A fire pit right in your yard is very appealing yet super functional. It greatly improves the look of your outdoors and provides warmth and comfort on chilly evenings. However, have you ever thought of putting lava rock and fire glass in your fire pit to enhance its appeal and prolong its durability?
Can You Use Lava Rock and Fire Glass Together?
Yes, you can use lava rock and fire glass together in a fire pit to improve its functionality and aesthetics. When used together in a propane or natural gas fire pit, lava rock, and fire glass protect the heating elements, create a buffer zone, save money, and make the fire pit look good. And therefore, the combination of these is better than using one or the other alone.
What Is Fire Glass?
Fire glass or fire pit glass, however, you call it, is a medium that is used to enhance the appeal of your beautiful fire pit and increase its functionality. Made from tempered glass, these glass crystals can create the natural ambiance of a dancing flame and make the fire look enchanting and beautiful. They can also trap high heat so that you can enjoy warmth and comfort even with a gas fire pit.
To match your requirement, fire glass crystals are available in a variety of shapes and colors so that you get an opportunity to create an extraordinary ambiance on your patio.
What Is Fire Glass Made of?
As the name suggests, fire glass is made from GLASS. However, the type of fire pit glass used is recycled, tempered, and polished precisely to create beautiful crystals. These glass crystals won’t burn, melt, soot, or explode because of their manmade properties.
And for such qualities, fire pit glass pebbles are widely used to enhance the look of patio fire pits.
Is Fire Glass Safe?
In short, Yes. Because fire glass is made from the tempered glass without any chemical additives or plastics involved, it doesn’t create any toxic fumes or smoke to suffocate you in any way.
These glass crystals are sensible and clean-burning and, therefore, can be used to enhance the appeal of your fire pit without causing any damage to your health.
And because it doesn’t cause any toxic smoke, fire glass is safe for the environment, too.
Another thing about fire glass is that it doesn’t melt, shoot or explode even in high heat. This feature also makes them safe and secure.
Moreover, as the fire glass crystals are perfectly polished during the making process, there are no sharp edges that might cause cuts and damage to your hands.
How Does Fire Glass Work?
The science behind fire glass is simple yet effective. These glass crystals are tempered and created with pressure, so they can easily tolerate high heat. When you put them on the fire pit burners, they act as permeable fillers, allowing the gas to pass through them. The gas flow fuels the fire on the surface of the glass and makes it look like a dancing flame on the fire pit.
What Is Lava Rock?
Lava rock is yet another fire pit medium used to increase its functionality and longevity. Unlike fire glass, it is an organic material that forms naturally from volcanic magma and is guaranteed fire-safe. You can expose these rocks to even an extremely high amount of heat for the longest time, yet they won’t get damaged anytime soon. And this quality makes the lava rock perfect for a fire pit. You can layer them over your patio fire pit base to protect the heater element like none other.
Another thing about lava rocks is that they are super safe. As they don’t crack or explode, there are zero possibilities that these rocks will result in any hazardous events.
What Is Lava Rock Made of?
Lava rock is formed naturally in the earth’s crust using crystals, volcanic glass, and bubbles [volcanic gases]. As the volcanic magma reaches near the surface, it tends to cool down and begin crystallization. And when the crystallization is done, lava rock is formed.
Is Lava Rock Safe?
As it doesn’t produce any toxic smoke or explode suddenly, lava rock is extremely safe to put in a fire pit. It can endure high heat and flame and doesn’t crack in any condition. It is so safe that you can even put it on the heater elements to protect them against heat and damage.
How Does Lava Rock Work?
Lava rock helps to spread the heat from your fire pit burner all around so that the flame looks more appealing. Because the heat is radiated through these rocks, you will enjoy more warmth than without the rocks.
Fire Glass vs Lava Rock
Fire glass and lava rock are two very different fire pit mediums. Let’s summarize how they differ from each other for better understanding.
|Fire glass can absorb and retain high heat for longer.
|As it is a relatively poorer conductor of heat, it cannot retain heat and fire glass.
|It is available in different shapes and color options to make your fire pit as dazzling as you want.
|Because it is organic and formed naturally, lava rock isn’t as appealing or decorative as fire glass.
|As they are made from tempered glass, fire glass crystals don’t get damaged or deform anytime soon.
|Lava rock is long-lasting too. It doesn’t get damaged easily, even after enduring high heat.
|Because these crystals don’t explode or produce smoke, they are extremely safe.
|Lava rock possesses similar qualities, and hence, it is also safe.
|It costs between $25 and $35 per 10lb bag.
|The price might vary somewhere between $7 and $25 per 10lb bag.
Should You Prefer One Over The Other?
You can use either lava rock or fire glass in your patio fire pit to enjoy the obvious benefits. However, as both these materials have some set of advantages and disadvantages, we think combining lava rock and fire glass in your fire pit is the best way to go. They would offset each other’s drawbacks and provide a beautiful, warm, functional fire.
