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Having a fire pit is something that you’ll likely get a lot of enjoyment out of. People love being able to sit around the fire on cool summer evenings so that they can talk with friends.

Some people even use fire pits for cooking, and it’s just nice to have the option of doing different things with your fire pit. When you’re getting things set up, you might want to put gravel around your fire pit to create a ring of protection from the rest of your yard.

People also put rocks inside of the fire pit to help create drainage and to add some aesthetic appeal to the new backyard feature. If you have pea gravel that you can utilize, then you might be considering using that in the fire pit.

Would pea gravel explode at high temperatures if you placed it in a fire pit, though? Read on to dig into the details so that you can make the best choice possible.

Pea Gravel Will Explode in a Fire Pit

Yes, pea gravel is going to explode if you place it inside of your fire pit. This is not going to be a good idea because it could be very dangerous for anyone who is sitting near the fire pit.

Even if you have a lot of pea gravel to use, it’s going to be a poor idea to place any inside of your fire pit. You can’t use stones that are going to explode when they reach high temperatures.

Sadly, most types of rocks have the potential to explode when they heat up too much. Air gets trapped and this causes things to expand until the rock explodes.

You must avoid certain types of rocks if you want to be able to use your fire pit safely. Never use sandstone, gravel, river rocks, limestone, or pumice in your fire pit.

These rocks are especially bad for fire pits because they’re very porous and it’s easy for air to get trapped inside them. They also have the potential to hold more water and that can compound the issue.

Water makes it so that more trapped oxygen will be created, and that increases the likelihood of a rock explosion. Needless to say, it’s not going to be wise to use pea gravel anywhere near your fire pit area.

You shouldn’t even use pea gravel around the fire pit since it could get too hot and explode there as well. Finding other rocks to use will be for the best.

Using Harder Types of Rocks Will Be Better

You’re going to be far less likely to encounter issues if you choose to use harder types of rocks. There are many different rock types out there that can work well enough for a fire pit.

Some of the better rocks that you could choose to use include dense rocks such as slate, granite, and marble. The density of these rocks makes it unlikely that they will absorb enough water to explode when they get heated up to high temperatures.

It isn’t impossible for these rocks to explode, but it’s unlikely that you would have this happen in your fire pit. This means that most people consider using hard rocks such as this to be perfectly fine.

If you’re going to place a rock in your fire pit, then it should probably be this type of hard rock. You won’t have to worry as much and you’ll be able to just focus on enjoying your fire pit to the fullest.

Other Safe Types of Rocks

There are other safe types of rocks out there that work nicely for fire pits that you can consider. In some ways, these rocks might be even better to use than slate, granite, and marble.

Many people choose to use poured concrete around the fire pit area since it can withstand high temperatures. The only downside to this is that poured concrete chunks might not look as nice in your fire pit if you’re looking for something to make things look charming.

Fire-rated brick is another option that you can consider, and many people love using it as a fire pit lining. It should look pretty nice and you won’t have to worry about it exploding.

Perhaps the best option to consider will be using lava rock in your fire pit. Lava rocks look really cool and they’re going to give your fire pit the look that you’re going for.

You will need to be careful with lava rocks when they get wet, though. Rocks such as this can explode when they get wet, but you can take steps to try to keep this from happening.

Cover Your Fire Pit When It Isn’t in Use

Consider covering your fire pit up when it isn’t in use so that it won’t be exposed to the elements. As mentioned above, water is one of the biggest problems that can cause rocks to explode.

When rocks get wet, they’re going to be more likely to explode because this is what allows the trapped air to form. The rocks will expand because they have absorbed so much water and you’ll be in a dangerous situation if you’re standing close.

Covering your fire pit is a good way to prevent the rocks from getting wet in the first place. You can purchase some type of tarp or even a decorative covering for your fire pit.

Just ensure that you’re using something to cover the fire pit that won’t allow water to seep through. So long as you’re using something that is made out of waterproof materials, it’ll be easy to get good results.

If you remember to cover the fire pit after using it each time, then things will be a lot safer for you. Do your best to keep the fire pit covered and you should be able to use the fire pit even after it rains.

It is still best to be cautious about lighting fires after it has rained, though. This is especially true if you have a ring of rocks around your fire pit area. These rocks might be wet and they could explode, assuming that they get too hot once you light the fire.

Be mindful of the situation and perhaps wait to use your fire pit if any nearby rocks are wet. Otherwise, everything should be fine.

Remember to Put Your Fire Pit in a Safe Spot

Exploding rocks will not be the only thing that you need to worry about when using fire pits. Fire is inherently dangerous and needs to be respected so that you can keep things safe.

When you’re placing a fire pit in your backyard, it’s going to be important to choose the spot for the fire pit carefully. You don’t want to put it somewhere that is too close to certain fire hazards because that could wind up being disastrous.

Try to put your fire pit a fair distance from your home and any other structures that you have on your property. For instance, you don’t want to have your fire pit too close to a shed because you don’t want the shed to catch on fire if something goes awry.

You’ll also want to choose a location that is at least ten feet away from trees, hanging branches, fencing, and other types of things that could catch on fire. Essentially, you have to really scope the area out and think about if there are things nearby that could catch on fire if a rock exploded or if embers wound up traveling a bit further than expected.

Always put safety first and don’t use a location that seems as if it may or may not be safe. If you think that something could catch on fire, then just find a better spot instead of settling on a position for the fire pit and hoping that things will be fine.

Final Thoughts

You know that you should never put pea gravel in a fire pit now. It’s not even going to be a good idea to have pea gravel in the area around your fire pit because it’s just not a good stone for those purposes.

Pea gravel is something that can easily explode when it is exposed to too much heat. It can retain enough moisture that it will wind up becoming a danger if you put it close to a fire pit.

Knowing this, it’s going to be crucial to seek out rocks that are safe to use near a fire pit. Thankfully, you have many options to consider, such as granite, marble, and slate.

You might also be interested in using types of rocks that are rated for fire safety such as fire-rated brick or poured concrete. Many people also use lava rocks even though they need to ensure that those rocks don’t get wet to keep things safe.

So long as you’re using your best judgment, it’s likely that everything will be okay. It’s good that you decided to look up information before using pea gravel in your fire pit and potentially having an accident.

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Author

I have a bachelor's degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies...I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.

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