The outdoor fireplace offers the ultimate in backyard entertaining. It’s a focal point, a gathering spot, and even an opportunity for open-flame cooking. But not all outdoor fireplaces are alike. Here’s why we only use high-temperature fireboxes for Worthington, OH, outdoor fireplaces.
Have you ever been sitting around a wood fire and wished you could just turn it off when it was time to go inside? Or maybe you wanted to “turn down the heat” when the fire was blazing? When you have an outdoor fireplace installed with a high-temperature firebox, you have the option of burning firewood or using natural gas to fuel an easily adjustable gas flame.
Many homeowners make their choice out of necessity or preference. You either love the smell and sounds of a crackling wood-burning fire or you’d rather have a clean appearance in and around your outdoor fireplace at all times of day.
Safety is paramount, especially when burning hardwoods, which can create extreme heat. A heat-resistant and strong firebox will ensure that the fireplace doesn’t succumb to the damaging effects of heat.
Whether you’re choosing a prefabricated fireplace or a fully custom fireplace, the firebox is literally the heart of the fireplace. Fireplaces are constructed of heat-safe materials (stone, brick, or concrete exterior), but it’s the firebox construction that ultimately determines the safety of a fireplace.
Fireboxes can be constructed of fire-rated bricks or steel that can withstand high heat; this includes a fire-rated flue that directs heat and smoke through the chimney.
Firebrick is a common material used to line the interior walls of a wood-fired outdoor fireplace. Not only is it safe and durable, it creates an attractive firebox.
There are several types of firebrick, ranging from high duty firebricks (designed for furnaces and industrial use) to medium- and light-duty firebricks.
Medium- and light-duty firebricks are generally the best choice for residential applications, depending on the fuel type chosen. Firebricks are made with a ceramic material, aluminum, and silicon dioxide to reflect heat rather than absorbing it. When you’re sitting beside the fire, you enjoy greater warmth, but more importantly, the heat is not absorbed into the body of the fireplace, which could potentially cause mortar to crack.
More porous bricks, also known as “kiln bricks,” can be used in lower-heat applications such as gas-fueled fireplaces. Kiln bricks are lighter and have better insulating properties than dense firebricks.
Interested in an outdoor pizza oven? Most pizza ovens feature medium-duty firebricks. They are more efficient at conducting heat than clay bricks, easily withstand high temperatures, heat up quickly, and can withstand the rapid heating and cooling of outdoor cooking ovens.
Demanding outdoor conditions make a high-quality, high-temperature, and durable firebox a necessity. Not only does the firebox have to withstand intense heat (particularly when burning hardwoods), it also has to withstand the harsh Ohio winters, including damaging freeze-thaw cycles.
Before having an outdoor fireplace installed, you’ll want to check with your local authorities and building inspectors about local codes and regulations (or your landscape contractor can handle such details for you). The location of your outdoor fireplace and fuel type are largely dependent on those limitations.