How Much Does a Fire Pit Cost to Build?
Homeowners can enjoy their outdoor space year-round with a cozy fire pit. Fire pit cost ranges from $200 to $3,000, with the national average at $850.
- Typical Range: $200 to $3,000
- National Average: $850
A backyard fire pit can be a gathering place for family and friends or a cozy area to enjoy some alone time. Fire pits come in many different styles and designs to fit the aesthetics of any home. As an inviting addition to any landscape, a fire pit in a well-maintained outdoor space can increase a home’s value. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, fire pit cost ranges from $200 to $3,000, with many homeowners spending $850 for a 36-inch above-ground propane-burning fire pit. A charcoal-burning option around the same size can cost as little as $200, but a larger 48-inch natural gas-burning fire pit can cost as much as $5,000 or more, which is still cheaper than the cost to install an outdoor fireplace. The overall price depends on the size of the fire pit, the building materials, and the fuel source. In addition to selecting the construction material and fuel source, homeowners can choose between above-ground and inground installations. This option hinges on the budget as well as the size and type of fire pit that best suits the homeowner’s needs.
Labor to install a fire pit typically ranges from $60 to $125 per hour, with installation taking less than a full day. If the fire pit is fueled by electricity or gas, homeowners will typically need to pay a licensed electrician or a plumber in addition to the installation contractor. This guide will examine the factors that influence fire pit cost, additional costs and considerations, the different types of fire pits, ways to save money on fire pits, the benefits of fire pits, and some frequently asked questions about fire pits.
Factors in Calculating Fire Pit Cost
Calculating fire pit cost is based on several important factors. Pricing can differ from the national average due to fire pit type, size, material, and shape; fuel type; and local labor costs.
Fire Pit Type
Depending on the size of the space and the installation budget, homeowners can choose an inground or above-ground fire pit to complement their backyard landscaping. Both types have their own benefits, features, and price ranges, so it’s important for homeowners to have all the available information as they consider which style best suits their needs. What follows are the two types of fire pits and their average prices.
- Above-ground fire pits. Above-ground built-in fire pits are very popular, with an installation cost that ranges from $200 to $1,500. Since these units are not portable, they need to be installed away from the house, landscaping, overhanging tree branches, and other structures on the property. Above-ground fire pits are popular with homeowners due to their ability to create a cozy gathering spot for family and friends. Portable above-ground fire pits are typically less expensive and not as sturdy as an inground fire pit. Portable units can be found at large home improvement stores and typically don’t require any assembly.
- Inground fire pits. The cost of an inground fire pit runs from $1,000 to $3,000. This option costs more due to the excavation of the soil for installation and the required assembly of the unit. If a homeowner wants to install an inground fire pit in an existing patio, they can expect to pay about $5,000 due to the additional labor involved. Custom-built inground fire pits with inserts can cost $3,000 or more, depending on the individual features and the size of the fire pit. This option is usually the most expensive, especially if the contractor or another professional is tasked with designing the space. Using an insert, such as an electric ignition or a gas burner, can increase the installation cost, since each of these features needs to be connected to the home’s electrical or gas line.
Fire Pit Size
The average size for backyard fire pits ranges from 36 to 44 inches, but some portable units can be as small as 20 inches and as large as 48 inches. Ultimately, the final cost hinges on the size of the fire pit. The following are some common fire pit sizes and their individual costs.
|Fire Pit Size (Diameter)||Price Range (Installed)||Average Price (Installed)|
|36 inches||$200 to $900||$550|
|40 inches||$165 to $1,300||$730|
|44 inches||$200 to $1,600||$900|
|48 inches||$250 to $2,000||$1,120|
Fire Pit Material
Fire pits can be made from a wide variety of materials, with the material determining the final price. Concrete is one of the most cost-effective fire pit materials, with prices that start at around $200. On the higher end is natural stone, which can cost $3,000 or more. What follows are the most popular fire pit materials and their installation prices for a 36-inch fire pit.
|Fire Pit Material||Installation Cost Range||Average Installation Cost|
|Concrete||$200 to $1,000||$600|
|Stainless steel||$250 to $1,200||$720|
|Brick||$300 to $2,200||$1,250|
|Natural stone||$350 to $3,000||$1,680|
- Concrete fire pit. A 36-inch concrete fire pit costs from $200 to $1,000 to install. A popular budget-friendly option, concrete lends to an easy DIY fire pit project. The material is highly functional and can range from sturdy concrete blocks to a more streamlined modern finish. Concrete is commonly used with fire pits that use wood, charcoal, or gas as a fuel source.
