Building a round concrete fire pit is a relatively simple project, but it should be done correctly to ensure that the finished product looks good and lasts. Things you will need to build a concrete fire pit include a generator, power saw, mortar trowel, leveler and an edger.
I love a good fire pit. I use mine almost every day between October and March, usually for dinner and a few drinks with the wife or for an ‘early morning motivational’ (coffee). I’ve been thinking about building one of these for a couple years now and finally got around to it recently. It only cost me $130 in materials and took about 2 days worth of labor (off-and-on). Your costs may be lower or higher depending on where you live, how much sand you need, etc. Mine was pretty simple: just a bunch of dirt/sand with some concrete poured on top! This tutorial is written to be as simple as possible, so even novice do-it-yourselfers can get their fire pits done right without any complications.
- Gravel, fill dirt and sand. You’ll need gravel to line the fire pit and act as a barrier between the burn surface and any combustible material. You’ll also need fill dirt and sand to use as a base when building your round concrete fire pit.
- Cinder blocks or bricks – These are used to hold up your grill frame so that it’s sturdy enough for outdoor use. If you’re using cinder blocks, they should be at least 3″ thick or else they won’t be strong enough to support your grill frame. If you’re using bricks, make sure they’re at least 4-5″ thick so that there’s enough space between them for drainage holes (see below).
- Trowel – This tool is useful for smoothing out the concrete around your edge after it dries out completely; it will keep any rough edges from forming where there’s no mortar between two pieces of concrete.* Excavator (optional) – If you don’t have access to one already then consider renting one from Home Depot or Lowes since this machine will save you a lot of time on both digging up ground materials as well as getting rid of excess soil once its all been removed
Subsection: 3/4″ Thick 4×4 wood posts
- 3/4″ thick 4×4 wood posts are used to support the fire pit.
- 2×10 wood boards are used to hold up the fire pit.
- Sand is used for leveling the concrete fire pit.
- Pencil and tape measure are used to measure and mark the wood posts.
Subsection: 2×10 Wood Boards
2×10 boards are used to build the form. Each board is cut to size with a circular saw and then nailed together to form a circle, this will create an opening for sand or gravel to be added later. The boards are nailed to the wood posts using galvanized nails, which are attached by hand using hammers. The wood posts are hammered into the ground until they reach a point that they’re below ground level. Sand is placed inside of the form and leveled with a large level. A layer of sand is added on top of the ground outside of the form, creating an angled slope towards it’s center where you’ll add your fire pit later on.
Sand is the most common material used for leveling, drainage and weight. It’s also a cheap alternative to other materials. Sand comes in different sizes and colors that can be used for different purposes. For example, you may want to use colored sand if you want your concrete fire pit to stand out from its surroundings.
In addition to color and shape, there are many types of sand available at hardware stores or online retailers like Amazon. You can choose between fine-grained sand (which is small) or coarse-grained sand (which is large). If you plan on using this as an outdoor project make sure it’s not too dusty because dust will get into your eyes while working with concrete mixers and trowels.
- Tools Needed:
a. Pencil and tape measure
b. Shovel (or something to dig with)
c. Circular saw with a plywood blade (for cutting the 2×10 boards)
d. Hammer and nails or screws and drill/screw driver
e. Large level for leveling the sand
Subsection: Pencil and Tape Measure
First, you’ll need a tape measure and pencil. You can also use a ruler, protractor and level (and even a calculator). A tape measure is great for measuring both long distances and short distances. If you’re only measuring short distances, having two people holding the ends of the tape at opposite ends of the object being measured may be helpful to keep it straight. As always when using tools like this, make sure you read any instructions that came with them before using them.
A shovel is a tool used to move loose materials, such as dirt, snow, and sand. It is also used to level, spread, and smooth materials such as soil and concrete.
Shovels are usually made of metal or plastic. There are many different types of shovels including round-bladed flat-bladed pointed blade shovels; single point contact between the handle end and the ground will cause it to pivot on its axis which allows you control over how much force you want applied while digging up material.
Subsection: Circular Saw with a Plywood Blade (for cutting the 2×10 boards)
- You will need a circular saw with a plywood blade to cut the 2×10 boards. The boards will be used as the frame of your fire pit, so make sure they are cut correctly before you move on to building the base of your fire pit.
- Don’t cut them too short or too long! Your measurements should be accurate enough that when all four 2x10s are lined up in a row, they create a perfect circle when viewed from above (like this). If there’s even one inch of overlap between any two boards, then they’re too small and will have to be taken apart and re-cut. Similarly, if there’s even one inch of space between any two boards on either side or top/bottom, then they’re too big and need trimming down before being assembled into your round concrete fire pit ring
Subsection: Hammer and Nails or Screws and Drill/Screw Driver.
Hammer and Nails or Screws and Drill/Screw Driver.
To secure the wood posts to the concrete, use a hammer and nails. To secure the wood boards to each other, use screws and a drill. You may also choose to assemble your fire pit with a screwdriver if you are not comfortable operating a power tool such as a drill or driver.
Subsection: Large level for leveling the sand.
You’ll need a large level to ensure that the sand is level. I used an 8′ long 2″ x 4″ and placed it on edge, then checked it with a carpenter’s level.
When the concrete has set, check your fire pit for any uneven areas or divots using a carpenter’s level.
Construction Instructions (pictured below) :
- Mix concrete in a wheelbarrow. If you’re using premixed concrete, it should be roughly half water and half gravel (or large stones). If you are mixing your own sand and cement, use 1 part sand to 2 parts cement.
- Pour the mixed concrete into the form slowly, being careful not to disturb the levelness of your round form as you go. This is why it is important that both sides of your form have been leveled with a large level before pouring any concrete.
Build the form and begin pouring concrete into it. Tip – If you do not have to worry about digging up and removing an old fire pit then you can work on top of the ground when pouring your fire pit. This will save you a significant amount of time! Also, if you are building this project close to a retaining wall or your home, mix and pour in smaller batches at a time to prevent the weight from putting too much pressure on your walls.
Now that you have the form built and ready to pour, it’s time to get ready for concrete day.
- Mix up your concrete following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Tip – If you do not have to worry about digging up and removing an old fire pit then you can work on top of the ground when pouring your fire pit. This will save you a significant amount of time! Also, if you are building this project close to a retaining wall or your home, mix and pour in smaller batches at a time to prevent the weight from putting too much pressure on your walls.
How To Build A Round Concrete Fire Pit
- Materials Needed
- Concrete – 3 cu. ft.
- Cement mix – 1 bag (1/2 yard)
- Wood stakes or rebar to hold the concrete in place while it dries – 24″ stakes or 3 pieces of rebar if you can’t find stakes that are long enough to reach all the way around your fire pit, which is why we recommend using them so much! They’re cheaper than buying a whole roll of rebar material and they work just as well.
Well there you have it.
This is a great way to build a concrete fire pit. It’s easy to do and can be done in just a few hours. The cost is relatively low since the materials needed are pretty basic and shouldn’t cost too much if you have a truck or van big enough to transport them. This concrete fire pit should last for many, many years if properly maintained with waterproof sealer applied once per year.