Fire pits are an essential part of a good summer as they are great to sit around with friends and family while you roast marshmallows. So, naturally, you want to keep your fire pit in the best condition possible. How do you prevent your fire pit from developing rust?
There are a few methods you can use to help prevent rust from developing on your fire pit. These include buying a waterproof cover for it, keeping it under a roof when not in use, applying cooking oil to your fire pit, keeping the fire pit elevated at all times, and many more!
How do you use a natural internal heat barrier in your fire pit? Can you spray your fire pit with high heat resistant paint to help prevent rusting? How do you repair a minor patch of rust on a fire pit? Let’s find out!
How to Prevent Your Fire Pit From Rusting
On hot summer nights, nothing is better than gathering around a roaring fire pit with your family and friends to roast some marshmallows to perfection.
However, there is one thing that can stand in the way of this perfect summer night, and that is pulling out your fire pit, only to find that it has rusted over the winter. This can be extremely disappointing and put you off the whole family occasion.
Rust is highly damaging to your fire pit as it eats away at the metal, slowly degrading it until it falls apart and can be unpleasant to look at.
Rust can also be dangerous to the people who interact with it as it can cause injuries when touched due to the shape edges it creates in the metal, making the metal easy to break. So, when your fire pit has rusted, you will be reluctant to use it.
So, how do you prevent your fire pit from rusting, to begin with? You can use a few methods to help prevent rust from developing on your fire pit. Let’s go through them so you don’t have this unfortunate and disappointing experience for your summer nights!
1 – Store Your Fire Pit Indoors When Not In Use
The easiest way to prevent your fire pit from rusting is to store it indoors or under a roof or covered area when you are not using it.
You should make room in your garage or a spare room of your house or under a covered area like a patio for your fire pit to be stored long-term and short-term.
You need to do this, as one of the common reasons why rust begins to form on fire pits is that the fire pit gets wet from the rain. Usually, the water then becomes trapped in the fire pit until you go and empty it.
This will cause your fire pit to start rusting, so you need to keep it dry, and the easiest means to do this is by keeping it under a covered area where the rain cannot get to it. This is extremely important if you are not going to use your fire pit in a few months due to winter.
If you have a larger fire pit, you can still move it under a covered area using a dolly to help you. This will help ensure your fire pit is protected and you don’t injure yourself trying to move it.
2 – Buy a Waterproof Cover for Your Fire Pit
If you cannot keep your fire pit under a roof for any reason, you need to buy a waterproof cover for your fire pit. A waterproof cover is not the ideal protection method, but sometimes it’s the best you can do, and it will offer your fire pit a good amount of protection.
You need to ensure you invest in a quality waterproof cover as a few cheaper ones will not protect your fire pit well. A waterproof cover will help protect your fire pit from the elements, preventing rust from developing.
They will protect your fire pit from water build-up that can also cause rust to develop. Some fire pits have covers specifically designed for them, but they are sold separately.
So, check with the store that sold you your fire pit as you want the waterproof cover to fit as tightly as possible for maximum protection.
If you cannot find one specific to your fire pit, you can go and check at your local hardware store or online for one that is as close to the dimensions of your fire pit as possible. Just ensure you buy a waterproof cover as you need to keep moisture out and away from your fire pit.
3 – Keep Your Fire Pit Elevated
One excellent way to help prevent rust from developing on your fire pit is to keep it elevated off the ground slightly, both when it’s in use and when you are storing it. Even if you keep your fire pit on grass or your patio, you should elevate it slightly.
You need to remember that water can still collect in these areas on the ground, which can lead to your fire pit rusting at its legs. This rust can then spread further to the rest of your fire pit if you don’t notice it in time.
To elevate your fire pit, you can use some loose bricks stacked on top of each other or some stone pavers to help keep your fire pit above the ground. This will help your fire pit from accumulating or even sitting in water.
4 – Use Natural Internal Barriers in Your Fire Pit
To further help prevent rust from developing in your fire pit that can happen due to heat damage inside your fire pit from the excessive heat of the flames, use a natural internal heat barrier to help protect your fire pit.
A natural internal barrier can help prevent the paint or other protective coatings inside your fire pit from burning off when you use your fire pit. This is something that will naturally happen over time as you use it.
This will slowly weaken your fire pit and make it prone to rusting. A great natural internal barrier that you can use is sand. You can first place a layer of sand at the bottom of your fire pit before placing the wood inside it.