Benefits of Combining Lava Rocks and Fire Glass in a Fire Pit
There are reasons that make the combination of lava rocks and fire glass a better option to put in your fire pit. Let’s discuss the benefits so that you don’t hesitate to combine them in your outdoor fire pit as well.
Makes Your Fire Pit Look More Appealing
One of the top benefits of combining fire glass and lava rocks is creating a beautiful flame in your outdoor fire pit. While the different colors and shapes of the glass crystals provide an incredible visual interest, the lava rocks mute the high flame and give the fire a very dramatic appearance- just as you see on magazine pages.
Creates A Balance in the Fire Pit
For obvious reasons, people tend not to want too much heat or fire exposure in their outdoor fire pit. These can damage your beautiful fireplace and affect its durability greatly. However, when you place a mixture of lava rocks and fire glass in the fire pit, the balance it creates is exceptional. While the fire glass retains heat and makes the flame look stunning, the incorporated lava rocks protect the heating elements for longer-lasting services.
Fire glass is quite expensive. And when you want to fill your patio fire pit with this glass, the cost might be a little too high. Mixing them with lava rock is a great option to minimize the cost greatly and save money. As this rock is relatively cheaper, it won’t cost you as much when you use a mix of lava rock and fire glass to fill the pit instead of fire glass alone.
Easy to Maintain
Both fire glass and lava rocks are easy to maintain. You can wash and clean the fire glass to improve its longevity and looks, while lava rocks can be washed or dusted off for easier maintenance.
Should You Mix or Layer the Lava Rock and Fire Glass
When it comes to actually putting fire glass and lava rock in your fire pit, you might get confused about how to incorporate them for maximum results. Should you layer them on one another, mix them, and put them in the fire pit?
Even though you can adopt any of these approaches of combining fire glass and lava rocks, the best approach is to layer them on top of each other. Use lava rock on the heater element for maximum efficiency and aesthetics and create a perfect base. This will protect the entire fire pit because of the rocks insulating properties and is economical. As you are filling most of the fire pit with inexpensive lava rock, it wouldn’t cost you as much as otherwise.
Read also: How to Build a Natural Gas Fire Pit Burner
On top of the lava rock base, put a relatively thin layer of fire glass to make the entire setting look good, and enjoy its full heating capabilities.
When you mix them together, it won’t be as beneficial as layering them precisely. Because the fire glass at the bottom won’t help in the looks of the pit, nor its heat would reach you, it’s a total waste. Moreover, as you are not covering the heater elements perfectly with just lava rock, they won’t be as durable as expected.
How to Put Lava rock and Fire Glass in the Fire Pit
Now that we know that layering lava rock and fire glass is the best way to enjoy maximum benefits, let’s discuss how to layer them in your fire pit.
- Clean the fire pit’s interior and ensure that the heater elements are free from debris and other materials.
- Select clean and dry lava rock pieces to use as a base layer for the fire pit. Place the lava rock pieces into the fire pit, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the space.
- Continue building the lava rock base until it reaches a height of approximately three-quarters of the depth of the fire pit. This will leave one-quarter of the space free for the fire glass layer.
- Once the lava rock base is in place, it’s time to add the fire glass layer. Please place your favorite fire glass pieces on the lava rock layer.
- Ensure that the fire glass layer is thick enough to cover the lava rock entirely and that it is evenly distributed across the entire surface of the fire pit.
- Once the fire glass layer is in place, light the fire pit and enjoy its beautiful flames and warmth.
Remember, always following the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific fire pit model and taking appropriate safety precautions when using fire is important.
Notes: According to a 2021 ICFA survey, around 49% of American homeowners plan to incorporate a fire pit in their outdoor spaces because it is not only functional but also adds great value to the landscaping itself.
Lava Rock and Fire Glass Safety Tips
Even though both fire glass and lava rock are safe to fire pit mediums, you still need to follow a few safety rules for maximum security. Let’s discuss the following:
- Ensure you only use fire glass and lava rock in natural gas or propane fire pits. These mediums are not suitable for wood-burning pits.
- Even though fire glass is strong and durable, it might show signs of cracks if you drop it in any way. Try to handle these crystals with care.
- Also, remember that the fire glass layer should be the topmost layer in your fire pit. Never place lava rock over it. This can cause severe damage.
Related: Best Chairs for Around a Fire Pit
- Don’t forget to cover your fire pit completely when not in use. Doing so would prevent moisture build-up on the mediums and ensure incredible safety.
In this video, He shows you a secret to saving HUNDREDS of dollars for outfitting your fire pit with beautiful amazing fire glass.
There is no doubt that you can use lava rock and fire glass together in your fire pit. However, you must follow some rules and safety regulations for doing so. If you fulfill these requirements perfectly, you can use these mediums for the most beautiful and comfortable fire right in your yard.
Henry Jurk is an experienced architect with over 20 years of expertise in paving. He shares his knowledge and provides solutions through his blog posts at OkPatio.com. If you have any questions about patios, gardens, and outdoor spaces, you can find the correct answers from Henry. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website’s contact page.