Form and function key to fire pit selection

Staying warm isn’t the only reason landscape clients gather around their fire pits and fireplaces
Make sure clients understand how they will start their fireplaces or fire pits.

Decorative logs are still popular, but Schoenfeld noted that he’s also seeing designs that incorporate more unique ceramic shapes.

“We did a project with a nightclub that has skulls,” he said. “They’re made of a ceramic material that allows the heat from a fire pit. We see a lot of trends towards larger ceramic products that are able to go in there.”

Schoenfeld tries to discourage homeowners and designers from using wood-burning fireplaces in outdoor designs.

“We’ve had to educate the client that it’s putting so many particulates into the air and you can’t really put it out as easily,” he said of wood-burning units. However, those types of products are still a major part of the market, and he noted that EPA-approved clean-burning units are becoming increasingly popular, especially in Colorado where our low humidity helps prevent fire boxes from rusting.

Some clean-burning wood fireplaces only put out four grams of particulate compared to about 200 grams put out by an open fire, he said.

He also stressed the importance of planning for cross ventilation when installing an outdoor fireplace.

Some designers don’t know about cross ventilation requirements, but air “needs to move through those areas to keep the electronics dry and keep the plumbing dry and allow the interior of the fire pit to dry out,” Schoenfeld explained. “When they look at that screen they say, ‘I don’t want to see that,’ but it’s really important for the client, especially if they are on propane. They have to have a way for the gases to dissipate or the heat to dissipate.”

Most manufacturers will provide calculations for the size and number of vents need to properly ventilate a unit, he said.

This article originally appeared in our sister publication, Colorado Patio & Landscape

Danielle Andrus

Editor, Colorado Builder Magazine

Danielle Andrus has 207 posts and counting. See all posts by Danielle Andrus

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