Why put Sand in a Fire Pit? It actually works!

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Why put Sand in the Bottom of a Fire Pit?


can i burn leaves in a firepit

Having a layer of sand inside the bottom of your cast iron fire pit protects the metal finish. It helps dissipate the heat evenly when the fire reaches high temperatures thus preventing damage.

So what’s the deal?

Most fire pits with the exception of  un-coated fire pits have a painted finish. Mainly for appearance purposes. Unless you like a cool rusty fire pit, I may just be the weirdo here. When the paint reaches an extremely high temperature.. Which it will!  The molecular structure will begin to break down. Over time it will begin to flake, peel, and chip. Many people have this issue so you’re not alone! 

Why is sand perfect for a fire pit? Because it’s cheap, reliable, and easy to find. You will never live in a world with a sand shortage – and neither will you have a hard time finding a place that sells sand. Keep in mind that using sand does have one downside: if ashes and sand get together, they turn to a slush like substance that you will have to remove to avoid any issues. Other than that, sand is the go-to choice for your fire pit

Thanks to the good ole internet you have found my website – So thank you for swinging by! Sand by natures design has an insulating affect to it. So it makes an amazing candidate for the bottom of your fire pit. Sand will evenly spread the heat of your fire across the entire bottom side of your fire pit. When no one spot of the fire pit is being affected by extremely high temperatures the paint will last a whole lot longer

Why should I put sand in my fire pit?

You want to put sand in your fire pit because it’s the perfect substance for the job: it’s an excellent shield, soaks up the warmth, and evenly distributes heat around your fire pit. Simply put, using sand will help you have the perfect fire pit – one where everyone will keep warm.
Not only will sand help you keep everyone warm, but it will also protect your metal bowl from excess heat. That means your fire pit will last for a long time, as long as you use sand underneath it. For an even better fire pit, you can combine sand and lava rocks. Place sand on the bottom and lava rocks on top.

What sand do I recommend? 

  • Silca Sand!

The best, most reliable, and cheapest type of sand for your fire pit is silica sand. You can easily find it almost anywhere, and it’s also very inexpensive: you can buy 10 pounds of silica sand for less than $25 online. Although there’s a wide variety of sand around the world, most people have easy access to silica sand – which means they have easy access to one of the best materials for a fire pit. There are other types of sand available for purchase, but most of them aren’t as heat resistant, reliable, and  versatile as silica sand

Non Silica Sand often contains more impurities which makes it more chemically reactive. It is usually darker in color however shades of white, pink, green and black can be found depending on where its originated from.

Does my fire pit need protection?

You need to use something as a base for your fire pit – and sand is the perfect material for that. You can use other alternatives, but you should always try to get sand for your fire pit. Keep in mind sand is one of the many options for your fire pit. You can use things as common as dirt and
rocks as well. That doesn’t mean you should use them if something better is available. As you know, sand is easy to get, cheap, and versatile. Sure, you can get a handful of dirt right in your
backyard – but that’s not the point. Sand is way better when it comes to distributing heat and soaking up excess warmth. That’s why you should always choose sand for your fire pit.


Sand is not the only material you can use for the bottom of your fire pit!

While sand works great, it is not the only option for you. You may live in an area where sand cannot be easily found. In which case you must turn to another material to protect your cool pit. Other options include:

  • A metal grate (maybe from your bbq pit)
  • Dirt from your backyard
  • Gravel from your garden
  • Bricks
  • Cement

When should I avoid putting sand in my fire pit?
There’s one scenario where sand may not be the best option for your fire pit; that’s when you’re using a fire pit with holes at the bottom. Sand is an insulator, and it might restrict the airflow underneath your fire pit. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use sand, though. You should think about other alternatives if you have a fire pit that needs oxygen to flow from above and below. Most of the time, the oxygen will only need to flow from above your fire pit, so sand will not hinder the fire. Other than that, certain people like to use wood ash as fertilizer, and sand will prevent your fire pit from turning its materials into fertilizer. So, if that’s what you want to do, using sand might not be ideal

Are there any draw backs from using sand?

Yes, one of the biggest draw backs to using sand is the moisture it can hold. It takes a while for sand to dry in the sun after getting wet. Metal that has prolonged exposer to moister can begin to rust multiplying your fire pit troubles. This goes for ashes as well, they hold lots of moisture when wet. I strongly recommend using a cover on your fire pit when it is not in use. Make sure it’s not hot before putting the cover on! I’m sure you already knew that just a reminder in an effort to save our forests.  Anyways.. Here are a 3 of ways to prevent rust. 

How to Stop Fire Pit Rust

  • Keep it clean! Ash, Wood and Charcoal absorb moisture so avoid leaving it in the fire pit when not in use.
  • Use a well-fitting cover and store indoors if possible.
  • Apply a light coat of Cast Iron Oil.

solo stove circular fire pit


How do I put sand in my fire pit?
Before you use sand in any way, read the instructions that come with your fire pit. That way, you’ll know how to use sand properly in your particular case. Certain fire pit manufacturers will recommend you not to use sand as well. Different fire pits have different
needs. More often than not, putting sand in your fire pit is not that difficult. You have to put an inch or two of sand in your fire pit. That’s it! Putting sand in your fire pit is as easy as it gets.


do fire pits exist that do not rust?

Surprisingly, yes! if it is not too late order a natural gas, or propane fire pit for your backyard, deck or garden. These types of fire pits are typically easier to us, safer for pets and kids, and most of all they do not rust.  Propane and propane accessories.. wait I mean propane and natural gas fire pits. Sorry I watch too much King of the Hill. Propane and natural gas fire pits are typically constructed from wood and have gravel covering the burners. The fuel from the tank or from a gas line is ignited in a controllable flame above or right below the gravel. The only draw back is you cannot use real wood or charcoal for that nice Smokey smell on a chilly night. You are after all able to use BBQ wood chips in your choice of flavor for that cool smoke you seek. I have a guide coming soon on how to create the most smoke, smell and flavor (on your bbq) with wood chips. Look out for it!

How to Touch up Paint on Fire Pits:

By far the best paint for touching up just about anything metal around the house is Rustoluem spray paint. The cost is low and it’s easy enough to find at any local hardware store. For this project I would suggest choosing a high heat flat black spray paint. Next just grab some Saftey glasses, gloves and a mask to protect your lungs. Spray away! Let that baby loose! You will probably have some left over in the can. Save it for later!

Check out some of our Other Related Articles:

Can you Burn Pressure Treated Wood in a Fire Pit? – ZeusFire (zeusfires.com)



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