Can You Use Lava Rocks In A Wood Burning Fire Pit?

You’ve probably heard conflicting information regarding using lava rocks in your fire pit. The reality is that lava rocks are great for use in fire pits, but they do require some simple maintenance to keep them clean and dry and prevent them from exploding. So keep reading to find out everything you need to know about lava rocks in fire pits and whether you should use them or not.

About Lava Rock

Lava rock is a form of volcanic rock that occurs naturally and is composed of basalt. Because of the rapid cooling of the lava that generates them, lava rocks have a rough, frequently holey texture.

Basalts are among the most frequent rocks found on the earth’s crust and ocean floor. Lava rocks are inexpensive and widely available, because they are so ubiquitous, making them an excellent choice for landscaping, commercial uses, and use in fire pits.

What Is Fire Media?

Before we go into lava rock in fire pits, it’s important to understand the terminology around fire pits. Lava rock, fire glass, ceramic logs, stones, and other materials that you fill your fire pit with are referred to as fire media. Fire media are required for the proper operation of any fire pit, especially gas ones.

Can You Use Lava Rocks In A Wood Burning Fire Pit?

Yes, lava rocks can be used in a wood-burning fire pit. They aid in the dispersal of heat and the formation of a protective bottom layer for the pit. They also keep hot spots from forming in the fire pit, which could eventually lead to cracking.

How To Use It

Apply a thick layer of lava rocks to the fire pit’s base, four or five inches from the top will be enough. Check to see whether water can still drain through. Then, place the logs on top of the lava rocks, this will provide even heat from the fire pit.

Can Lava Rocks Be Used In A Propane Fire Pit?

Because they can endure extremely high temperatures, lava rocks are great for propane fire pits. They are also useful in other ways, such as evenly transferring heat.

This not only creates a pleasant warmth for everyone surrounding the fire, but it also prevents hot and cold areas from forming, which can harm the fire pit’s fabric. Lava rocks aid in the formation of a drainage layer at the pit’s bottom while also protecting the gas burner from intense heat.

What Makes Lava Rocks So Great For Fire Pits?

Lava rock is most commonly seen in natural gas and propane fire pits. It is used in fire pits for a variety of reasons, ranging from functional to aesthetically pleasing.

Can Handle High Temperatures

Lava rock is perfect for use in fire pits since it is created at extremely high temperatures. It is resistant to flame and will not be harmed or deteriorated when heated repeatedly.

It Helps To Distributed The Flames

If you’ve ever seen a gas fire pit without media, you’ll know what I mean. The flames shoot straight up from the metal burner holes, giving the appearance of gigantic candle flames rather than a true fire. Lava rock and other fire media aid in gas dispersal, giving the flames a more random and natural appearance.

It Has Heat Reflection Properties 

Lava rock also acts as a heat reflector, keeping the area around the fire pit warmer than it would otherwise be. Because gas fire pits don’t typically produce nearly as much heat as wood fire pits, you’ll need a material that can absorb and then disperse that heat rather than allowing it to escape into the air. Lava rock is suitable for this purpose, albeit it is not as effective as fire glass.

It Can Protect The Burner

Placing a layer of lava rock on top of your gas fire pit burner creates a “buffer zone” between the flame and the burner. This means that the heat from the flame is not close to where the gas exits the burner holes. This buffer zone might help your fire pit last for a long time.

Quick To Dry

Lava rock is also incredibly porous, so when wet, it dries quickly. You might be startled to learn that some rocks contain water, and if that water heats up too quickly, the rock can explode. As a result, you should use caution when selecting the rocks for your fire pit.

Low-Cost And Widely Available

Another reason lava rock is utilized in fire pits is that it is inexpensive and readily available. It’s usually the least expensive option for fire pit media, which is commonly lava rock or fire glass. Plus, you can easily get some at your local hardware or home and garden store.

It Looks Nice

Although not everyone may agree with this statement, many individuals prefer the aesthetic of lava rock in their fire pit. Maybe it’s because we know fire and lava rock go well together. Still, it can offer a lovely mood to an outdoor fire pit.

When Using Lava Rocks Take These Precautions

You may have heard that “lava rocks explode” or “lava rocks can be hazardous,” which may cause you to reconsider throwing any into your fire pit. But in reality, lava rocks are very safe.

