There is something quite relaxing about sitting around a fire pit, and there is no other form of outdoor fireplace that provides the same level of coziness in your backyard patio.
In spite of this, some people forget just how hot a fire pit really gets when they’re having fun. Fortunately, you can take some precautions to keep your cement patio from getting damaged by heat. If you want to know how to do it, continue reading!
Can Fire Pits Installed on Cement Patios Pose a Safety Risk?
It is understandable that people are concerned about their concrete patio being damaged by a firepit because temperatures can reach extremely high levels. Leaving your fire pit unattended can cause severe damage to your concrete foundations and even compromise the structural integrity of your home.
In most wood-burning fire pits, the bottom is made of wrought iron, aluminum, or copper, which conducts heat well. People will love this when they’re crowded around it for warmth. When you have it just six inches above your cement patio, it’s not so good.
An unshielded concrete patio will be damaged over time by a wood-burning fire pit. Most of the time, it doesn’t result in an explosion, but rather appears as rapid erosion or discoloration. Unlike wood fire pits, propane ones don’t have the same problems. With the help of a quality fire pit mat, you can easily resolve this problem.
While some fire pits can seriously damage concrete patios, others are remarkably safe. If your unit is one of the most dangerous ones, though, you can still mitigate its effects.
How Can Fire Pits Damage Cement?
Concrete over time can be damaged by fire in several ways. First of all, extreme heat will dehydrate concrete. Since it technically cures over its entire lifespan, it will always contain some water—regardless of its age as the fire draws moisture out of the cement, pockets of air form, and causes cracks.
If your patio is filled with a variety of building materials, the aggregate used in your concrete might expand or break down depending on the type. One example is quick-mix concrete which uses limestone as its primary aggregate. In high temperatures, it will break down, causing cracking and failure of concrete.
Conversely, quartz aggregates are more durable than limestone, which is used in many types of concrete. It will not disintegrate when heated as limestone does—instead, it expands. In order to achieve this, you’ll need a patio made from the limestone-type aggregate.
As a side note, if you regularly enjoy your outdoor fire pit, you should consider getting a fire extinguisher. You want to be sure it works when you need it, so always keep it inspected and up-to-date!
What is the Best Way to Protect My Patio from a Fire Pit?
Keeping your outdoor space safe from fire damage can be accomplished in a number of ways. The following tips can help you maintain safety in your outdoor areas:
Heatproof Mats or Pads
In order to prevent heat from damaging the concrete or wooden deck, a heat retardant mat or pad should be placed under the fire pit that is elevated above the ground.
These mats are designed to resist fire and heat. They are usually easy to set up and portable, so they can be used anywhere outdoors.
Fire Pits with Screen Protector
When sparks from a fire pit land on materials such as fabric, dry leaves, and grass, for example, they can ignite a fire. Having spark screens for your fire pit is important if you want to prevent sparks, embers, or ash from leaving your pit and potentially harming you, your guests, or your pets.
There are many different shapes and designs of fire pit screens. The most common fire pit is a semicircular dome-shaped fire pit with a handle on top and a wire mesh.
Also available is a hinged spark screen that features two hinged doors on the front, which can be folded on top to allow you to tend your fire.
Keeping a fire pit clean, removing flammable materials around it, and raking up dry leaves will help minimize risks. Additionally, make sure you don’t leave your fire pit unattended or burning overnight if you are asleep. Make sure you are vigilant and prepared to extinguish a fire in case of any safety concerns.
Have a Safe Fire Pit Experience with West Hills Masonry
A cement patio can be transformed into a fire pit by using the proper process and products when buying or constructing them.
You can diffuse the heat by using bricks or pavers. It is also possible to purchase a fire mat that is extremely heat-resistant. Whatever your choice, you will need something between your fire pit and your concrete surface.
Learn how our patio ideas can help you achieve all your landscape and hardscape goals with a free quotation on your next landscaping project on your Orange County property. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at 714-519-5009 at West Hills Masonry today!