How to Make an Outdoor Fireplace in 4 Steps
Outdoor fireplaces have grown in popularity during the last few years. One question we frequently receive from homeowners is "How do I make an outdoor fireplace?" There is a defined and proper way to build an outdoor fireplace so that it works - and you don't have to spend a fortune! Anyone can throw some brick, block, and mortar together and call it an outdoor fireplace, and lots of people are willing to take your money and do this work for you. However, there is no guarantee that the end product will be properly designed, and the smoke may not go up the chimney. Accordingly, here is "How to Make an Outdoor Fireplace in 4 Steps":
Step 1: Pour a concrete pad. The pad should typically be 4-6 inches thick, 3-4 feet deep, and 4-5 feet wide. You should normally allow 24 hours for the concrete to set up before you move to Step 2.
Step 2: Stack up the pieces of a pre-engineered masonry outdoor fireplace kit. This is the "secret sauce" of how to build an outdoor fireplace. The pre-engineered masonry fireplaces are designed with the correct angles and dimensions so that the smoke from your fire will go up the chimney - which is key! This is science, not art, and a pre-engineered masonry kit (FireRock brand shown below) comes with the science already built in. In addition, these kits can be installed by 2 people with no previous experience in only a few hours, by simply following the instructions.
Step 3: Install the firebrick. As soon as Step 2 is complete, you can move forward with installing the firebrick. The choices regarding firebrick are color and pattern. Firebrick color choices are buff (yellow, as shown below) and red, with buff being the most popular choice by far. The most common firebrick patterns (in order of installation ease, starting with the easiest) are running bond (as shown below), herringbone, and split herringbone. Regardless of which pattern you select, you will need a masonry saw to cut some of the pieces.
Step 4: Put on the veneer of your choice. An outdoor fireplace can support any type of veneer, so it really is a matter of preference by the homeowner. The choice usually boils down to aesthetics and cost. The three most common veneers (in order of cost, starting with the least expensive) are manufactured stone, brick, and natural stone.
If you follow these 4 steps, the entire project takes 3 days, and can be done by 2 people. The 1st day is not a full working day, as you are pouring the concrete pad, and then waiting for it to set up. The only way to build a properly designed and functioning outdoor fireplace in such a short amount of time is to use a pre-engineered masonry kit. That's how it is done!