Fire Pit Pans and Trays
Fire Pit Pans and Trays are a great tool to help you build a successful fire pit. To understand why that is, it helps to have a clear idea of what constitutes a good fire pit structure, into which you are going to fit the pan or tray.
Gas fire pit structures must be ventilated. Codes in some areas of the country require ventilation, and all manufacturers recommend the provision of ventilation. It is, however, often overlooked in the construction of a fire pit.
The Industry Standard recommendation is to provide ventilation on two opposing sides of the fire pit. Each side should consist of 18 square inches of ventilation, totaling 36 square inches.
For Propane installations, the venting must be positioned as low as possible in the structure. ( propane is heavier than air and will sink if left to its own devices. )
There are two very good reasons for this venting:
- In case of any gas leak within the structure, the venting will clear out the potentially dangerous build-up of a gas cloud.
- The ‘through draft’ created by the vents will help keep the equipment cool.
Vent covers should be installed to prevent the critters from getting inside the fire pit and chewing through your gas lines.
For the reason of creating through ventilation, a fire pit structure needs to be a hollow one. Which raises the following question
- How and on what do I affix my burner.
- What is going to support my fire glass/lava rock
So now, it is clear why we shouldn’t just fill the fire pit structure with sand or pea gravel and put the burner on top. That removes any option of venting the fire pit correctly.
I have seen some people use a wire mesh to support the burner. Only recently, we had a call at the office from a lady, her flagstone had cracked at the side of the fire pit.
She sent us a photo. Her burner was sitting on a steel mesh, and over time it had moved off-center and was far to close to the stones. The stone got overheated and subsequently cracked.
None of which would have happened if the contractor had initially used a fire pit pan or tray.
There are two types of fire pit burner pans:
One style Fire Pit Pans has a recessed area into which the burner and any ignition system is securely fixed. Around the recessed area is a flange or lip, which varies in width depending on the brand, but is usually about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches wide.
These are called Drop-In Fire Pit Pans, and they make installation very straightforward. The lip sits on the upper surface of the fire pit structure, neatly framing the fire pit.
The stainless steel lip becomes a feature of the fire pit. Most Drop-In Pans are about 2 inches deep. This positions the burner below the top of the fire pit, which keeps it out of the breeze.
As the name suggests, flat pans do not have a recessed area. The burner is secured to a flat service.
Flat pans need some provision to be made in the construction of the fire pit structure to secure the pan.
Usually, these are either ‘Z’ brackets or ‘collars’ set into the inner wall of the fire pit structure.
When the fire glass/lava rock is installed the flat pan becomes completely hidden from view.
Both styles of pans create a false bottom and neatly hide the gas pipes under the pan and providing a secure surface for your fire glass/lava rock.
All fire pit pans and trays should be manufactured from 304 Grade Stainless Steel for durability.
Those available on The Magic Of Fire qualify for a Lifetime Warranty