Have you decided to elevate your backyard? Maybe you want to build your own outdoor fire place. Will it work well for your family and how you like to relax? What’s cool about using an outdoor fireplace kit is that it’s not just a pretty addition for your patio; it’s like a special spot for chilling out. Imagine hanging out with your friends and family outside, telling stories while the fire makes crackling sounds.
Unfortunately, even though snuggling up by an outdoor fireplace sounds like a great way to unwind and forget about everything else, some folks wonder if they can really build one in their backyard. When they hear “DIY,” they might instantly think, “No way can I do that.” However, the right kit will ensure your DIY outdoor stone fireplace is a success. You won’t need any fancy tools or have to cut any materials. All you need is a cohesive step-by-step plan to guide you through!
How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace – What You’ll Need
- Ensure the base is strong enough and deep enough to stop frost from pushing it up. Use the map for help and follow local rules.
- Get a Stone Age outdoor fireplace kit.
- You’ll need two strong people who can lower a 300-pound piece of concrete and lift a 125-pound part about four feet up.
- Have a hammer ready.
- Make sure you have a level tool.
- Get some trowels for spreading mortar.
- Keep a bucket of water handy for applying mortar, at least 8 ounces, or up to half a gallon.
- Get a Stone Age high-temperature mortar (you might need more if you have extra flues).
- Use fire brick splits; these are stronger and can handle more heat than regular bricks. Use them to line the firebox.
Form Actionable and Foolproof Outdoor Fireplace Plans
Start by heading out to your backyard to check if you have enough room. Depending on your kit, you’ll need to make enough space for it to fit. Furthermore, think about whether you want to burn wood or use gas logs. Do you need extra space above the chimney? It’s a good idea to answer these questions now to avoid surprises later on. If you prefer a taller chimney, want to store wood on the side, or opt for gas logs, I offer various options to customize the kit to your preferences. If you need help with planning your outdoor living area, you can find more information in my article on the topic.
Fireplace Preparation and Configuration
Make sure it’s not too close to your home and there’s enough space between the fire and things that can catch fire. Now, decide if you want it to be 36 inches wide or 48 inches wide. How tall should it be? Do you want to add extra stuff like fireboxes or a special base or chimney cover?
After that, get your site ready. Make sure the base goes down to the frost line in your area so the fireplace won’t get messed up by “frost heave.” Once you put on the mortar and outer layer, fireplaces can weigh a whopping 4,000 pounds, and they might tilt if you don’t consider frost heave.
Finally, pick how you want the firebrick inside the firebox to look. You can make it like a running bond or herringbone, or choose something else. Also, decide how wide the spaces between the bricks should be.
Begin with the Foundation
When you’re building on concrete, it’s not too complicated as long as you follow some basic steps. Here’s what you should think about:
- Prepare the Base: First, make sure the concrete has a base made of crushed aggregate, about 4 to 8 inches thick. Don’t pour concrete directly onto the soil; it needs this base.
- Reinforce with Steel: Put some steel reinforcement in the concrete. This makes it stronger. Make sure you follow your local rules when doing this.
- Right Thickness: Your concrete pad should be at least 4 inches thick, and it can be up to 8 inches thick if needed.
- Think About Expansion: If you’re building on an existing concrete pad or one that’s much bigger than your fireplace, be careful. You should make expansion joints around the fireplace. These joints make sure that the weight of your fireplace won’t crack the concrete pad.
- Hide the Joints: You can make these expansion joints almost invisible. Here’s how:
- Lay down the first layer of blocks where you want your fireplace.
- Mark around them with a permanent marker.
- Take the blocks away.
- Use a concrete saw to cut along the lines you marked.
- When you put the first layer of blocks back, they should cover up the expansion joints.
- Separate Pad: These expansion joints create a separate pad just for your fireplace. When things move or settle, this pad can do it on its own without affecting your main concrete. This keeps your main pad from cracking because of the heavy weight of the fireplace.
Prepare the Kit
Begin by snipping the plastic strap and enlist the help of two people to arrange all the components. Get the flues off the pallet and keep them aside for later use. You won’t need them right now, so they can be moved out of the way. Each of these pieces weighs approximately 100 pounds.
Next, remove the throat pieces from the pallet. You’ll recognize them by the fireplace size painted on them. Set these pieces aside. Now, take the wall pieces from the pallet and position them closest to the assembly area. These are the rectangular pieces along with the cut “tapered” piece.
Start Building Your Outdoor Fireplace
You can now build your own outdoor fireplaces by following these steps:
- Firebox Setup: Building the firebox is simple. It’s lined with firebrick and has an opening that needs a lintel. Just follow the instructions step by step, and you’ll be fine.
- Smoke Chamber Building: When you’re making the smoke chamber, leave about 2 inches of space from each side and 4 inches from the front. It might be tricky to measure, so you can use a simple jig or your fingers. If it looks good to your eye, it’s good.
- Chimney and Cap: Now, move on to the chimney. Stack your blocks while keeping things level, square, and plumb, just like before. The chimney is the same size all the way up, which makes it easy. If you have wooden boxes, use them instead of ladders; it’s safer and simpler. You can extend the chimney’s height up to 48 inches for clearance. Putting on the cap is a bit tricky, so use ladders and get a friend. Plan for safety and have a backup in case the cap falls.
- Finishing Touches: Lastly, add the finishing blocks. These are the lightest and smallest ones. They’re used for trimming the top of the chimney and creating a mantle. Make sure to glue these down well because they’re not locked in place like the other blocks.
Veneer the Same Day
You can put the outer layer on the fireplace on the same day you build the base. If you plan to use stucco, stain, tile, or thin manufactured stone for the outside, cover the firebox with metal mesh. Attach the metal mesh with concrete nails or anchors. But if you’re using natural stone, full-size bricks, concrete pavers, or CMU blocks, you don’t need metal mesh. Just make sure you use the same mortar you used to build the kit for installing these materials.
Wait for 30 Days Before Lighting Your First Fire
For the fireplace to set properly, it’s crucial to wait for 30 days before you light any fires. We suggest beginning with small fires after you build your own outdoor fire place.
Build Your Own Outdoor Fire Place to Increase the Value of Your Home
Transform your backyard into a cozy oasis after you build your own outdoor fire place. Imagine the joy of gathering around the crackling fire with friends and family, sharing stories and creating lasting memories. Building your dream outdoor fireplace is easier than you think, especially with a reliable kit and our step-by-step instructions. Whether you want a classic wood-burning fireplace or the convenience of gas logs, we have options to suit your preferences. Plus, our tips on site preparation and construction ensure a sturdy and safe installation.