Outdoor fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular in recent times. And why not? They add warmth and charm to the patio and garden.
A well-built outdoor fireplace enhances the look of a house. You can sit around the fireplace and enjoy your dinner on a chilly night. You can also use the outdoor fireplace for cooking when you entertain guests in your lawn. A fireplace can also turn out to be a place which gives you moments of relaxation, away from your hectic work schedule.
Bricks and stones are usually used for the exterior of an outdoor fireplace. However, it can also be built with copper, aluminum, cast iron, or stainless steel. Usually, the interior of the fireplace is built with cast iron or aluminum alloy. Outdoor fireplaces built with bricks and stones are costly, but they look very elegant. There are various types of stones available in the market, which help create a variation in the look of the fireplace. Aluminum and cast iron fireplaces are cost-efficient, and they also reduce the noise of the flames. You also have to look for the right amount of mortar mix, cement, cinder blocks, and cap-rock. The tools required to start the work would be – a shovel for lifting the loose material, a trowel which would be used for scooping and plastering, a dust mask to keep you shielded from dust, and eyeglasses to protect your eyes.
The initial step is to mark the location where you want to build the fireplace with spray paint. Make sure you have information of underground cables and sewers, if any. Start digging a trench in the marked area, which would be the cement foundation of the fireplace. This should be at least 1 foot deep so that the foundation is sturdy.
You can rent a plate compactor to harden the base of the foundation. Mix the cement and pour it into the trench. A twenty-four hour time period would be sufficient to let the cement cure. The foundation can be built with the use of cinder blocks and mortar.
After the foundation is laid, you can spread mortar to set the bricks. Use around 2 – 3 inches of mortar and start setting the bricks from the edges inward. Always keep in mind to adjust the level with the use of mortar. Another 24 hours would be required for the structure to set properly.
Once the bricks have set properly, you can start placing the stones. Apply adequate amount of mortar to each stone and drag a line across the mortar with the help of the trowel. Set the stones using spacers to keep the rocks from touching. The opening of the fireplace should be at least a foot above ground level. An opening that is two feet wide and high would be ideal. In case of a wooden fireplace, leave a vacant place specified as per the size of the flue on the apex of the fireplace. This would be required to place the flue and the chimney later on.
Building a chimney is quite important, especially in case of a wooden fireplace, and it should be at least 2 feet higher than the adjacent structures. You need to calculate the flue dimensions and minimum height. The sizes needed for your flue and the height of your chimney are relative to the open area of your fireplace. Install the chimney over the flue and fix it with mortar. Allow some time for it to cure.
Lastly, put the cap rock on the fireplace. It is advisable to hire a professional to install the log burner. Also, he would help you in the construction of the pipeline for the fuel supply. You can now put some gravel into the fireplace, so that the height from inside is elevated. This also allows proper drainage.
Choosing an appropriate design for building an outdoor fireplace is a must. Select the design after considering the available space, your budget, location of your house, and the fuel that you are going to use. The design should be such that it does not add to air pollution, and it fits the scale and size of your house and yard. You should preferably select a matching color for your fireplace. An outdoor fireplace involves various parts such as the fireplace mantel, filler panel, fire box, plinth base, hearth, shelf, etc.
Fuel selection is one of the most important decision that you have to take while you build your fireplace. There are a variety of fuel options available, such as pellet coal, wood, liquid propane, natural gas or electricity. You should select the fuel such that it matches the requirement and design of your fireplace. Fuel which is environment-friendly and does not cause air pollution should be given a preference. A proper pipeline would be required if you opt for liquid propane, gas, or an electric fireplace.
Nowadays, it is important that you obtain a permit for your wood-burning fireplace. You will have to contact the local authorities for the setback restrictions and other requirements. Begin construction only after you receive the permit, or it may cause you to restrict the construction plans also get you into legal hassles.
An outdoor fireplace helps to change the look of a house and garden. Now that you know how to build an outdoor fireplace, use your imagination and creativity to build one according to your requirement.