Explosions are uncommon since lava rocks are regarded safe for use in fire pits, and they only occur when safety precautions are not rigorously observed.

Here are some measures you should keep in mind:

Purchase Genuine Lava Rocks

The first step in using lava rocks is to ensure that you are buying genuine lava rocks rather than synthetic ones, as synthetic lava rocks can explode in flames like fireworks.

Because they resemble one other, it is simple to confuse a synthetic rock for a natural one. As a result, be extremely cautious when selecting them, and make sure to read the label and ask questions before completing your purchase.

Maintain Your Lava Rocks Dry

Another precaution to take is to keep your lava rocks dry at all times because they will explode if they become moist. We don’t mean a disaster-level explosion, but rather forceful cracks that can be frightening, especially for kids.

You may keep the lava rocks from getting wet by pulling them out and storing them in a dry area after use or by covering the fire pit with a water-proof cover while it is not in use. Even if you’ve done all of the proper safeguards, water can still get into your fire pit, and this is why you must keep the drain hole of your fire pit clear at all times to prevent the lava rocks from absorbing wet.

Don’t worry if you couldn’t keep the lava rocks dry and had to light the fire pit. You may hear popping sounds or witness rocks exploding, but to avoid being hurt, simply stand a safe distance away from the fire pit until the explosions stop.

Burn The Wood Pieces One By One

When burning wood on lava stone, keep in mind how much the fire pit can hold and how much the lava stone can protect. Allow the wood to burn down fully on its own every time.

Furthermore, if you burn the lava in a concrete fire pit, the fire pit may crack due to continual heating and cooling. These flaws can detract from the appearance of the fire pit and, in the long term, can compromise the strength of the concrete, which is dangerous. To avoid these fissures, only burn wood in little amounts. The pieces should be thinly sliced so that they may burn easily.

The Different Kinds Of Lava Rocks That Can Be Used In A Wood-Burning Fire Pit

Lava rocks appear in a variety of colors, including black, dark red/brown, and grey. They are also available in a variety of sizes, ranging from small ones with a diameter of 1 to 3 inches to giant ones with a diameter of 4 inches or more. Because wood-burning fire pits diffuse heat evenly, you should typically use the small size.

What Kind Of Care Do Lava Rocks Require?

When lava rocks are exposed to direct flames, they become scorched. As a result, they will most certainly begin to wear out within a few months. You may need to replace them entirely after a year or two.

As a result, the only upkeep you’ll need to do is scramble them around before using them. This would allow the rocks that aren’t typically exposed to direct fire to do so. Do this, and your lava rocks will endure longer. 

How Do You Light A Fire Pit Made Of Lava Rocks?

Start by removing the rocks around the burner if you have a fire pit with push-button ignition. Open the gas valve slightly (according to the manufacturer’s recommendations), then push and hold the ignition button. The fire will be lit by the spark from this. Rearrange the lava rocks around the burner in a safe manner, and use the valve to modify the flame.

You’ll need a long match if you don’t have a push-button ignition. So, remove the rocks once more and slightly open the gas valve. Light it with a match, then use the valve to control the flames. Move the rocks around to cover the burner.

Can I Combine Fire Glass And Lava Rock?

Yes, you can combine fire glass and lava rock in a fire pit to create a stunning effect. The rough rock and gleaming tempered glass compliment each other nicely, resulting in a truly aesthetically pleasing finish.

Also, because fire glass is more expensive than lava rock, diluting it with the cheaper product will save you money. Just keep in mind that the glass section will require more frequent cleaning than the rocks.

How Can I Use Old Lava Rocks?

There are a couple of fantastic uses for ancient lava rocks. They can be placed at the bottom of planters to provide the necessary drainage layer. So it’s worth saving a couple of lumps of old lava and storing them in your shed for your next planting session.

You can also combine them with soil to make mulch. It is clean and long-lasting because it does not degrade like most mulch products. Its porous structure appears to be beneficial for regulating soil temperature.

Final Thoughts

Even while utilizing lava rocks is advantageous and simple, it should not be done carelessly, especially when visitors and children are around. As with anything involving fire, always have safety equipment, such as fire alarms and extinguishers, available. You should also follow all safety precautions while using lava rocks in a wood-burning fire pit.