- Stainless steel fire pit. Homeowners can expect to pay between $250 and $1,200 for a 36-inch stainless steel fire pit. A popular material for portable fire pits, stainless steel is durable, weather-resistant, rust-resistant, and lightweight. It radiates heat well, has a high melting point, and is used in fire pits with various kinds of fuel sources.
- Brick fire pit. The cost of a 36-inch brick fire pit ranges from $300 to $2,200. A preferred material for homeowners with brick homes, brick can be used to coordinate the fire pit with the exterior of the house. The bricks that come in contact with the heat source are thermal-resistant that can withstand the high temperatures, and the outer layer of the fire pit is lined with decorative brick pavers. Brick is a preferred fire pit material because it continues to radiate heat well after the fire has been extinguished.
- Natural stone fire pit. A 36-inch natural stone fire pit can cost between $350 and $3,000. Natural stones come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, so homeowners can customize the fire pit to blend in with the surrounding landscape. The types of natural stones that are used to construct fire pits are either igneous or metamorphic, such as basalt, soapstone, quartzite, feldspar, and granite. These types of stones have a high heat tolerance and will not retain moisture.
Fire Pit Shape
Fire pits are available in various sizes and shapes to fit into the unique design of the installation area. Each shape has its own benefits and pricing. Below are the most common fire pit shapes and their installation costs.
|Fire Pit Shape||Installation Cost Range||Average Installation Cost|
|Hexagonal||$120 to $1,000||$560|
|Round||$150 to $1,500||$820|
|Square||$165 to $2,800||$1,480|
|Rectangular||$185 to $3,000||$1,590|
- Hexagonal fire pit. Installing a hexagonal fire pit costs from $120 to $1,000. Popular materials to construct a hexagonal fire pit are stone and stainless steel, but any material can be used. This shape is good for entertainment purposes and for an equal distribution of heat.
- Round fire pit. Probably the most popular fire pit shape, a round option ranges from $150 to $1,500. Similar to the hexagonal shape, it’s optimal for hosting a large group with equal heat exposure.
- Square fire pit. Square fire pits can run from $165 to $2,800. Homeowners who are interested in a more formal fire pit setting often opt for a square unit. Some of the popular materials to use for this shape are granite, tile, and slate.
- Rectangular fire pit. At costs between $185 and $3,000, the most expensive option is a rectangular fire pit. This shape is used most often for homes that feature a modern and luxurious design aesthetic. The most commonly used materials for a rectangular fire pit are brick, stainless steel, and stone.
The fuel type of a fire pit is a significant factor in the installation and maintenance costs. Homeowners will want to consider the ways they plan to utilize their fire pit, their material and style preferences, location, and safety concerns when deciding on the fuel type. Fire pits can be fueled by charcoal, propane, wood, electric, or natural gas. Each of these fuel types is discussed below.
While some homeowners may prefer to purchase a fire pit kit for a DIY project or know how to build a fire pit on their own, others hire one of the best landscaping companies to build one for them. If the fire pit has an electric starter or is fueled by natural gas, homeowners will always want to hire a licensed plumber or electrician to install the necessary electric or gas lines. It typically costs between $60 and $125 per hour to hire a contractor to install a fire pit, which usually takes less than a full day of work. Local labor rates can go up if the job is complex, the location is difficult to access, or the fire pit is a large inground unit. Hiring a local plumber or electrician can run from $45 to $200 per hour. Homeowners are strongly advised to leave electrical or gas work to the professionals rather than attempting to complete these jobs themselves.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting to install a new fire pit, homeowners may find it helpful to have all the information regarding additional costs and considerations at their fingertips. Some factors that can influence the price of the project are prefab fire pits versus custom-built options, yard preparation, gas line installation, patio installation, required permit fees, and additional accessories.
