Imagine cool evenings spent around a crackling fire, marshmallows roasting, and stories shared with friends and family. Building a fire pit in your backyard can transform your outdoor space into a cozy retreat.
But before you grab your bricks and mortar, let’s dive into the details of how many bricks you need for a fire pit, the types of bricks to use, and essential tips to ensure your fire pit stands the test of time.
How Many Bricks Do You Need For Common Fire Pit Sizes?
When constructing a DIY backyard fire pit, one of the most important calculations is determining how many bricks you will need. The number of bricks required depends on the size, shape and design of your fire pit. Here is a detailed look at how to estimate brick quantity for some of the most popular fire pit dimensions.
For a 3-Foot Diameter Round Fire Pit
A 3-foot diameter fire pit is a common compact size perfect for small backyards. To make a single-layer ring, you will need approximately 80 standard brick units. Standard bricks are the typical rectangular size of around 8 inches long by 4 inches high.
To calculate the number needed, the circumference of a 3-foot diameter circle is 3.14 feet x 3 feet = 9.42 feet. With standard bricks that are 8 inches long, you would need around 113 linear feet of bricks (9.42 feet x 12 inches per foot = 113 inches). With each standard brick covering 8 inches, 113 inches divided by 8 inches per brick equals about 80 bricks for a single ring.
This estimate is for a single-layer design using full standard bricks stacked vertically. If you wanted to make a wider ring with bricks stacked side by side, the quantity would be reduced. For a more visual design, you could also incorporate special shape bricks or double up certain areas with extra rows.
For a 5-Foot Diameter Round Fire Pit
Stepping up to a 5-foot diameter pit increases the circumference and brick estimate significantly. Performing the same calculation, the circumference of a 5-foot diameter circle is 15.7 linear feet. This requires about 188 inches of brick, which divides out to roughly 235 standard bricks for a single vertical ring.
A 5-foot wide fire pit provides much more heating capacity while still fitting nicely in small to mid-sized yards. The larger diameter creates a more prominent focal point and allows bigger groups to gather around the fire comfortably.
For a 7-Foot Diameter Round Fire Pit
At 7 feet in diameter, this becomes a spacious fire pit able to accommodate larger gatherings. The circumference of a 7-foot diameter circle is nearly 22 feet. Following the same math, you would need around 265 standard bricks for a single-layer ring.
One way to reduce the high brick count is to do a double-layer ring for only the first course. This uses fewer bricks but still provides a wide base. For example, doing a 12-inch double layer on the first course reduces the overall courses and bricks needed by 25-30%.
For a 4 Foot by 4 Foot Square Fire Pit
Suppose you want a square fire pit instead of a round one – how many bricks do you need? Say you want a 4 foot by 4 foot square pit. To calculate, figure the number of bricks needed for each of the four sides.
Each side is 4 feet long. With standard 8-inch long bricks, you need 6 bricks per side (4 feet = 48 inches. 48 inches / 8 inches per brick = 6 bricks). With 4 equal sides, you will need a total of 24 bricks for a single-layer 4×4 square pit.
This compact 4×4 size works well for small urban backyards. It still provides intimacy for 2-4 people while maximizing smaller spaces.
For a 5 Foot by 5 Foot Square Fire Pit
Going up to a 5 foot by 5 foot square fire pit increases the brick estimate to 30 bricks. Each 5 foot side requires 7 full standard bricks. With 4 equal sides, 7 bricks x 4 sides = 28 bricks. Rounding up gives an estimate of 30 bricks for a 5 foot square.
This larger square design can comfortably accommodate 4-6 people. The extended area also leaves room for generously-sized fires.
For a 10 Foot by 10 Foot Square Fire Pit
On the higher end, a 10 foot by 10 foot square creates a spacious pit able to host larger gatherings. Each 10 foot side will need 12 standard bricks. With 4 equal sides, you need 12 bricks x 4 sides = 48 bricks for a single course.
To reduce the bricks required, consider doing a smaller 8 foot square as the inner fire floor. Then you can surround it with a single ring of bricks to create the 10 foot outer dimension. This 8 foot inner square with a 1 foot brick surround requires roughly 64 bricks total.
Here is a table summarizing the number of bricks needed for different fire pit sizes:
|Fire Pit Size||Shape||Number of Bricks Needed|
|3-foot diameter||Round||80 bricks|
|5-foot diameter||Round||235 bricks|
|7-foot diameter||Round||265 bricks|
|4×4 feet||Square||24 bricks|
|5×5 feet||Square||30 bricks|
|10×10 feet||Square with 8×8 inner ring||64 bricks|
Tip: The shape of your fire pit (round vs. square) and number of brick rings/layers will also impact brick requirements. More complex multi-level designs require additional bricks.
Building Tips for Your Brick Fire Pit
1. Brick Type:
Selecting the right brick type is crucial for the stability and aesthetic appeal of your fire pit. Rectangular bricks work well for a square ring, providing a clean and modern look. If you’re leaning towards a circular fire pit, trapezoidal bricks are your go-to choice.
Mortar is the glue that holds your fire pit together. Plan on using about five bags of 80 lb. or Type N mortar mix for a standard-sized fire pit. Ensure the mortar is mixed to the right consistency, neither too dry nor too wet. Regularly check the level of the bricks as you go, tapping them down to maintain an even surface.
Tip: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the mortar mix for the best results.
