Outdoor Gas Fire Pits
Outdoor Gas Fire Pits
There is a vast range of Outdoor Gas Fire Pits to choose from. It’s enough to make your head spin.
Whether you want a ready-made gas fire pit or prefer something custom-built, it can be tough to know where to start.
To ease your journey through the decision process, we have outlined some advice and suggestions on narrowing down the choices to help you find the right outdoor gas fire pit that best suits your needs.
To help you along we have categorized our range of fire pits into four groups:
- Fire Tables – dining height fire pits with large table tops providing plenty of space for dining and entertaining
- Fire Pits – chat height and coffee table height fire pits.
- Fire Bowls – great for smaller spaces, setting on a pedestal
- Fire and Water Features – a beautiful combination of planet Earth’s two most powerful elements
Codes and Regulations
Before any decisions about buying an outdoor fire pit is made, check with your local authorities regarding codes and regulations applicable to the installation of an outdoor gas fire pit.
You should also refer to your building or homeowner association if you live in an apartment complex or condo, to see if there are any restrictions regarding fire pits.
A gas outdoor fire pit is much safer than a wood-burning fire pit. The flame is much more controllable and stable; they do not launch red hot embers into orbit like wood burners.
As a result, there is much more freedom regarding where an outdoor gas fire pit can be situated relative to other installations.
Local codes and regulations will often stipulate safe distances to other buildings and fences. The fire pit manufacturers also make recommendations in their installation manuals.
On some occasions, these recommendations may not align with each other. Fortunately, that is an easy dilemma to resolve. In every situation, make sure that the local codes and regulations are applied, first and foremost.
If, however, the manufacturer recommends a greater clearance to other installations and objects than the codes and regulations, follow the manufacturer’s guidance.
That way, you have complied with both the local codes and recommendations and the manufacturers.
Codes and regulations may also regulate the type of gas and the specification of the equipment. Outdoor gas fire pits in some counties have to be licensed and may be subject to a site inspection by the local fire department.
Be sure to follow the regulations to the letter. Otherwise, expensive mistakes and disappointment may result.
Now that we have the bureaucracy out of the way let’s get to the fun part.
Choosing your fire pit style
With so many shapes, colors, textures, and designs of outdoor gas fire pits, it can be bewildering trying to decide what would be the best for your specific requirements.
A great way to start narrowing down the options is to consider the style of the outdoor gas fire pits available, and which would be the best fit for you.
We are looking for a style that best coordinates with your existing backyard colors, textures, and shapes.
A traditional backyard setting with lots and stone and timber prominent in its design probably would not be best served by a stainless steel gas fire pit with sleek, smooth lines as its centerpiece.
Something more subdued with earthy colors and perhaps a textured finish might be more appealing.
Conversely, the sleek, smooth lines of the stainless steel fire pit would look awesome on the terrace of a modern Manhattan all glass and steel condo.
Next, you can consider how you and your family would use the fire pit. Seek out fire pits that provide the features you need. For example, would you like to be able to put down a plate of food or a glass of wine on the edge of the fire pit?
If so, look for an outdoor gas fire pit with a wide lip, or perhaps you may think that a fire pit table might better suit your family’s needs.
Something to keep in mind is that a lower gas fire pit, sub 20 inches tall, will provide more heat to people sitting around it than taller fire pits.
Continue to whittle down the options by style and functionality, and you will quickly have a much smaller range of suitable outdoor gas fire pits from which to choose.
Which Shape of Fire Pit Should You Choose
The shape of the fire pit you finally settle on will also be influenced by the style of its surroundings.
However, some practical considerations apply to the shape.
If space is limited, then round fire pits are best. No one wants to be the person who has to sit at the corner of a square or rectangular shaped table.
We’ve all been there, and it is never quite as comfortable as sitting at a round table. The same applies to fire pits. The circular shape provides the most comfortable seating for the smallest footprint.
A square or rectangular shaped outdoor gas fire pit requires more space but provides a great entertaining environment if you have space.
The shape can also be a design theme. Some years ago, a customer of ours created an elaborate patio seating area based on hexagons ready for his hexagonal fire pit to sit as the project’s centerpiece.
