Thinking of installing an outdoor fire feature, and torn between a fire pit vs fireplace? We’ll help you break it down.
The Benefits of Outdoor Fire Features
There’s nothing quite like sitting around an open flame. That’s probably why people have been doing it for thousands of years. We may have a lot more conveniences than our ancestors, but we still appreciate the comfort that a crackling fire brings.
Traditional campfires have received a notable upgrade in recent decades, as outdoor fire pits and fireplaces have gained in popularity.
Both options extend the usability of your outdoor living space into the cooler months. They also help create ambiance, and can enhance both your property value and your lifestyle.
In other words, outdoor fire features are fun!
However, there are some significant differences between an outdoor fire pit vs fireplace. These include construction, cost, and the type of experience they provide.
Why Choose an Outdoor Fire Pit?
Outdoor firepits come in both portable and permanent options. Most fire pits consist of a central pit surrounded by a seating area. This design more closely mimics the experience of sitting around a campfire. Fire pits have many benefits, including:
Social Gathering Spot
Above all, fire pits create an excellent hangout spot. This makes them a natural venue for outdoor entertaining.
A fire pit makes a great place to take advantage of the view without blocking it. This makes them the perfect option for lakeshores, mountainsides, rolling pastures, or any property with a scenic setting.
Fire pits are relatively easy to install and are available in many styles.
For s’mores, campfire stories, and hanging out with friends, a fire pit makes a great choice. If you’re looking to create a more casual outdoor area, a fire pit could be right for you.
Materials and Design
Fire pits are constructed with two parts. The first is an inner wall made from fireproof material such as firebrick. The second is an outer wall that’s heat-resistant. The outer wall allows for a variety of material options to suit your lifestyle and landscape design. Natural stone, brick, concrete and stucco are all popular choices. From the homey and natural to clean and modern, there’s a firepit material to fit most aesthetics.
Additionally, modern firepits can accommodate decorative choices like fire glass, fire beads, and ceramic fire balls. This helps create an even more individualized look.
Made to withstand harsh weather conditions and extreme heat, these colorful firepit additions add ambiance. Additionally, they don’t emit any harmful chemicals or smoke, or create soot or ash.
Further, fire pits don’t have to be round. They can be square, rectangular, or even triangular in shape. The custom nature of their construction means there’s a design to fit your property, hardscape theme and needs.
You also don’t need to worry about covers with a professionally installed fire pit. That’s because they’re built with a drain to prevent rainwater buildup.
Things to Consider:
Built in fire pits with both wood storage and seating can take up a large amount of room. This is something to consider if your outdoor space is limited. Another potential downside to wood-burning fire pits is that you can’t control which way the smoke will blow. However, if wood storage and smoke are concerns, there are several other options. These include natural gas fire pits or propane fire pits.
Why Choose an Outdoor Fireplace?
Fireplaces tend to be the focal point of any space, whether indoors or out. Even when a fire isn’t lit, the visual appeal of the structure creates a cozy gathering space.
An outdoor fireplace has many benefits, including:
The solid structure of a fireplace acts as a centerpiece for your outdoor living area. It also lends a touch of elegance to your hardscape.
Social Gathering Spot
An outdoor fireplace creates the perfect place for enjoying a glass of wine or hosting a group of family or friends.
Expanded Entertaining Options
When constructed as part of a pavilion or covered porch, an outdoor fireplace can even be used in rainy weather. Who wouldn’t love a crackling fire for an intimate gathering?
Increased Property Value
A fireplace also adds value to your home – a benefit if you’re considering selling. If you’re looking for a more formal, elegant outdoor fire feature, a fireplace might be right for you.
Materials and Design
Similar to a fire pit, fireplaces consist of a two-part structure. The inner walls of the firebox are built using firebricks that can withstand extreme temperatures without cracking.
The outer walls of the firebox and chimney can be constructed from a number of materials. These include brick, stone, pavers, stucco – or even a combination.
The outdoor fireplace ideas are almost limitless. You can choose elegant herringbone brick, woodsy river rock, the modern-rustic ambiance of stucco, and more. Whatever your style, there is a fireplace design to fit your aesthetic.
A fireplace can also help create privacy for your patio or hardscaped area. The combination of firebox and chimney acts as a visual wall. That can be beneficial if you live where houses are built close together.
Traditional wood fireplaces are always an option, and wood storage can even be built into your fireplace design.
However, if smoke or upkeep is a concern, natural gas and ceramic logs provide an environmentally friendly alternative. Even if you do choose wood, it’s advisable to install a gas fire starter. They’re a convenient and safe way to get your fire going.
Things to Consider
The main drawbacks to an outdoor fireplace are the matters of cost and construction. There’s a lot more involved in building an outdoor fireplace, from design to materials to labor. For example, outdoor wood-burning fireplaces require a properly designed chimney to direct smoke in the right direction. All of these considerations add up to more required skill, more time, and more money than building a firepit.
Fire Pit vs Fireplace, the Burning Question.
Whichever you prefer, you can’t go wrong by adding an outdoor fire feature. Both of these structures help create a warm and inviting outdoor living space. They also extend the usability of your yard well into the colder months.
If you have more questions regarding the fire pit vs fireplace issue, or think one might be right for your property, contact Oasis. We will be happy to schedule a consultation.