DIY Outdoor Fireplaces: Brick, Fuel & Other Considerations

Among the myriad options for illuminating and warming up your outdoor living space, the coziest and most luxurious are outdoor fireplaces. Brick, stone, concrete, and other materials can be used to create stunning outdoor fire features in a wide range of design styles.
 
For DIY enthusiasts, the prospect of building an outdoor fireplace might be an attractive one. However, it’s important to understand the scope and demands of the project before you get started.
 
 
To help you decide if building your own fireplace is the right move, here are some major things to consider:
 

Building Permits & Codes

 
One of the first things you need to consider before building an outdoor fireplace is whether you need a permit. Some communities require specific licenses or permits for large outdoor fire features, and might also restrict what type of fuel you use (wood or gas).
 
You’ll also have to abide by any rules for proper distance from structures, trees, and fences, which can be problematic in smaller outdoor spaces.
 

Budget

 
Outdoor fireplaces vary wildly in price depending on several factors. While going DIY will cost you less than hiring a contractor, you’ll still need to budget for materials, supplies, and equipment. One cost-effective option is to purchase a fireplace kit, including instructions and materials.
 
You may wish to consider the ongoing cost of fireplace fuel. For example, a wood-burning fireplace relies on firewood, which can add up quickly without a wholesale resource. For an outdoor gas fireplace, your usage will be reflected in your monthly utility bill.
 

Outdoor Fireplace Materials

 
You need to construct your fireplace with heat-safe materials, and depending on the design you might need more than one material type. The most common materials include brick, cinder block, concrete, or natural stone.
 
For the inside of the fireplace, you’ll need steel or fire-rated bricks that can withstand the extreme heat. Alternatively, you can use an existing fire pit and construct walls and a chimney around it. To build the chimney, you’ll need a fire-rated metal flue pipe.
 
An impressive outdoor fireplace can help you enjoy your outdoor living space even on chilly evenings. Regardless of whether you go for the traditional style with brick or stacked stone, or opt instead for a modern fireplace aesthetic, keeping these important factors in mind will help make your fireplace project a success.

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