How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

As a family man, you ought to be very good with your hands. You have to work with carpentry tools often. With this skill, you can build and repair things around the house easily.

However, despite knowing some carpentry skills, it is not very easy to build a fireplace, especially outdoors. Here are some helpful tips for you to learn how to build an outdoor fireplace.

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Essential Tips on How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Don’t fret! We will give you some tips on how to build an outdoor fireplace right away. However, the entire project is quite complicated. To explain it more clearly, we would have to divide it into parts. Please continue reading to understand.

Part One: Creating the Design

Before building it, you would first have to create the idea in your head. With your imagination alone, you can cut downtime and labor costs. Now that you know how the fireplace should look, you can start designing. Here are the steps.

  1. Make the Plan and Stick to It

First, you have to make clear plans. Learning how to build an outdoor fireplace would be easier to do if you have a concrete plan already in place. You have to know what kind of material you are going to use and how big it would be.

Check online for possible design templates that you can use for your outdoor fireplace. This way, you will have a possible peg for your design. Memorize it. By having it in your head, you can save a lot of time and energy building it.

  1. Find Out the Costing and Formulate Your Budget

You have to figure out the price. If you are serious about learning how to build an outdoor fireplace, you must find out how much it would cost. This way, you can create a list and budget your money accordingly so that you won’t have to spend too much if you don’t have to.

Try to search for affordable but long-lasting materials. It will save you money with repairs in the long run.

  1. Consider the Material

Third, think of the kind of fireplace you would want to build outdoors. It has to do with the specific design and material. There are many options available for you. Here they are as follows: 

  • Brick
  • Steel or Metal
  • Earthen
  • Stone
  1. Know Your Purpose

After considering what kind of material you are going to use for the fireplace, the next thing that you should do is to determine your purpose for building the contraption. The reason for the installation can determine many other design factors that can come into play when building your fireplace.

For example, it would be best for you to use strong and solid materials for the base if you want a decorative piece for the garden. This way, it will not easily wear down because of natural forces.

If you’re going to use it for entertainment purposes, it would be best for you to make it bigger so that you can have more heat for your house guests, even outdoors.After this, you can learn how to build an outdoor stone fireplace easily.

Part Two: Following Safety Regulations

Now that you know the basic design of the fireplace, you can focus more on getting things done. In this section, we will learn more about how to build an outdoor fireplace right away and to follow safety regulations while doing so.

  1. Know the Function

The next step that you need to take when building a fireplace outdoors is to think about the functionality of the whole thing. Will you use gas-burning fireplaces or wood? Find out which is the most cost-efficient and choose that. Consult a trusted family member or friends before making a choice.

  1. Get the Proper Permits

Most of the time, a DIY outdoor fireplace is powered by wood or gas. By using wood, you will create a more natural ambiance while still giving your fireplace a modern flair. However, you would still require a permit from the local government unit to build a wood fireplace in the backyard.

Why? Primarily because fireplaces are considered safety hazards, and if you place it outside, it can potentially harm not only you and your house but also other people’s property.

  1. Hire a Professional Contractor

Furthermore, you should consider hiring a contractor if you are to build a gas-powered outdoor fireplace. This particular type of fireplace is safer and much more environmentally friendly. You will have less smoke and embers to encounter if you use gas to power your fireplace.

A contractor will be able to give you the proper measurements for your gas fireplace. They will also be able to handle the equipment and necessary installation procedures for the whole project.

The only problem with this is that it will cost you even more down the line.

  1. Use a Fireplace Kit

After choosing the material and the size of the fireplace, you have to on installing it right away. It will help if you use a fireplace kit for easier assembly and building. However, you don’t need it if you are a professional home builder. 

However, that would be an advantage if you use a fireplace kit because it has everything that you might never need when it comes to instructions and proper handling tips. It won’t matter if you are trying to build a simple fireplace or one with an ornate design. The kit will take care of everything for you. Just make sure to read everything from cover to cover before embarking on a project like this, especially if you are a beginner.

Part Three: Building It

Now that you already have the design of your outdoor fireplace, the next step would be building the whole thing. This section will discuss some of the few steps that you need to take to do so. Please continue reading to learn more.

  1. Pour the Concrete

The first thing that you need to do when building your fireplace is to pour the concrete onto the platform that you are going to use. It helps create a foundation for your outdoor fireplace. If you’re pressed for time, please make sure to use quick-dry concrete to speed things up.

After this, please leave the concrete to try for at least 24 hours.

  1. Check with Local Authorities

More so, you have to make sure that you can check with local authorities on how to dig your foundation correctly. Much like building a house, learning how to build an outdoor fireplace takes time. Consult the proper authorities before continuing with the project.

The average measurements for a strong foundation would be up to 6 inches of concrete or 15.2 cm deep.

  1. Use Concrete and Mortar to Build Your DIY Outdoor Fireplace

It is also important to note that builders use concrete and mortar regularly when building an outdoor fireplace. However, there are distinct differences between the two. You can use the concrete floor of laying the foundation of your fireplace and utilize a mortar afterward to bind the mixture together. The latter has strong unifying agents that will keep the concrete from the solving and cracking down under pressure.

After laying down the concrete, place the mortar on top of your concrete or cinder blocks. When doing this, try to follow the plans precisely. Keep all the rows of blocks adequately leveled. The blocks ensure that the fireplace does not fall apart.

Also, try to spread mortar in between each block if you’re using cinder. It will make the foundation even stronger than before.

If you think it’s needed, try to lay down your fire brick inside your firebox. Please handle it carefully when installing this particular piece in your fireplace. The build will not work well if you don’t install the fire brick properly.

