.
- Once you have completed the second course, fill the pit in the middle of the pit. Now continue building the wall with the third and fourth course of bricks, remembering to stagger the joints.
- The next step is to insert your steel ring into the center of the circle created by the brick wall. Ensure it sits evenly with the top of the block wall, and fill in any spaces between the ring and the brick wall using gravel.
- Next, you need to lay the cap pieces on top of the walls, allowing for an overhang. Glue the pieces to the top of the wall, or use mortar if your cap pieces are made of natural stone.
We have an Fire pit mortar infographic that maybe useful that highlights some of the options for mortar and firepit’s you can share or click the image below.
Advantages Of Building A Fire Pit Without Mortar
To build a conventional fire pit with mortar, you first need to dig a footing trench thirty inches deep at minimum. This trench would need to be filled with concrete, which is no small undertaking for your average DIY enthusiast. Even if the concrete was delivered to your property, you would most likely have to transport it to the site using a wheelbarrow. So more and more people are considering building a fire pit without mortar.
This increased labor is somewhat undesirable. Another alternative would be to mix the concrete by hand. However, this is another labor-intensive process that would be somewhat time-consuming.
Once you have laid the concrete footing, you need to lay the bricks using mortar. This is another time-consuming process requiring a substantial amount of labor and expense. Not every DIY enthusiast is necessarily good at jointing and brickwork. The results can often leave much to be desired if the person placing the brickwork is anything less than professional.
Opting for a brick fire pit without mortar will negate any need for concrete, mortar, or other extensive labor elements. It will make it easier for you to build your fire pit without additional labor. A traditional fire pit on a concrete footing can quickly become expensive and relatively difficult to complete.
We also have other articles on fire pits covering everything from construction to safety here on the site. we have include some in a list below but you can search firepit for more.
Considerations For Building A Fire Pit
Several considerations go into building a successful fire pit with or without mortar. Firstly, you should consider the building codes of your locality. Codes will stipulate a minimum distance that must be adhered to between your home and the fire pit.
In most cases, there should be a specific fire pit code for your specific area. This will stipulate the required distance between your fire pit and any surrounding structure or overhanging trees. In most cases, the required distance is 25 feet.
You should also consider how the wind will move through your property. Prevailing winds are an important consideration, as the location of your fire pit in relation to the wind will affect how the smoke is blown. There is potential for the smoke to be blown into the windows of your home or those of your neighbors.
They will also stipulate the required distance between the new fire pit and your neighbor’s property and any other external features such as the perimeter walls surrounding your home. It’s important to ensure that your fire pit is located away from other features such as septic tanks, leaching fields, property lines, or well heads.
The size of your fire pit with or without mortar is another very important consideration. If the fire pit is too big, it will make it difficult for people to have conversations from either side of the fire pit. If the fire pit is too small, there may not be enough space to build a sufficiently large fire pit to accommodate the needs of the people using it.
The optimal size for a fire pit is between 36” and 40”. This measurement refers to the internal diameter of the fire pit. This size will allow sufficient space for a healthy, successful fire. It will also allow sufficient space for the people around the fire to sit close enough to maintain conversations.
The walls of your fire pit should ideally be less than one foot high. This will ensure that the walls of the fire pit are stable. The base should be buried below the ground in a hole lined with gravel. This trench into which the base of the fire pit walls will go should be around 12 inches deep. This means there will be as much of the wall sticking out of the ground as buried under the ground.
To build a brick fire pit without mortar, your best bet will be to use either retaining wall blocks or traditional masonry blocks. You can create an effective fire pit without needing any mortar by combining the blocks with gravel and a steel fire ring.
Although there is plenty of option for building fire pits, or even purchasing them ready made or in a kit form, building without mortar can offer you an easier route.