Gas fire pits are mainly loved for their gorgeous clean look and smooth operation.
Gas fire pits come in a plethora of designs and can be finished with numerous materials to achieve the desired exterior look. The exterior can be finished in granite or rugged concrete blocks. Concrete can be stained to accentuate the beauty and character of the fire pit. Other notable materials for finishing fire pits also include marble, clay bricks, and fiberglass to name a few.
While the exterior beauty of a fire pit is essential to add to the beauty of your outdoor or indoor space, so is the unit’s ability to disperse heat efficiently while also remaining durable. That allows it to serve the user for the longest possible period. That’s where fire pit glass and fire pit lava rocks come in handy. Most fire pit owners use one or the other in their propane fire pits. A good number of customers often wonder whether you can mix the two and what the outcome would be from a functional standpoint.
That is indeed a good question and one that is worth exploring. To answer this question we must point to one primary factor when it comes to fire pits.
What are they used for? Apart from beauty and décor, a fire pit’s primary purpose is to provide heat and warmth to the user.
At the same time, if not insulated, that heat can damage your fire pan and shorten the lifespan of your fire pit.
You will notice that most gas fire pits will tend to come with fire pit glass and/or fire pit lava rock in the fire pan.
Let’s first have a look at the attributes of each to understand why mixing these two toppings is a possibility and how you stand to benefit should you opt to mix them in your propane-powered fire pit.
Fire pit glass
Both fire pit glass and lava rock have different strengths and weaknesses.
Fire pit glass for instance; is made of small tempered glass fragments and can come in numerous colors to complement the fire pit itself as well as add to the aesthetic beauty that comes from the glistening shimmer of the glass. It is this aesthetic beauty that makes fire glass very visually attractive.
Depending on your taste, you can choose from non-reflective, semi-reflective, and reflective finishes of fire pit glass.
But besides the beauty, fire glass brings plenty of functionality to your propane fire pit. The fragments of tempered glass are very hard. The glass will remain unaffected by the heat in terms of color and neither does it fragment or shutter. Its edges are polished and tumbled for safety to form blunt edge surfaces that don’t pose a hazard even when inspecting the fireplace. These glass fragments do an excellent job of covering but not suffocating the gas jets through which gas is passed from the propane tank to become fire.
Given the fire pit glass does not melt and it also does not produce toxins when heated, the resulting fire is clean and smokeless, unlike wood options.
Further, these glass fragments are good at heating up and dispersing the heat so that the users around the fire pit feel the warmth of the fire.
Fire Pit Lava Rock
What makes lava rock an excellent and functional option for topping a propane-powered fire pit is the fact that it can withstand very high temperatures of heat. That’s because the rock was once molten rock from erupted volcanoes.
The igneous rock can only be found in erupted volcano areas. A notable and distinguishing feature of lava rock is the uneven pores formed when gases escaped during the cooling process. Lava rock is also known as basalt.
The edges of basalt are very rough, rugged, and prickly when freshly mined. But, by the time you are buying them by the pound for your fireplace, they have been already tumbled to make them safe to handle and bring muted, beauty to your fire pit pan.
Like fire pit glass, basalt is a good option for covering the gas jets on your fire pan. Given the lava rock’s ability to withstand very high temperatures, they do an even better job of insulating your fire pit pan than fire glass.
Lava rock is also superior in absorbing heat when compared to fire glass but not as good at dispersing it.
So, if you used lava rock alone on your fire pit, the heat that reaches you will NOT be as intense as that emitted from heated fire glass. In terms of cost, lava rock is much cheaper than fire glass and will cost you approximately $15 for 10 pounds.
Can the two be mixed?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. The two can be mixed.
Now that we have seen the pros and cons of these two fire pit toppings, it is easy to understand why using them together may make better sense in terms of functionality. These two can either be mixed or used in layers.
If you opt to use them in layers, the lava rocks should be at the bottom of the pan to provide better insulation and pan protection, while the fire glass should be used as a top layer because of its superior heat dispersing ability and general aesthetics.
Mixing the two gives you the best of both fire pit toppings while canceling out their weaknesses. If you like the aesthetic beauty of fire pit glass alone, the layered method gives you just that but with enhanced functionality.
If you don’t like the unnaturalness of fire glass when used alone, then you can mix it up with lava rock to achieve balance while still enjoying the best of both toppings, aesthetically and functionally.