Prefab vs. Custom-Built
Prefab, or premade, fire pits can be purchased as a kit that a contractor or a homeowner can assemble. The average cost of a fire pit kit ranges from $500 to $600 or more, depending on the size and materials. While some kits come with all the required parts, other types of kits will allow the homeowner to customize specific features. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that some kits require additional purchases to properly finish the construction, and they will always want to read the instructions and list of contents carefully before deciding on the right fire pit kit for their home.
Custom-built fire pits are usually the most expensive option, and their pricing can vary according to size, construction material, and fuel type. Although the designs for custom-built fire pits often require additional work on the part of the contractor, which can increase the cost, they provide the best return on investment. A custom-built fire pit is an investment that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Before a fire pit can be installed, the area needs to be properly prepared, which includes having a level surface. Re-sloping or leveling a yard costs between $500 and $2,500. Having a level area is important for drainage considerations and assurances that water will not pool in or around the fire pit. Removing a tree ranges from $400 to $900, and stump removal runs from $200 to $700. If there are any old and dry shrubs or plants in the surrounding area, they will also need to be removed.
Gas Line Installation
The cost to install a fire pit gas line runs from $15 to $25 per linear foot. Some contractors may include this price with the installation cost of a gas fire pit, but others may not, so homeowners are advised to inquire about any additional gas line installation fees.
The cost to build a patio during a fire pit installation averages $6,750; to build a patio without a fire pit costs approximately $3,500. Building a patio and installing a fire pit at the same time are more cost effective and result in a better resale value.
Depending on the local regulations and the type of fire pit, installing a fire pit may require a permit. Gas-powered and electric ignition fire pits typically need a permit due to the work involving gas and electric lines. Permit fees differ according to geographic location, and some areas have strict regulations regarding fire pits and their fuel source. Homeowners are strongly encouraged to double-check the types and sizes of fire pits permitted in the area.
When installing a fire pit, many homeowners decide on additional features such as the best fire pit covers, screens, grates, or seating to augment the fire pit’s function, style, or safety. Depending on what accessories are added, the pricing can range from $20 to $3,000. Below are some popular add-ons and the average costs.
- Lava rocks. Lava rocks are often added to gas fire pits as a functional and attractive accessory. Lava rock is a porous material that protects the gas burner from the flames and acts as an even heat source for the distribution of warmth from the fire pit. A 10-pound bag of lava rocks, or basalt, costs between $20 and $50, and they’re available in a range of colors that include black, red, and brown.
- Fire glass. Fire glass is often used to enhance the appearance of a natural gas or propane fire pit. It also hides the fire ring and evenly disperses the heat from the fire pit. The reflective pieces of tempered glass come in various colors and cost between $30 and $100 for a 10-pound bag.
- Safety screens. Fire pit safety screens protect against burns on patio furniture and clothing due to escaping sparks and burning embers. A screened fire pit also safeguards children and pets from getting too close to the flames. Safety screens can be a functional and straightforward mesh screen dome that sits on top of the fire pit or a more detailed design with hinged panels. The cost of fire pit safety screens can range from $40 to $300.
- Fire pit ring. While it’s not always a necessary additional expense, some homeowners choose to add a fire pit ring to protect the construction material from intense heat exposure. Inserted along the inner wall of the fire pit, the ring protects the structure and adds to the longevity of the fire pit material. Average costs run from $50 to $250.
- Fire grates. Used for wood-burning fire pits, fire grates elevate the wood off the floor of the fire pit to ensure proper airflow. Fire grates also protect the bottom of the fire pit from heat damage. The average cost range for a fire grate is $50 to $280.
- Fire pit seating area. A built-in seating area around a fire pit is typically 40 to 48 inches away from the heat source. Rather than rely on freestanding chairs to arrange around a fire pit, some homeowners prefer to have permanent built-in seating when they entertain. This addition can cost from $1,500 to $3,000.
