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How to build an outdoor gas fireplace?

An outdoor gas fire pit can be a wonderful addition to any outdoor area. There’s no wood to gather, no stoking required, and you’ll enjoy the same warm space that a wood fireplace would provide. But, how to build an outdoor gas fireplace?

A gas fireplace is harder to install than a wood one. Since gas lines need to run for the fire pit, it requires the knowledge and skills of a professional and also more time to be installed. But, even with a longer installation, they do not require the amount of time you would spend by stacking, ordering, and seasoning the wood needed for a wood fire pit.

In today’s article, you’re gonna read a complete guide about building an outdoor gas fireplace.

How to build an outdoor gas fireplace?

The installation of a gas fireplace differs from a wood fire pit in many ways. A gas fire pit has fewer rules to follow, but the gas and electric lines that go to the fire pit have to be installed correctly and very carefully. 

Step 1: Choose the location

The ideal place to build an outdoor fire pit is on a flat, level surface, like a patio or a deck. For installations on grass and decks, you’ll need to use a non-combustible base underneath to prevent radiant heat from transferring to the surfaces and starting a fire.

Step 2: Choose the gas type

The second thing you need to do is choose the type of your future fireplace. There are a few types of gas fireplaces that are suitable for use outside areas: natural gas and propane.

Gas outdoor units are very easy to install if you already have gas coming into your property, but a professional is necessary to connect the appliance to the gas main. If you don’t have gas on your property, you can use a propane burner, they are also good if you don’t want to dig to route for gas lines.

Step 3: Install the concrete base

Dig a hole for the base, then line the sides with wood, extending to the desired height for the fire pit. Fill the hole and form with concrete, properly reinforced with rebar. Level off the top to create an even base for the fireplace and a fireproof separation between the fire and the surrounding space.

Step 3: Choose your enclosure and ventilation

The next thing is choosing and designing a frame that will enclose the fireplace. Ensure that there is enough space between the wooden frame and the fireplace to fit in some insulation.

The enclosure is the “body” of a fire pit and it houses all the inside components. To construct the fire pit enclosure, you can use masonry bricks, or you can buy an unfinished enclosure.

No matter what type of gas fire pit you’re installing is necessary to include ventilation in the base. The ventilation is super important because provides fresh air for the ignition system to work, allows for continuous airflow and water drainage, and prevents excess gas and heat from building up inside the enclosure. The ventilation system must include at least two built-in air vents on opposite sides of the fire pit. 

Step 4: Choose the burner and other components

Now is time to choose the burner, pan, connectors, fittings, media, ignition system, and air mixer (for propane fire pits only).

  • Burners will determine the size and height of the fire. They come in several shapes, sizes, materials, and BTU capacities. Burners can be bought individually or in a fire pit burner kit that comes complete with all of the necessary components.
  • The pan sits directly underneath the burner and holds the media. Most burners come with pans attached to them, but some require the pan to be purchased separately. If you’re buying separately, you have to consider the size and shape of the fire pit, and if you’d like the pan to be recessed into the surface or be leveled with the top.
  • The connectors and fittings are small parts that sit inside the enclosure and are used to route the gas to the burner. For this, avoid using a corrugated pipe, elbow connectors, and sharp turns in your flex hose.
  • The media helps to distribute the gas evenly to create a natural flame pattern. For that, you can use a ceramic gas log set, lava rock media, colored fire glass, fireballs, or firestones.
  • The ignition system is used to start and control the fire. You can choose between a manual or an automatic ignition system. Automatic systems require an electrical connection, but they are also the simplest to use.
  • If you choose a propane fire pit, you might need to choose also the air mixer. Usually, the manufacturer of the burner generally determines the type of air mixer you need. And they need to be installed vertically and as close to the burner as possible.

A lot of details, right? To help you make all these decisions and avoid any future accidents, the best thing is having a professional to do all this for you.

Step 5: Connecting the Gas Fireplace

Now that you have all of your components picked out, it’s time to connect the fireplace. But it’s important to note that this is not something you should do yourself. When it comes to gas and electrical installations, it’s very recommended to have them done by licensed professionals.

If your gas line and connections aren’t correctly hooked up, it’s very dangerous. So, take the safe road and hire a professional to do the work.

Can I build a gas fireplace myself?

For your safety, we recommend you not to. As you may realize with this article, but building an outdoor gas fireplace is very complex and high detailed. Since you’re getting into the gas and electricity area, by far, the best option is leaving the work in hands of professionals.

In this case, by hiring a professional you can have a guarantee that your project is gonna have quality, beauty, longevity, and, most important: safety.

S&S Pavers has over 10 years of experience doing that in the counties of Manatee and Sarasota. From the design of your project to its execution, we can handle everything. And if you worry about the price, you can get a free estimate for your project! If you live in Florida, don’t hesitate to contact us!