What To Put in Bottom of Wood Burning Fire Pit? Make It Safe!

a newly built fire pit area in a backyard on a beautiful sunny day

I get it. You’re excited about building a fire in your new wood-burning fire pit. But before you get started, it’s important to understand what you should and shouldn’t put in the bottom of the pit to ensure a safe experience for everyone involved.

A layer of sand is often used at the bottom of fire pits. It can help distribute heat evenly and prevent your wood from burning too quickly. However, you can also use other materials like gravel, ceramics, or rocks.

This article will help you understand what to put in the bottom of your wood-burning fire pit to make it safe. It will also give you some tips on how to avoid smoke in your fire pit.

Understand the Dangers of Not Using the Right Material in Your Fire Pit

When you build a fire in your wood-burning fire pit, it’s important to use the right materials at the bottom of the pit. This will help to ensure that the fire burns safely and evenly.

If you don’t use the right materials, you could face issues such as:

  • The fire could spread to unwanted areas, leading to a dangerous situation.
  • The fire could become too hot and cause damage to the pit or surrounding area.
  • Smoke could build up, causing respiratory problems and discomfort.

The worst materials I’ve seen at the bottom of a pit include leaves, paper, and cardboard. These materials can easily catch fire and are also likely to smoke.

It’s also important to avoid using flammable liquids like gasoline, lighter fluid, or alcohol in your fire pit. These liquids can cause an explosion or a flame that can quickly get out of hand.

Choosing the Right Material for the Bottom of Your Fire Pit

I have seen people use all sorts of materials at the bottom of their fire pits, but sand is the best option. It’s affordable and easy to find and will help distribute the heat evenly.

However, sand is not the only material you can use in the bottom of your fire pit. Here are some great alternatives:


This is a good choice if you want to add some weight to the bottom of your pit. Gravel will help keep the pit in place and prevent it from being blown over in strong winds. I have used it in my pit for over seven years, and it works pretty well.


If you want to add decoration to the bottom of your fire pit, rocks are a good choice. You can find rocks of all different sizes, shapes, and colors at your local home improvement store. Just make sure that the rocks you choose are non-flammable.

Lava rocks are a great choice for anyone who chooses this route. These rocks are great at absorbing heat and can help improve the look of your pit.

Fire Pit Inserts

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of building a fire pit, you can always buy a fire pit insert. These inserts are designed to fit into an existing structure, such as a barbecue grill.

Fire pit inserts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs. They can be made from various materials, including metal, stone, and glass.


Concrete is another popular material for fire pit bottoms. It’s strong and can withstand high temperatures. However, try not to use concrete bricks, which are often not made to handle fire. Make sure you choose a concrete finish that doesn’t contain flammable materials.

Sand Lime Bricks

These bricks are made from a mixture of sand, lime, and water. They are then kiln-dried to create a product that is strong and non-flammable. This is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a durable bottom for their fire pit. But you want to buy the bricks from a reputable dealer, or you could end up with a substandard product.


Ceramic tiles are another option for the bottom of your fire pit. They are heat-resistant and come in a variety of colors and designs. You can even find tiles that look like stone or brick. The only downside to using ceramic tiles is that they can be quite expensive, but they are worth the investment if you want a beautiful bottom for your fire pit.


Porcelain is similar to ceramic, but it is even more heat-resistant. It’s also solid and can last for many years. Porcelain will also add a touch of class to the bottom of your fire pit. But like ceramic tiles, they can be pretty expensive.

Natural Stone

Things like granite, slate, and soapstone are all great choices for the bottom of a fire pit. They are very strong and can withstand high temperatures. And they have a natural beauty that you just can’t get with man-made materials.

The only downside to using natural stone is that it can be quite expensive. But if you have the budget, it’s definitely worth the investment.

As you can see, there are a lot of different materials you can use for the bottom of your fire pit. Just make sure you choose something that is non-flammable and heat-resistant. And if you’re not sure what to choose, sand is always a good option.

Avoid Smoke in Your Fire Pit

A fire pit can be a great addition to any backyard, but it’s important to not let it create too much smoke. Smoke can cause respiratory problems for those nearby, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions.

There are a few things you can do to avoid smoke in your fire pit:

Use Dry Wood

If you’re planning on having a fire in your pit, make sure to use dry wood. It produces much less smoke than wet wood. This usually means wood that has been cut and allowed to dry for at least six months. You can also buy kiln-dried firewood, which is even better.

Avoid Sap Wood

Sapwood is the outer layer of a tree that contains sap. It’s usually lighter in color than the rest of the tree. Sapwood produces more smoke than other types of wood, so it’s best to avoid it. If you’re unsure if a piece of wood is sapwood, you can ask someone at your local hardware store.

Stack the Wood Properly

Stacking the wood in your fire pit can significantly impact how much smoke is produced. The best way to stack the wood is in a teepee shape. This will allow air to circulate and help the fire to burn more evenly. However, you can experiment with other ways of stacking wood, especially if you’re dealing with large logs.

Check Wood for Fungus and Mold

If the wood you’re using for your fire has fungus or mold, or it’s rotten wood, it will produce more smoke. It’s important to check the wood before you use it. If you see any fungus or mold, throw the piece of wood away and find another one. Besides producing smoke, burning it could spread spores and cause respiratory issues.

Over to You

Now that you know what to put in the bottom of a wood-burning fire pit, it’s time to start. Make sure to choose a safe and durable material, such as sand, gravel, or rocks. And don’t forget to avoid using any flammable materials.

I’ve also thrown in some tips on how to avoid smoke in your fire pit, so you can enjoy it stress-free. With these tips, you’re sure to have a great time around the fire pit without any problems.

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