The sand will provide a layer of thermal protection for the bottom of the fire pit against the fire, as this is the place that receives the most heat. You can also use fire-proof silica sand as this barrier as it works perfectly in fire pits.
5 – Spray Your Fire Pit with a High Heat Paint
When you first buy your fire pit and take it out of the box for assembly, don’t put it together just yet. First, buy some high heat resistant paint to spray your fire pit with.
Go and buy something like Rust-oleum High Heat Spray. This spray, along with others like it, can withstand temperatures of up to 1200°F, which is a lot higher than most fire pits will reach when they are being used. Fire pits will generally only reach about 200°F when they are holding fire.
These heat-resistant sprays will help protect your fire pit from the elements that can lead to rust forming on your fire pit. It can also shield your fire pit from the extreme heat it faces while in use.
These paints are generally hardier and heat resistant than the ones used on fire pits when they are manufactured. This means that they will last you longer and better protect your fire pits.
6 – Apply Vegetable Oil to Your Fire Pit
A great way to help protect your fire pit from everything that can cause rust to form is by coating your fire pit with cooking oil of some kind. You can use an oil like canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil if you prefer.
You need to use a cloth to spread a thin coat of the oil over the entire fire pit, inside and out. The oil coating needs to be thin as you don’t want the oil to build up on the fire pit or burn when you use your fire pit, creating an unpleasant smell.
The oil will create a natural protective barrier all over your fire pit to help protect it from the elements and the fire when you use it. This method is easy to do and will not take a long time to complete, especially if you have a smaller fire pit.
However, this method will require maintenance, as you will need to re-coat your fire pit with oil after each season of use.
7 – Clean Your Fire Pit Regularly
If you want to prevent rust from starting on your fire pit, you need to maintain it correctly and keep it clean. You should clean your fire pit thoroughly after every use as the ash in the fire pit can absorb moisture from the air or rain.
This ash and moisture mix will then sit in your fire pit directly on the metal’s surface, which can cause rust if not cleaned. This is the worst place of your fire pit to have moisture sit, as the interior is the most prone to rusting due to the heat it experiences during use.
You need to ensure this area of the fire pit is clean. When you clean your fire pit, ensure that the coals are extinguished completely and your fire pit is no longer generating heat; this is for your safety and to ensure you don’t start a wildfire from hot ashes.
When these requirements are met, you can safely remove the ashes from your fire pit. You can do this by just tipping the ashes out, or you can vacuum them.
How to Treat Rust on a Fire Pit
Now you know how to prevent rust from developing on your fire pit; you also need to know how to clean rust off your fire pit if it begins to develop before you can use any of these preventative measures.
Knowing how to clean rust off your fire pit is just as important as knowing how to prevent rust in the first place, as rust can sneak up on you, especially if your fire pit was in storage for a while and the rust can spread like wildfire.
Let’s go through how you can repair a minor spot of rust that may develop when your fire pit has been stored for an extended period, so you can bring your fire pit back to full health if a bit of rust does develop.
Minor Rust Repair on a Fire Pit
If you have used one or two of the rust prevention methods mentioned above, but your fire pit still develops a small amount of rust, this should be an easy fix. This rust should only be surface-level rust and not something deeper that would require more work to fix.
There are two ways to remove this minor rust from your fire pit. You can use a commercial rust remover specifically made for fire pits, or you can try a natural way to remove the rust if it’s not a big enough patch to warrant buying a commercial rust remover.
With commercial rust removing products, you will follow the directions on the packaging of the rust remover you buy, but generally, they are easy to use. To naturally remove a small patch of rust on your fire pit, you can follow the steps below.
Step 1 – wash the area with lukewarm water and soap to clean the rusted area of any debris and loose rust.
Step 2 – use masking tape to isolate the rusted area; this will ensure you don’t damage areas of your fire pit that don’t have rust.
Step 3 – with some sandpaper, sand down the rusted area. You can use a sander for this step, but ensure you use fine-grit sandpaper about 220 or above. Remember to use a respirator or mask during this process as you don’t want to inhale rust.
Step 4 – once you are done sanding the area, wipe off the dust from the area with a wet cloth
Step 5 – paint the area with a high heat paint spray to protect this area from the elements in the future. Apply a light coating first, allow it to dry completely, and then apply more coats as needed.
Fire pits are always a highlight on hot summer nights, so you want to keep yours in good condition to ensure it lasts you as long as possible. Thankfully, there are several methods you can use to help keep your fire pit rust-free. It’s worthwhile to use more than one method at a time to ensure your fire pit is fully protected. Good luck with your fire pit!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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