Leveling is crucial for the structural integrity of your fire pit. Tap down bricks between courses to ensure they are level. Periodically check the level while the mortar is still wet, making adjustments as needed.
Pro Tip: A level fire pit not only looks better but also ensures proper air circulation for an efficient burn.
4. Face Brick:
Consider using face bricks with holes (“cored”) as they are easy to split with a brick hammer. This can be handy for creating a more customized and intricate design for your fire pit.
Size Matters: Determining the Ideal Fire Pit Dimensions
The ideal size of a fire pit depends on your intended usage and the number of people you want to gather around it. Here’s a quick guide:
- A fire pit with a diameter of 36–44 inches comfortably seats multiple people.
- For two to four people, consider a fire pit with an interior diameter of 3–4.5 feet.
- Larger groups may require a bigger fire pit.
Remember to leave at least 7 feet of space around the fire pit for furniture and traffic flow.
Exploring Fire Pit Sizes and Styles
Fire pits come in various sizes and styles to suit different preferences and spaces. Here’s a glimpse into the world of fire pit dimensions:
- Fire Pit Tables: 20–25 inch tables are suitable for small spaces, while 40–45 inch tables work well for larger seating areas.
- Fire Pit Benches: Aim for a seat height of 15–20 inches off the ground.
- Distance from Seating: Maintain a distance of 18–24 inches between the fire pit and seating. Wood fire pits should be at least 30 inches away, while gas fire pits should be at least 24 inches away.
- Gravel Pad Size: A 14×14 or 16×16 gravel pad is usually the minimum size for a fire pit area.
Fun Fact: The average size of a fire pit is 36–44 inches in diameter, perfect for accommodating multiple people while maintaining an intimate setting.
Standard Brick and Mortar Sizes
Accurate calculations hinge on comprehending the standard sizes of bricks and mortar. Here’s a breakdown of the common dimensions:
- Standard bricks measure 190 x 90 x 90 mm (length x depth x height).
- The practical application size, including mortar thickness, is 200 x 100 x 100 mm.
Mortar Joint Size:
- Opt for the most common mortar joint size of 3/8 of an inch, although 1/2 inch joints are also widely used.
- A single standard brick course comprises 86 mm (76 mm of brick and 10 mm of mortar).
Expert Tip: For a sturdy fire pit construction, consider using 18 blocks per course as a general rule of thumb.
By mastering these foundational aspects of fire pit creation, you’re not just building a functional addition to your outdoor space—you’re crafting an atmosphere that invites warmth and connection. Happy building!
What Kind of Bricks Are Used for Fire Pits?
Fire bricks, also known as refractory bricks, are the top choice for building the inner walls of your fire pit. These bricks are specially designed to withstand high temperatures, making them ideal for the intense heat generated by a fire.
- Density: Fire bricks are denser and larger than regular bricks.
- Material: Made from materials like alumina and silica, ensuring integrity even at extreme temperatures.
- Durability: Although more expensive, fire bricks offer longevity and can withstand nightly fires for years.
While regular bricks can be used for the exterior layers or in combination with a fire pit bowl, fire bricks are essential for the interior where temperatures can soar.
Will Regular Bricks Work for a Fire Pit?
Regular bricks can be used for a fire pit, especially if you incorporate a fire pit bowl. However, keep in mind that regular bricks can crack at high temperatures. If you opt not to use a bowl, it’s advisable to use fire bricks for the interior layer where heat is most concentrated.
Caution: Never use concrete bricks in a fire pit, as they can crack and compromise the structure.
Regular clay bricks generally withstand temperatures up to 900°C, making them suitable for the exterior layers. If you want to add a touch of creativity to your fire pit, consider using alternative materials for the exterior, such as sandstone. Steer clear of rocks that can explode under heat, like limestone.
How Much Do Fire Pit Bricks Cost?
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Fire pit bricks can cost approximately $0.86 each, with a range from $0.75 to $0.98. If you’re specifically looking for fire bricks suitable for fire pits and pizza ovens, be prepared to spend around $3.00 per brick.
Tip: Prices may vary based on location, availability, and the specific type of bricks you choose.
But constructing a fire pit involves more than just the cost of bricks. The overall expense depends on the building material you opt for. Here’s a breakdown:
|Building Material||Average Cost|
|Stone or Field Stone||$300|
|Brick Paver or Fire Brick||$280|
|Natural Stone Kits||Up to $3,000|
And if you’re considering a brick fire pit with professional installation, be prepared to invest between $300 and $2,200, depending on the complexity of the design.
Pro Tip: DIY fire pit projects can significantly reduce costs, but it’s essential to balance your budget with the desired level of craftsmanship.
This Backyard Fire Pit Cost Under $500!
Proper ventilation is key—the pit walls should never be higher than the diameter of the pit itself. Keep at least 10 feet clearance from structures.
Ring the pit interior with firebrick or use a steel burner bowl. Don’t use river rocks or volcanic rocks that can explode from heat exposure.
Check local building codes for any fire pit requirements, permits, or restrictions. Avoid locating your pit under tree branches or power lines.
Ready to Build Your Fire Pit?
A DIY brick fire pit is an achievable weekend project for the intermediate homeowner. There is a satisfying sense of accomplishment in constructing a permanent fire pit using materials like brick and mortar.
With a little bit of planning, you can determine exactly how many bricks are required based on the specifics of your design. Then it’s just a matter of acquiring your materials and getting your hands dirty! Be sure to enjoy many nights of warmth around your new fire pit.