Here are some additional tips that you need to remember when installing a fire brick.

how to build an outdoor brick fireplace

More Tips: Use the Criss-Cross Pattern

Make sure to create an inlay pattern for the firebrick. It makes stacking the bricks a lot easier and safer.

You also have to make sure that you place the firebricks from left to right. Leave of least ¼ inch or 0.6 cm of space in between each firebrick. As soon as you finish, lay another brick on top of the two intersecting ones. Then, lay down another two bricks on top of the one brick using the same pattern.

Next, remember to mix traditional mortar with high-temperature mortar. This particular basin will ensure that the fireplace can withstand high temperatures even when used for long periods. It will also hold the firebrick together.

Additional Reminders 

When laying down your firebricks, You ought to cut corners and edges to make it fit into the frame. Though it isn’t strictly needed, it will shrink the firebrick down to a smaller size, which can be good for the overall design of the outdoor fireplace.

You should also try to remove any air bubbles from the fire brick and mortar using your jointer and a brush. Using these tools, you can pack and push the mortar into the seams without any problem. Try to remove any dust using a brush. Make sure it’s clean.

Now you can leave the firebox to dry for at least 24 hours. 

The Main Parts You Should Focus On

  1. The Spark Arrestor

After you have installed the firebox, the next step would be to add the spark arrestor. The downside? You can only use this with wooden fireplaces. How does it work? It traps the embers into the hearth. You will be safer if you install this particular part right away.

  1. The Hearthstone

You might be wondering what the hearthstone is. It is the very tip of your fireplace opening—the focal point of the whole structure.

It should be at least 10 feet or 3 meters in height. You should also place the hearthstone away from anything that might burn. Remember to install this correctly because it is one of the most critical parts of the fireplace.

Hearthstone Measurements 

It should also be at least 16 inches long in front and the least 8 inches on the sides. If you’re going to build a larger firebox (six more square feet), make the stone of least 20 inches longer in the front end 12 inches on either side.

You should also use a thicker mortar and put them at least 1 inch apart from each other. Use the mallet to make sure that it would be smooth and level.

Make sure that every material that you are going to use for this part is entirely fireproof. It should be at least 10 cm thick. (At least 4 inches)

Other Important Reminders 

If the hearthstone is not level with the firebox, this would be okay as long as everything is smooth. The smooth texture will make it harder for embers to fly out. 

Use mortar to connect the joints of the fireplace. Please cinder blocks are neither side and attach it using a mortar solution. It will add to the strength of the foundation of your fireplace. Just like before, allow the mortar to dry for a day or so.

Tips To Remember When Building a Gas Fireplace

If you’re going to use a gas burning fireplace, please make sure to connect it to a gas line. Just follow these few tips to keep yourself safe.

  • First, you should turn off the gas before installation.
  • Always use plumbers’ putty to connect the threads to the flexible lines.
  • Use a wrench to tighten the connection. Test the connection by using dishwashing soap on the line itself.
  • Afterward, you can power up the gas. If you see bubbles, try to refit the connection.

Once you can do all of the steps, mission accomplished! 

Part 4: Final Reminders

Find the Right Location for Your Outdoor Fireplace

Finding the right location for your outdoor fireplace is also one consideration that you should take. Aside from placing it far away from anything that might burn, you should also protect it from winds and rain.

If you place it in a drafty location, it might blow away the fire before it even ignites.

Consult the Proper Authorities 

When building your fireplace, you should consult the proper authorities first. Get the right measurements and size of the structure before you make final plans. This way, you will feel safer knowing that you are not endangering herself or anyone else with the project.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help.

This tip is a no brainer. While you can do some of it by yourself, you cannot do the whole project alone. You would have to ask for help at some point. Aside from seeking expert advice, you should get as many people to help you out with the heavy lifting.

This way, you will not have difficulty learning how to build an outdoor fireplace as soon as possible. As they say, two heads are better than one, right?

Get a Fixed Budget

Create your budget list and stick to it if you can. This way, you will be able to designate cash for your fireplace without having to pull from your other funds. By doing this, you will not end up depleting all of your resources down the line. Your family will love you for it even more

Copy Other Designs, but Make It Your Own

Don’t be afraid to copy other designs, but make it your own. When building a fireplace outdoors, try to emulate well-known designs and patterns from other homeowners. However, add a dash of your personality in the design. For example, if you have found a red wooden fireplace, you can copy the design but change the color.

It will allow you to be more creative and free when it comes to building and designing. It is all about creating something that you would love to have in your home. If you don’t like the design or color scheme, there would be no point in building it.

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FAQs: How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Can Gas Logs Be Installed In My Outdoor Fireplace?

Yes and no. If your fireplace can burn wood, it will most likely work with gas logs. If it doesn’t, then you may not be able to do so.

Can I Install Electric Fireplaces Outdoors?

Yes. There are specialized fireplaces that can work outdoors with electric plugs. Here are some steps on how to install it.

What Do I Need to Know Before Choosing an Outdoor Fireplace?

You have to focus on the design as well as the location of the fireplace. Your purpose for installing the fireplace should also be clear to you. 

Can I Burn Wood in My Gas Or Electric Outdoor Fireplace?

Yes. It depends on the design of the fireplace. Some can burn wood while still using electricity and those that can’t. Take note of the fireplace design and specifications before purchasing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, building an outdoor fireplace is no easy task. However, if you know what to look far and how to go about the project much more prudently, you will succeed in finishing it without any problems. Just be smart enough with your finances to help you find this particular endeavor. Everything else will follow after this.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give it a shot. Building a fireplace outdoors is tedious but fulfilling. You might even end up helping others do it on their own once you finish up.Learning how to build an outdoor fireplace will make you an even better person for sure.

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