Types of Fire Pits
The type of fire pit directly affects the price of the unit and the installation. Homeowners will want to be aware that some fire pit fuel types may not be allowed in their location, so it’s important to double-check the local regulations before deciding on a fire pit. The following are fire pit fuel type options and their average installation prices.
|Fire Pit Fuel Type||Installation Price Range||Average Installation Price|
|Charcoal||$250 to $350||$300|
|Propane||$300 to $950||$625|
|Wood-burning||$300 to $1,000||$650|
|Electric||$350 to $1,500||$925|
|Natural gas||$400 to $3,000||$1,700|
A charcoal-burning fire pit can cost from $250 to $350, with many homeowners spending $300. Since charcoal doesn’t produce sparks, it’s considered safer than a wood. Some benefits of this fuel type are that it’s easy to start and it doesn’t produce smoke. Charcoal does produce ash that needs to be cleaned out of the pit on a regular basis.
The price range for a propane fire pit is between $300 and $950, with the average at $625. While it doesn’t produce as much heat as wood or charcoal, propane burns cleanly and doesn’t produce smoke or ash. Propane fire pits are typically covered in lava stones to mimic the look of flames from a natural fire. Unlike a natural gas fire pit, a propane unit is not directly hooked up to a gas line. It’s fueled by a portable propane tank that will need to be replaced or refilled when all the propane is consumed.
A wood-burning fire pit costs between $300 and $1,000, with the national average at $650. This type of fire pit is preferred for the crackling fire, wood smoke, and intense heat, although the sparks and embers can potentially cause brush fires and wildfires in some areas. This popular fuel source is budget-friendly and easy to install. Wood-burning fire pits need regular cleaning to dispose of the ash and embers. Homeowners who are interested in installing a wood-burning fire pit will want to check their local laws and regulations to see if this type of fire pit is allowed in their area. In certain geographic locations that are prone to wildfires, seasonal or even year-round fire bans are common for safety reasons.
Electric fire pits typically cost from $350 to $1,500, with the average cost at $925. While there are no entirely electric fire pits, fire pits that use an electric ignition to light the gas fuel source are popular for their efficiency, safety, and ease of cleaning.
A natural gas fire pit ranges from $400 to $3,000, with the average price at $1,700. It’s one of the more expensive options, since a gas line needs to be run from the home to the fire pit location. Efficient natural gas fire pits don’t emit smoke, sparks, ash, or embers, but they also don’t produce as much heat as wood-burning options. Lighting a natural gas fire pit is as easy as flipping a switch.
Benefits of Installing a Fire Pit
The warmth of a fire pit can extend the outdoor season and provide a welcoming gathering spot for friends and family. There are many advantages of installing a fire pit, which include additional time outdoors when the weather cools, enhanced ambience, and increased home value.
Extended Outdoor Season
Spending time outdoors on the patio or in the backyard is something many people stop doing once the temperature drops. A fire pit can extend the outdoor season by providing a cozy spot to entertain or spend some peaceful alone time. Having chairs and blankets on hand can create a welcoming focal area to an outdoor space.
The glow of a fire pit draws people in and encourages them to gather and enjoy a shared space. The dancing flames add warmth to any backyard or patio area.
Increased Home Value
Adding a fire pit is a good way to increase a home’s value, with natural gas fire pits having the best return on investment.
Fire Pit Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Some homeowners enjoy building a DIY fire pit or putting together a fire pit kit on their own. Installing a fire pit is a manageable DIY project if it doesn’t involve gas lines or electrical work. It’s always recommended to hire a professional when it comes to working with gas or electric due to the risk of personal injury or property damage. Homeowners have multiple options for installing a fire pit on their own, from a DIY smokeless fire pit to a portable fire pit from a home improvement store.
Building an inground fire pit will take more time, effort, and money, since it involves excavation to ensure a level surface for the fire pit. Homeowners who want to do the work on their own also need to make sure they follow all local fire pit regulations and building codes. Incorrectly constructed or installed fire pits can increase the risk of safety hazards, such as gas leaks, electric shock, or the explosion of soft stones when used to line a fire pit. Being knowledgeable about construction materials, fire safety, and the dos and don’ts of building a fire pit can eliminate the risk of potential injury and property damage.
