Allowing a 360-degree view of a fire, the open pit fireplace brings the ambiance of a campfire indoors. The construction of an open pit fireplace outdoors is much less complicated than the task of bringing one indoors, as there are many more safety precautions that must be handled to make the fire pit safe for indoors. Bringing the fire pit indoors requires that a chimney or hood system be built to prevent the heat from causing damage to the roof or starting a fire. Glass or screen fires surrounding the pit also protect the room against sparks.
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From Outdoors to Indoors
When bringing the fire pit indoors, a safe and suitable spot should be chose ahead of time. The fire pit should be placed away from flammable objects, and in an area where a chimney or fire hood can be constructed into the ceiling to draw the heat out and prevent heat damage or fire. Fire pits can be built over any flooring surface, once a fire pit pad, stone slab, or bricks have been put into place. The covering will protect ashes from falling directly onto the flooring and potentially causing a fire.
Once the protective covering is put into place, a stone or block wall is constructed in a circle to form the shape of the pit. The wall should be no less than 1 1/2 feet high and up to 3 or 4 feet. These blocks or stone can be purchased at a hardware store and fit together easily, and should be stuck together with mortar. The wall of the fire pit may also be formed of resilient metals such as steel or copper. Once the fire pit wall is formed, a steel lining is installed to protect the bricks from receiving too much heat and deteriorating prematurely.
Inside the Pit
Inside the lining, and above the pit pad, the pit is filled with a 6-inch layer of gravel. The gravel adds further protection to the floor below, and help to keep ash from spreading into the air as easily.
Because the open pit is now indoors and the heat and ash produced cannot float freely in the air, a chimney or fire hood needs to be placed above the pit. The chimney or hood should be made of materials that are resistant to fire, such as metals, bricks or stones, and should create a pathway for the smoke to exit the home.
Often people chose to include a glass or mesh cover to stretch between the fire hood and the fire pit, to prevent flyaway ashes from causing fires, and to prevent little ones from injuring themselves.
Some fire pits are built to sit directly on the ground, requiring a hole be cut through the flooring. This design helps the ashes and rain water that may enter through the chimney to drain into the ground, rather than rotting out the home's flooring. Ashes should be removed regularly to keep dust down, and the chimney or fire hood should be inspected often for creosote buildup that could easily start an unwanted fire.