Lava rocks is one of the most popular materials for fire pits because people can rely on it.
Well, people can rely on it because it is safe, cost-effective, easy-to-use and yes, there are many more you need to know about it, if you are new to this.
Chances are you are maybe going to arrange a barbecue party in your backyard or just install a new fireplace for your place.
However, if your question is ‘are rocks safe for fire pits?’ then the answer is YES. feel free to read why rocks are safe and many more facts about them.
Why Are Lava Rocks Safe?
Besides numerous benefits of rocks, the most important feature is that they work as a protector of the fire pit burner from several elements. Lava rock contains a solid layer on it that works as a shield for your fire pit’s burner.
For this, while various weather conditions help water or moisture to move into the fire pit’s burner, it can handle this situation with its drainage system. Whereas if you use any regular rocks or random river rocks, they do not have this feature and this is why they carry a risk of exploding.
So, this special safety feature made it unique. Moreover, there are plenty of compelling reasons you will go for it. Let’s explore:
Lava rocks are praised for the heat retention properties. This means it can distribute the heat evenly even for an extended period.
This is one of the primary reasons why people use it to put at the bottom of their fire pits.
Also, lava rock is widely used in barbecue grills because it can retain and distribute heat evenly.
For a real-life example, if you grill before or grill frequently, you may witness the ‘cold’ spots on your grill (because there the heat distribution was not even).
Lava rock can solve the problem by distributing the heat properly and make your party more enjoyable.
We have already talked a bit about it. Lava rock have a thick layer (3-4”) that serves as a shield for a fire pit’s burner. Mainly what is happening here is that when you lit the gas fire pit, the gas will move through the spaces of lava rock as well as keep the flame burning on the top.
So, both the flame and the heat remain on the top of the fire pits. This is how lava rock can protect your burner from that extreme hit by its incredible insulating properties. Eventually, this feature lets the burner perform better as well as extend its life.
Yes, lava rock are weather-resistant. Lava rocks have three to four inches of a thick layer that can work as a protector of your fire pit’s burner from any type of weather. Due to the water-resistant property of lava rocks, this helps to move the moisture into the fire pit’s drainage system.
Since lava rocks are originated by volcanic rocks, they can withstand even extremely high temperatures. Also, they are too durable to be crumbled or damaged. Lava rocks require a little maintenance and for their durability, you can use them repeatedly.
The other special features of lava rocks are they are inexpensive, lightweight, eco-friendly, and have no chemicals or additives. Also, lava rocks can keep their natural beautiful color well over time. In case, your lava rock is exposed to the sun (for a long period) you should cover the firepit when in no use. It will help to keep everything safer.
What Are The Alternative To Lava Rocks?
If you are interested to know about the alternative options to lava rocks, then here you go:
No, I am not talking about the normal glass that explodes when it is too hot.
Fire glass is something different because these crystals are ‘tempered’ that make them heat resistant and fire-safe to withstand any high level of temperatures.
Fire glass contains all the good features of lava rocks, both of them are very good heat conductors.
But fire glass is more expensive and they will show dirt and soot way more than lava rocks.
This is another option you may use instead of lava rock. It can be used both with lava rock and on its own. It is cost-effective and very easy to install. Also, it distributes heat well.
But sand will not look attractive on its appearance. Also, ash may get mixed up with the sand and create a mess (in particular, if it gets wet).
Another easy option is dirt. This is heat resistant, easy to install, and cheap. But you have to undergo many downsides. The ash from your fire pit will get mixed up in the dirt and will be messy. You have to clean it using a shovel and also replace it.
For your kind information, here we compiled some additional information that is very important to keep in mind while using your fire pit. Let’s check it out:
- Always use safety gloves when you handle the firepit
- Clean the lava rocks and fire pit every few weeks
- Avoid using fire pits on windy days
- Never heat the lava rocks when they are wet
- Always use tiny rocks (size as a dime)
- Avoid using river rocks or any random rocks
- Put something under your fire pit when it is on grass
- Make sure you put out the fire utterly once you’re finished with it
How Long Do Lava Rocks Last?-Get Your Answer Now!
Lava rocks are becoming more popular day by day as most of the home growers are waking up to these rock’s many advantages.
Chances are you are one of these home growers as you are reading this.
However, before you go with lava rocks, it’s important to know everything about them.