Homeowners who do not have the skills required to build a fire pit are advised to hire a professional to complete the project for them. This is especially important if the homeowner plans to install a gas or electric fire pit. In addition, a professional can install a custom fire pit faster and more efficiently than a homeowner attempting a DIY build, and professionals can also ensure that the finished fire pit is as safe as possible and meets local building and fire codes.
How to Save Money on Fire Pit Cost
For many homeowners, having a backyard fire pit where they can gather with friends and family is worth the cost, but saving money is always preferred to spending more. One way to save is to choose the cheapest portable fire pit available, but there are other ways to economize without compromising on quality. Below are some tips to save money on fire pit cost.
- Opt for a smaller fire pit. Instead of spending more for a slightly larger fire pit, opt for a smaller one, which will still provide a welcoming, cozy area but for less money.
- Skip the built-in seating. While a permanent seating area that’s made from the same material as the fire pit may sound inviting, installing one can cause the cost of the project to skyrocket by the thousands.
- Opt for wood. If a wood-burning fire pit is approved for your area, choosing that fuel source can save money compared to installing a gas line or an electric ignition.
- Consider the location. If you don’t enjoy the crackling fire and smoke of a wood-burning fire pit and prefer a gas-powered one, consider how far the gas line needs to run from the house to the fire pit. The longer the gas line, the more expensive the installation will be.
- Use a prefab unit. A custom-built fire pit can be more than twice the cost of a prefab fire pit.
- Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from reputable contractors in your area to find a price that works with your budget. The same advice applies for plumbers and electricians.
Questions to Ask About Fire Pit Installation
Asking a contractor the right questions about fire pit cost can help save money and minimize miscommunication. Below are some questions to ask about fire pits and the installation process.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have references?
- How much experience do you have installing fire pits?
- Can you provide examples of previous fire pit installation work?
- What are the local regulations and building codes regarding fire pits?
- Who will install the fire pit?
- How long will the project take?
- Do you use subcontractors for the fire pit installation?
- What type of maintenance do you recommend for the fire pit?
- What type of warranties or guarantees do you offer on materials and labor?
- How can I leave a review?
Before homeowners decide on a fire pit, it’s helpful for them to have all the information they need regarding the cost and the installation process. Below are some frequently asked questions about fire pits.
Q. What type of fire pit is best?
The type of fire pit that works the best for one homeowner may be different from what works best for another. It’s recommended that homeowners consider their budget, the ways they want to use the fire pit, the fuel source, any safety concerns, and local regulations and building codes when they are deciding on the type of fire pit for their space.
Q. Are pellet fire pits worth it?
Some fire pits, such as smokeless fire pits, use pellets as a fuel source. While they produce less smoke than wood, pellets also don’t produce as much heat. Pellet fire pits are easy to light and to get the flames stoked, but homeowners may want to consider whether the expensive price tag is worth it.
Q. Is it cheaper to build a fire pit or buy one?
It’s considerably cheaper to buy a prefab fire pit than to pay more for a custom one. Custom-made built-in fire pits can cost more than double the price of prefab units.
Q. What is a good size fire pit?
Fire pits are usually between 36 and 48 inches in diameter. Homeowners will want to consider how many people they’ll have around the fire pit and what the local regulations are in their area.
Q. Which fire pit is better: gas or wood?
Many people enjoy the crackling fire and smoke of a wood-burning fire pit, but gas fire pits are safer than those that use wood as their fuel source. They burn cleaner and more efficiently without sparks or flying embers that can cause an unwanted fire.
Q. How long do fire pits last?
Depending on the construction and maintenance, a fire pit can last from 1 year to a lifetime. A well-maintained fire pit can avoid weather damage, rust, and general disrepair. Cleaning the fire pit, removing ash, storing portable fire pits in a protected area, and quickly removing rust can extend the life of a fire pit.