As the weather begins to cool off, many people will begin to break out their firepits for cozy evening gatherings. It’s a great way to spend a cool fall or winter evening, and most don’t think twice about setting up a firepit on their concrete patios or stone pavers in Alpharetta. But before you start roasting those marshmallows, take a moment to learn how firepits can actually damage concrete and stone pavers.
How Firepits Damage Concrete
It’s easy to assume that concrete is virtually indestructible. While you may know that it can crack over time, a bit of heat can seem harmless when compared with that expanse of immovable concrete—but think again. Most portable firepits have a copper, aluminum, or wrought-iron bottom. These materials conduct heat extremely well, which is great for ensuring that all of your friends are getting nice and warm around the fire. But it’s also conducting that heat straight down into your concrete.
Concrete is filled with tiny air bubbles that become trapped inside it when the material is poured and spread. Your firepit can reach up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s heating those air bubbles in the concrete. If you paid attention in science class, you know what happens to gas when it heats up: It expands. But the gas in those bubbles has nowhere to go, so the pressure continues to build until the concrete can quite literally explode.
Of course, it’s not normally quite as dramatic as an actual explosion (though this has happened before). Most likely, your concrete will be damaged over time, leading to spalling and cracking. So, what can you do about it?
Put Something Under It
If you have a concrete patio, the simplest way to protect it from the heat of your firepit is to put something under the firepit to prevent the concrete from overheating. The best option is a firepit pad, which is usually made of volcanic rock or carbon fibers. These can take the heat and prevent it from reaching your concrete. Depending on the size of your firepit, a mat of the proper size will probably cost you under $150—a lot less than completely replacing your patio.
Try Stone Pavers Instead
If you’re looking at installing a patio or you’re considering having your concrete patio replaced, stone pavers are an excellent option for anyone who wants to use a firepit on their patio. A stone paver patio can stand up to the heat of a firepit much better than concrete can. We strongly recommend using kiln-fired brick, which can withstand temperatures far hotter than what your firepit will produce. So, if you already have a stone paver patio, you’re safe to use your firepit on top of it without a protective mat. If you want a patio that you can use your firepit on, use stone pavers instead of concrete.
Fall evenings are a great time for outdoor gatherings. Contact Stoeckig Landscape Group for patio installation in Alpharetta, so that you can have a beautiful, comfortable place for friends and family to gather—whether it’s around a firepit or not. Give us a call today!