Common Materials used in an Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
A gas fire pit has a harsh life. Its operating temperature can be as high as 800 degrees, and after it has been off for a few hours, the surrounding air temperature could be -30 degrees.
In such a potentially extreme working environment, the materials used in the construction of an outdoor gas fire pit need to be robust.
At The Magic Of Fire, we only offer fire pits from manufacturers who have a proven track record and are prepared to stand behind their products.
Concrete is a popular material for fire pits. The end product is, however, heavy and prone to cracking.
Leading manufacturers have addressed both of these issues, by casting the concrete with glass fiber strands reinforcement. This is Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete, often referred to as GFRC, and is ideal for an outdoor gas fire pit.
The resulting product is approximately 50% lighter than pure concrete, and stronger too. The glass fiber strands prevent cracking.
During the manufacturing process, the color is often infused into the mix. Any scrapes or chips are far less visible because the color goes right through the material.
Another new material utilized is Corten Steel, a copper chromium alloy steel. It is weather-resistant, and its finish is best described as ‘rusty.’ Corten looks great in traditional settings, but it can also be very impactful in very modern styles.
Copper is a long time favorite and looks great wherever installed. Stainless Steel is also growing in popularity, particularly for modern and urban surroundings.
Landscaping / Hardscaping Projects
If you are planning a Landscape or a Hardscape project, continuity throughout the design is often required. One of our favorite Outdoor Gas Fire Pit manufactures. The Outdoor Plus company produce their extensive range of GFRC Fire Bowls in five different configurations:
3. Planter and Water
5. Fire and Water
With these five options, you can maintain a design style, color, and texture on features throughout your project.
Size and materials obviously affect the price of a gas fire pit. However, another primary issue affecting the price point is the Ignition System.
Outdoor Gas Fire Pit Ignition Systems
Almost all the outdoor gas fire pits available on The Magic of Fire will have at least two Ignition System options. All have been certified by either CSA or UL Certifications to meet the highest standards of safety for gas appliances
The most budget-friendly is a Match Lit ( Match Throw ) system, and most fire pits will be Match Lit as the standard specification with options to upgrade.
A Match Lit System requires the user to turn on the gas via a valve installed on the gas fire pit, and use a taper or match to light the flame.
The flame height is adjusted from the valve, and to shut off the fire pit, just close the valve.
Depending on the brand, potential Ignition Upgrades may include:
- Spark Ignition – a battery-powered Push Button Ignition System ( +/- $100 )
- Flame Sensing – a system that monitors the flame and automatically shuts off the gas if the flame extinguishes. ( +/- $1,000 )
- Electronic Ignition – also monitors the flame and automatically shuts off the gas if the flame extinguishes, but it makes several attempts to re-light it first. These systems are highly sophisticated and provide further options such as remote control, downloaded APP control for mobile phones, etc., and integration with ‘whole house’ control and pool control systems. ( +/- $2,000 )
Please Note: the prices shown are for the upgrade cost over and above the initial cost of the basic Match lit uni
You can find out more about ignition systems in our article ‘Gas Fire Pit Ignition Systems. What you need to know‘.
Six Great Reasons to Get an Outdoor Fire Pit
1. People love fire pits. A fire pit is a natural way to create a focal point within your outdoor entertainment area. Like watching the waves on the sea, watching the flames dancing on fire glass is hypnotic, and people love to gather around.
2. A fire pit lights up the night. Landscape lighting, no matter how good it is, can’t hold a torch to how a fire pit lights up the proceedings. Nothing creates an ambiance like an outdoor gas fire pit.
3.Limited space? No problem. Fire pits work in both large and small areas. You’re sure to find a fire pit for even the most modest urban yard. For bigger spaces, add seating around the fire pit.
4. Fire Pits are for year-round. You can light up your fire pit at any time of the year. Hot cocoa and thick blankets to wrap up in on a winters night around the fire pit, perfect.
5. Feeling romantic? Just the two of you, a bottle of wine, a sky full of stars. What could be more romantic?
6. Fire pits help sell your home! According to a recent survey by Houzz, outdoor gas fire pits are among the three most popular renovation features in backyards. Which means fire pits are trending. A well designed outdoor entertainment area with a fire pit as its centerpiece might well swing a sale your way, should you decide to sell.