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How Fire Pits Can Damage Asphalt Surfaces

how fire pits can damage asphalt surfaces

Fire pits have the potential to transform an ordinary summer evening into an exceptionally relaxing one. While fire pits come with a number of benefits, damage to certain types of patio surfaces can occur.

Placing a fire pit on an asphalt surface, for instance, is a dangerous and damaging move.

Homeowners spend leisurely evenings with guests around the fire pit. Summertime is not the only season to light a fire pit. Cool winter nights can be turned into cozy ones when the fire pit is lit. A fire pit adds warmth to all four seasons.

Not only is heat a major draw, but fire pits add visual warmth to a patio space. Similar to the glow of candles, the fire pit creates closeness among those who gather around it. Watching the flames dance in a wood burning fire pit is a source of sheer entertainment.

A fire pit is a further luxury when it is used as a cooking tool. Homeowners and guests cook over the open flame of the fire pit. Roasting marshmallows and other tidbits are common activities among those who surround the fire pit.

What are the different types of fire pits?

Homeowners and guests can enjoy fire pits in various forms. Fire pits are primarily grouped into one of four categories, and these categories are determined by the type of fuel the fire pit uses to burn.

Wood burning, natural gas, propane, and gel fuel pits are most commonly available.

Here are some basic details about different types of fire pits:

  • Wood burning fire pits resemble a campfire. The real smoke and crackle of wood give guests an authentic experience when gathered around the fire pit. Wood burning pits come in distinct varieties, including brick fire pits and outdoor fireplaces, which may be stationary or portable.
  • Natural gas fire pits are manufactured with a natural gas line that supplies the fuel. A sunken design is built slightly underground, and the flames burn beneath the surface. A raised version, with brick or stone foundations, is also available. Either keeps the fire pit immobile.
  • Propane fire pits feature glass, rock, or pebbles. Copper bowl fire pits offer incredible longevity but come with a high price tag. A propane portable fire pit is built with wheels and can be easily transported to anywhere a homeowner deems fit.

Given that some fire pits are portable, homeowners should carefully choose where to position the fire pit. A natural choice is to place the portable fire pit on the patio.

However, if the patio contains any asphalt, it is critical to avoid placing the fire pit on this surface.

asphalt damage can be caused by a fire pit

Why is an asphalt surface unsafe for a fire pit?

Asphalt is a type of petroleum. Different forms of asphalt may be referred to as tar. Refined or blended asphalt is primarily used to construct paved areas, like car parks, tennis courts, and roads. Since it consists of petroleum, asphalt has the potential to catch fire.

Due to the highly flammable nature of asphalt surfaces, homeowners are advised to not install a fire pit near a patio that contains asphalt. Should a fire pit be placed on asphalt, an oil fire could occur. Such fires are difficult to extinguish and require help from fire officials.

What is a safer, nonflammable surface for a fire pit?

A safer alternative is to place the fire pit on a concrete surface. Concrete is noncombustible, meaning it will not catch fire. The only way concrete will burn is when a flammable substance, such as gasoline, lighter fluid, or plastic, covers it.

Due to its noncombustible properties, concrete is the ideal base for a fire pit. Despite its resiliency against fire, concrete surfaces can still be damaged when exposed to high heat levels. The concrete expands when subject to high temperatures and will crack.

What are best practices to prevent damage from a fire pit?

Fortunately, damage from a fire pit can be prevented. Prevention largely depends on whether the homeowner has an above ground fire pit, which is usually mobile, or a permanent fire pit. The latter will unavoidably cause cracks in the cement over time.

Heat retardant mats should be placed underneath the portable, above ground fire pit. The mats prevent the fire’s high temperatures from scorching the patio cement below. Purchasing the affordable mats is less costly than annually performing a full concrete replacement.

A further benefit of opting for a mobile, above ground fire pit is that the homeowner has the liberty to move the fire pit to any safe and desirable location. Frequently moving the fire pit prevents one specific area of the concrete from being continually exposed to high heat.

As mentioned, permanent fire pits will cause cracks in the concrete over time. Premature cracking, however, may be avoided by incorporating additives into the concrete. Adding fire resistant rocks between the concrete and pit also serves as a protective barrier.

Contact a Fire Damage Restoration Professional

When using a fire pit, it is important to contain the flames. Fire damage to surrounding materials can readily occur when the flames leap out of the barriers of the fire pit. If you are faced with fire damage, consult the fire damage cleanup experts at ServiceMaster by Replacements.

After a fire is extinguished by local fire officials, the resulting fire damage requires professional restoration by our skilled fire damage cleanup teams. Experienced crews at ServiceMaster by Replacements are prepared to return your fire damaged property to its pre-loss condition fast.

Immediately restoring a fire damaged home or business is crucial to preventing the spread of damage. Soot, smoke, and the corrosive byproducts of fire are known to spread quickly and cause further ruin. Smoke odors are absorbed into materials and must be professionally removed.

ServiceMaster by Replacements crews stabilize the building, perform structural repairs, clean soot, and deodorize the property quickly. Expect comprehensive fire damage restoration services 24/7 from our IICRC certified technicians. New Jersey home and business owners rely on us for speedy, quality service.