If the question ‘how long do lava rocks last?’ is popping up in your mind, then keep reading to know your answer. We have broken down the facts of lava rocks in bite-size chunks in this article.
So, let’s get to know more.
How Long Will Your Lava Rocks Last?
Lava rocks are volcanic rocks that are extremely durable and they will provide you a huge number of benefits. Moreover, they will serve you without the need of replacing every 6-12 months.
However, you will need to take care of them, clean them regularly, and be careful about all the maintenance they require.
Lava rocks help to conserve water, due to being porous, water can filter through the rocks. Besides, due to being lightweight, you may not break your back putting the rocks in the place.
How Do Lava Rocks Work In a Fire Pit?
When you turn the gas on and lit your fire pit and install large-sized rocks into your fire pit, the large cavities or gaps in the rocks will allow the gas to escape quickly. But it is needed to slow a little down.
In another word, we must create a protective layer between the flame and the burner. The protective layer will allow the gas to pass through. And here you go with the easiest as well as the most effective way to do so- use lava rocks! ¼ to ½” will be better as a filler. This will slow down the rise of the gas but remember to avoid impeding it too much.
One recommendation for the conventional style burners, bury the burner beneath the lava rocks until there’s a minimum ½” of lava rocks over the burner. However, this ‘filler’ concept is allowed for both propane and natural as installations.
Once you installed the filler base, you may arrange now your larger lava rocks on top.
One point of precaution, in case, you have a propane gas fire pit- propane is heavier than air. So, when it will escape from your burner, one of its natural reactions is to flow down instead of upward. If the flame is not as you wanted then check whether you may have covered the burner with too much filler or not. If it is yes then try to remove some of them and check if it evolves the flame quality.
Why Should You Use Lava Rocks
Well, there are some compelling reasons to use nothing but lava rocks. Such as…
It Contains Protective Porous Surface
What does it mean to have a porous surface? Well, what this means is there are blank spaces along the rock’s surface that let the gas or liquid to flow through the rock. The blank spaces are also called vesicles that were created due to gas bubbles within the lava rock.
So, what good news porous surface gives us? This surface will allow for water drainage and keep your lava rocks dry, at the same time will protect the bottom of your fire pit from the direct heat.
It Protects the Burner from Exposure
As we told before, by adding a 3-4” layer of lava rock, it will work as a shield to your burner from several weather conditions. Due to having natural insulating abilities, it also will shield the burner from the direct heat of surface flame.
Moreover, lava rocks will create the even distribution of the flames. Yes, they will distribute even heat throughout the burner pan due to their special ability to hold in heat.
However, this feature will give you a longer-lasting as well as better performing fire pit.
It is Heat and Water Resistant
The heat resistance property of a lava rock will ensure the protection of your gas fire pit. The second property of a lava rock is a little contradictory. Moisturiser that sticks to the high surface of the rock makes it has a high capacity to hold the water. But, despite this capacity, lava rocks have incredible drainage.
It Requires Very Low Maintenance
Another benefit of using lava rocks is they are easy to clean and maintain. To clean lava rocks, simply use water, like- put the rocks in a bucket and add some water. Then just let the rocks soak a bit. You may even add a bit of mild soap that will remove any dust that may have built up in the rock’s porous structure.
Must be sure that the rocks are utterly dry before you lit your fire pit up!
So, lava rocks will give you output for what you put into it. I mean if you take care of your fire pit and the rocks properly, you will get long-lasting and perfect lava rocks. If you waste a minute to cover the fire pit regularly, you just have to clean the lava rocks every six months to one year.
It is Durable and Natural Looking
As lava rocks are made from volcanoes, they are so durable. And, about the natural look- well, tell me what’s more natural than anything from this earth itself? Lava rocks are so beautiful that they’ll provide a natural look to your pit.
Here is the end of our discussion. Hopefully, you enjoyed the writing and got what exactly you need to know. So, ‘are lava rocks safe for fire pits?’ is no more a hard nut to crack for you.
However, lava rocks are rich in a lot of amazing features that may compel you to use them for your fire pits. Just do not forget to use safety precautions before and during handling fire. Always be careful about fire safety while using a fire pit. For example, never place your fire pit under power lines and try not to use liquid accelerants. Besides, keep something (e.g fire extinguisher or sand) near your elbow for extinguishing the fire if it starts getting out-of-control.
Wish you good luck!