What To Put In The Bottom Of A Metal Fire Pit – 7 Practical Tips

  • By: Mike Hale
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

It’s perfect weather for enjoying our evenings around the fire pit. If you’ve recently purchased a metal fire pit and have some questions like, what to put in the bottom of a metal fire pit, then this article is for you. Here we will answer the most commonly asked questions regarding the metal fire pits. 

Do I Need A Metal Insert In My Fire Pit?

This is the most common question asked by the new fire pit owners. The answer to whether or not you need a fire ring or fire insert depends on several factors. If you’ve built a permanent fire pit in your backyard, we strongly recommend you to use a metal insert.

However, if your fire pit is temporary or semi-permanent, there is not much need for a metal insert. A metal fire pit insert or simply a ring basically helps maintain the structure of the fire pit. It protects its surface and keeps its appearance to the point.

The metal lining protects your fire pit from high heat exposures. So, in simple words, the main function of metal inserts is extending a fire pit’s life, especially the masonry fire pit. This is because a majority of construction materials can’t stand well to the high heat exposure. Constant heat exposure can break down the construction adhesive and ruin the entire structure. Hence, to prevent this, metal or ceramic inserts are used.

So, if you have a permanent fire pit, then you should use a metal lining. Otherwise, you can do fine without it.

What To Put In The Bottom Of A Metal Fire Pit?

There are many options to put in the bottom of a fire pit including sand, dirt, gravel, lava rocks, fire pit glass etc. You can choose any material for lining your fire pit depending on the availability and also your budget. 

If you don’t want to invest a lot, then we recommend using sand as it is easily available and cheap as well. Sand helps in an even distribution of heat inside the fire pit by soaking it up. Sand also protects the metal surface from access of heat exposure and increases its life. We will discuss this in the next section.

What To Put In The Bottom Of A Metal Fire Pit

Should A Fire Pit Have Holes In The Bottom?

Many people wonder why there are holes in the bottom of their fire pits. So, the holes’ main purpose is maintaining the airflow and providing enough oxygen to the flames. This is very important for a fire pit, especially the one built above ground. 

There should be at least a 2-inch hole every 25 to 45 inches on a fire pit base. The holes should be kept clear and not clogged with ashes and dirt for enough airflow.

Should I Put Sand In My Metal Fire Pit?

As we already discussed, there is no harm in putting sand in the bottom of a fire pit. It is cheap and easily available. Apart from these perks, sand has many other benefits.

First of all, sand soaks up excess heat and distribute it evenly throughout the pit. It also protects the metal bowl from the intense heat and adds to its longevity. There is absolutely no downside of layering the bottom of your metal fire pit with sand except one i.e cleaning. 

Keep in mind, cleaning the metal bowl after using can be a bit tricky as you’d want to get rid of the ashes while keeping the sand in place.

As you can see, there are both positives and negatives of using sand at the bottom of the metal fire pits. If you’re looking for a cheap layering material, nothing is better than sand if you don’t mind the tricky cleaning aspect. Otherwise, you can look for other options such as lava rocks or fire pit glass for layering your fire pit bowl.

One more question that keeps coming to a lot of people is how much sand to use for layering the fire pit? The answer again depends on the type and thickness of your fire pit bowl. Majority of the metal bowls are good with maximum 2-inch thick layer of sand at the bottom. A good idea is to check with the user manual that your fire pit comes along with.

How Do You Keep Water From Pooling In A Fire Pit?

Water retention is a common problem with fire pits. Different types of fire pits have different kinds of issues, and using preventive techniques varies from type to type. Here, we will talk about the metal fire pits and ways to keep water from pooling in them.

Outdoor Gas Fire Pit

Mindful Placement Of The Fire Pit

This tip is applicable to all types of fire pits. The best way to keep water from pooling in a fire pit is placing it an area with good drainage. Make sure that your fire pit is kept on a slope so that it doesn’t collect the water for too long. 

If you’re building a fire pit in your backyard instead of buying a temporary one, then consider building it on a slight slope.

Also, place your commercial fire pits in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. This will help in evaporating all the collected water and keep it in good condition.

Use a Tarpaulin Cover

Tarps can be a great way to prevent the collection of water in the fire pits. Tarpaulin is cheap and handy. All you need to do is cover the fire pit with a tarp sheet when you’re not using it. 

It will not only prevent water retention but will also keep the pit clean and dirt free.

Drill Holes For Drainage

If your fire pit doesn’t already have the drainage holes, drill a few by yourself at the bottom of the pit so that it doesn’t collect the water. While it won’t prevent the ash from getting moist and wet, it will keep the metal bowl safe from rusting.

And it’s a wrap!

We hope we’ve solved all your queries regarding the fire pits. Don’t forget to check out our other articles on fire pit inserts and our list of best contemporary outdoor gas fire pits.