Nothing brings the cozy atmosphere of a campsite to a garden quite like a fire pit! It is not necessary to spend lots of money on a professionally built fire pit! Building an epic backyard fire pit is surprisingly easy!
Fire-rated cinder blocks are an inexpensive, safe, and durable material to use for building your fire pit.
It is very straightforward and quick to establish a permanent or temporary fire pit grill from cinder blocks – and you don’t need any fancy design skills.
Also – there is a wide range of possible designs to use!
Outdoor Happens is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Click to learn more
One can get creative and build a fire pit that looks great in your backyard landscape. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a location for your fire pit. We’re going to brainstorm so you can build the best cinder block fire pit grill possible.
There are also some safety considerations when it comes to using random old cinder blocks. After reading this guide, you will be ready to head out and build your fire pit grill – safely and without second-guessing.
If you want a grilling grate that's far more luxurious, then feast your eyes on this hidden gem of a fire pit grill.
There are two things I love about this BBQ grill grate design. The first thing is that you get two grill components - a mesh grate and a solid griddle.
Now you can sear steaks, cook veggie stirfry, and still have room for burgers and hotdogs. Heck yeah!
Also - it has a holding pole that allows you to adjust the grilling griddle and grate without fuss or worry. Perfect - and easy!
Cinder Blocks Are Great for Building a DIY Fire Pit
Many people are surprised to learn that you can use humble cinder blocks to build a five-star fire pit. Cinder blocks are the perfect material for a DIY fire pit for many reasons:
- Inexpensive – a simple design costs around $60.
- Fast and easy to build with – no bricklaying skill required.
- Cinder blocks have good heat retentive properties.
- Holes in the blocks provide ventilation for the fire.
- They are a reliably strong material.
Can You Grill Food on a Cinder Block Fire Pit?
It is perfectly safe to grill food on a cinder block fire pit. The cinder blocks will not release any hazardous toxins that could contaminate your food. You will want to design your firepit so that you can easily place a metal grill on top for your steak.
Are Exploding Cinder Blocks a Danger?
Cinder blocks are porous enough not to explode or crack when exposed to intense heat. Some dense concrete blocks have water trapped inside, and when they are heated, the water turns to steam, and the blocks explode.
Cinder blocks are generally not explosive, but to be on the safe side, check if cinder blocks are fire rated when you buy them, and beware of using random old blocks of concrete you find lying around.
When searching for fire bricks, make sure the brand you're seeking says for fire pits! That's why these fire bricks from Rutland are my top choice for all outdoor ovens, fire pits, stoves, and more.
I've noticed that the cost of DIY fireplace supplies has increased over the last year due to inflation. However, I think that these Rutland bricks are still of excellent value - you can build (or repair) your existing fire pit without breaking the bank. Superb and versatile bricks!
These bricks can be used to build a new fireplace, fire pit, or anywhere where you need a brick that can withstand high temperatures. These bricks are rated up to 2700 degrees Fahrenheit and there are 6 bricks in a box.
Cinder Block Fire Pit Grill Designs
There are so many different fire pit designs to choose from out there. The only limit is your imagination and creativity! You can build a temporary fire pit or a permanent one, depending on whether you use mortar.
- Round. Circular designs use the fewest number of cinder blocks, so they are the most cost-efficient. The cinder blocks are stacked with their corners touching. Stacking the cinder blocks two levels high is more than sufficient to keep the sparks inside. You do not want to build the perimeter too high, or the wall will block the flames and direct all the heat skyward.
- Square. A four-sided design generally looks slicker and more finished – doubly so if you use mortar. People build them 2 or 3 blocks tall. They look sturdy and professional!
- In-ground. The most striking design for a cinder block fire pit is one that is sunken into the ground. In-ground is also the most reliably stabilized design. Add a 4-inch layer of gravel or sand around the fire pit to protect the soil from burning.
Read More – Delicious Barbeque Grilling Recipes and Ideas!
Choose the Right Location for Your Fire Pit
Whether you are building a temporary or permanent fire pit, you need to choose the right location for safety reasons.
Choose a spot at least 20 feet away from trees, buildings, and other structures that could catch alight. Overhanging trees or branches are a dangerous fire hazard.
How to Build a Fire Pit Using Cinder Blocks
- Decide on the shape and size of the fire pit you want to build. A 3-foot-wide circle allows 3 or 4 people to sit around the fire comfortably.
- Also, consider the shape and size of the grill you have.
- Decide if the fire pit will be temporary or permanent. If you build a long-term fire pit, you will need to get a mortar and prepare it.
- Prepare the non-flammable area that will be the base of the fire pit. Bare earth or gravel is best. Prepare an area slightly larger than the size of the fire pit so that you can add a thick layer of rock gravel around the fire pit.
- Start by stacking the bottom layer of blocks in the desired shape. Make the holes in the cinder blocks face upward. You can rotate a few blocks every 3 feet so that the holes act as draw holes to stoke the flames. If you are stacking them in a circle, ensure that the corners of the blocks touch.
- Once the first layer of blocks positions, lay the second layer on top, with blocks straddling the seams between the blocks in the first layer. This straddling between blocks will add structural stability.
- Allow the mortar to dry for a week before you use your fire pit for the first time. Drying your mortar will prevent the cement from cracking!
Read More – DIY Primitive Smoker – Smoked Meat in the Wild!
I wish I had these steel telescoping skewers when I was a kid. They make barbequing easy! They extend to 32-inches, so you have plenty of leverage to cook epic BBQ snacks without getting too close to the flame.
You don't have to run off into the woods and break twigs to find makeshift BBQ skewers anymore. These work better.
And, the best part is that they're perfect for cooking hotdogs and roasted marshmallows to perfection!
Garden Fire Pits Made Easy! My Final Tip!
It is quick and easy to build a fire pit using only cinder blocks. You do not even need mortar! To construct a more permanent fire pit and one that looks more finished, you can cement the blocks together.
Choosing a safe location to build a fire pit is critical! Provide at least 20 feet between the fire pit and any surrounding trees, buildings, or structures.
There are many different fire pit designs you can build with cinder blocks.
Round designs use fewer blocks than square designs, so they are slightly less expensive. A sunken-in fire pit looks beautiful – one may not even guess it came from cinder blocks!
The blocks can be stacked 2 or 3 blocks tall – any taller usually blocks the flames from view and directs the heat skywards. Stacking the blocks with the holes facing upwards is good! But, to give the fire more ventilation, rotate a few blocks to create draw holes.
It is vital to let the mortar set for at least a week before using your new fire pit for the first time. Setting your mortar will ensure that it doesn’t crack and lasts you a long time.