7 Things to Consider When Building a DIY Gas Fire Pit

Christine Herrington

Christine is our Chief Editor and a contributing writer to the site.

Last Updated on May 9, 2021

If you’re considering building a DIY gas fire pit, there are a variety of things you’ll need to consider before you start. It’s essential you do your research before diving straight into the building process. 

Taking it one step at a time ensures you can create a model that will last through many seasons of regular use. Before you know it, you’ll be able to sit around your creation with friends and family, enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Here are the top factors to consider when building a DIY gas fire pit from the parts you’ll need to gas supplies.

7 Things to Consider When Building a DIY Gas Fire Pit
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Table of Contents

1. Do You Know What Your Gas Supply Is?

Before you even begin to design your new DIY gas fire pit, you’ll need to find out what your gas supply is. It’s safe for you to use propane or natural gas. However, you’ll need to make sure that your BTU ratings and supply pressure are regulated for both.

For propane, the gas supply pressure should always be set between 8”-11” of water column. For example, if you are using a 20 lb. propane tank, ensure the tank’s maximum output is between 90,000 and 125,000 BTUs. Use a regulator to determine the output. This is extremely important because the BTU rating of a 20 lb. tank has the capacity to limit your burner options to sizes rated for 125,000 or less BTU.

With natural gas, ensure the supply pressure is set between 3.5”-7” of the water column.

2. Do You Have the Right Fire Pit Burner?

After you’ve determined your gas supply, you can design the shape and size of your fire pit burner. 

When selecting the right burner, opt for around 6” smaller than the inside dimension of the pit’s enclosure. This ensures there is a 3” gap between the inside edge of the pit and the edge of the burner itself. These dimensions provide enough space around the whole of the new gas fire pit burner.

3. Do You Have a Fire Pit Pan?

These pans are recommended if you’re building a regular fire pit burner. Enclosure’s top surface, they are required if you’re constructing a gas burner that will be using a propane supply. This is because they keep the burner supported within its enclosure and reduce the amount of fire media (tempered glass, stone, lava rock, or ceramic pieces) you need to use. 

Your fire pit pan can either be a bowl-style or flat – anything that accommodates the way you have constructed your pit. Note that it should be installed at a minimum 3” to 4” below the top surface of the enclosure. For a fire pit with a propane gas supply, the fire pit pan can separate the air mixer from the burner. In traditional fire pit designs, they can help the pit with ventilation and water drainage.

4. Is Your Gas Fit Adequately Ventilated?

It is required that all fire pit burners have good ventilation. The recommended amount is 36 in2 or 3 x 18 in2  vents on opposing sides, which will create a substantial airflow.

The primary reason ventilation systems need to be put in place is to help the fire pit release excess gasses from its enclosure. Ventilation systems that work efficiently can also help remove excess heat and provide the burner with constant fresh air.

When it comes to gas fire pits, especially propane gas supplies, proper ventilation is imperative to prevent the buildup of toxic and flammable fumes.

5. Do You Have a Flange Extension?

Flange extensions are an essential component for finishing your DIY gas fire pit construction. This is because, in a lot of cases, the shut-off valve tends to be located within the fire pit. If the enclosure walls are more than 3” thick, you’ll need to use a flange extension

Having a flange extension gives you the freedom to construct your fire pit with any material of your choice, including brick or custom stone, while keeping the same functionality.

6. Does Your Gas Fire Pit Have Installation Collars?

Installation collars ensure the installation process of a gas fire pit pan is as simple as possible. Providing stable support for your fire pit pan, they either anchor themselves to the stonework or are mortared into place to allow for a quick drop-in installation of a pan. 

Installation collars are extremely flexible, and you can mold them into whatever size or shape is required. They bend perfectly for round enclosures and only require concrete screws to be anchored perfectly into place.

7. What Fire Media Do You Have?

Fire media are the materials used to fill up your gas fire pit burner and allow it to operate correctly and safely. Available in a variety of choices, from tumbled lava rock, fire glass, and authentic log sets, fire media is the final step to completing your DIY gas fire pit.

It is recommended that you use a maximum of 2” to 4” of fire media. This amount will cover your burner and pan, allowing for a substantial fire when you get your pit going. 

It doesn’t matter what type of fire pit media you choose. One fire media is not better than another; it’s purely up to what kind of aesthetic you want. For a more traditional vibe, why not opt for log sets? When you light your fire pit, you’ll be instantly hit by the delicious smell of burning wood – a perfect addition to sitting around your fire pit on a hot summer evening. 

Alternatively, if you prefer a more modern look, choose a tempered glass to give your DIY gas fire pit a futuristic feel. The fire media you choose will ultimately dictate the final look and feel of your fire pit.

Start Building Your DIY Gas Fire Pit

Once you’ve made the tough decisions about media, materials, gas supply, and ventilation, you can begin constructing your DIY gas fire pit with confidence. Choose the dimensions and shape you want for your outside space, and get ready to enjoy long, relaxing evenings with friends and family.

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