How to Make a Concrete Fire Pit

Last year we decided to build a fire pit behind the house. We had originally planned on building a simple stone fire pit. But after some discussion, we decided to use concrete and make one that was a bit more modern looking. We thought it would be a nice contrast with the brick retaining wall along with the other elements we would add around the fire pit.

In this article, I’m going to tell you how I made it so you can make one for yourself! Keep in mind that I made this fire pit before we started the blog. Which unfortunately means that I wasn’t concerned about taking a lot of pictures of the process, but thankfully I did take some of the most important steps.

Materials and Tools

Here’s what you’ll need for the project:

  • tape measurer
  • miter saw
  • drill
  • phillips bit
  • hammer
  • phillips screws
  • 2 8′ 2×8 boards
  • 2 8′ 2×10 boards
  • 1 10′ 2×10 boards
  • 1 10′ 2×8 boards
  • 6 80 lb bags of quickcrete
  • 8 24″ pieces of steel rebar
  • wire
  • shovel
  • wheelbarrow
  • lava rocks
  • pry bar
  • maybe a circular saw

Mark and Prep the Area

Once we decided where to put the fire pit and how big it should be, I marked the area exactly where it would sit. Then using a shovel, I dug up the grass and the top level of dirt until the area was nice and level.

Build the Form

The overall size of this fire pit is 60″ x ” 30″ x 16″ with 5″ thick walls. Based on that constructed the form. I built it in two layers. I used the 2×10’s for the bottom layer. You can see the measurements for the cuts in the illustration below.

outer form

Once I had all of the pieces cut, I built the outer forms. I drilled pilot holes through the ends and connected the pieces with the 2 inch screws.

Then I built the inner forms using the 2×8’s, but instead of using screws on the outside, I used metal brackets on the inside corners. This allowed me to take the form apart once the concrete had dried.

inner form

After constructing the forms, I had two outer boxes and two inner boxes. I placed the first outer box on the area I had leveled. Then I placed the two inner boxes, one on top of the other.

Rebar and Wire

The next step was to add the rebar and wire. I placed three stakes down each of the long sides and one stake on each of the short sides. I drove each stake into the ground until the tops were about 1 inch below the top of the form.

Then I wrapped the wire around the stakes, making sure none of it was touching the form.

Once I had the rebar and wire in place, I add the top outer box. Then I attached some braces to the sides to make sure the top forms stayed in place while adding the concrete.

The blue area in the illustration below shows where the concrete goes.

Mix and Add the Concrete

For this fire pit, I used a total of 6 80 lb bags of Quickrete.

In the wheelbarrow, I combined one bag of Quickrete and water and mixed it with a shovel. I started with a small amount of water. Then added more and mixed until it was an oatmeal consistency. Be careful not to add too much water. You don’t want the concrete to be too runny.

Then, I shoveled the mixture into the form. I made sure that it completely filled the form leaving no voids or pockets of air. I repeated this with all of the bags of Quickrete until the form was filled to the top.

Using a hammer, I went all around the form tapping on the sides to force any air bubbles to the top.

Then I used a float to skim the top to make sure it was nice and smooth. This forces any of the big material down into the mixture and creates a smoother surface on top.

Wait 48 Hours

I covered the fire pit with some plastic and left it alone for 48 hours. This gave the concrete time to cure while keeping the moisture in.

Remove the Form

I removed all of the screws and brackets from the form. Then using a pry bar, I pulled the form away from the concrete. The outside pieces were pretty easy, but the ones on the inside were a little tough to get out. You might need to use a circular saw to cut the wood out.

Finishing Touches

The last and final step was to add some lava rocks to the inside of the fire pit. I filled it about a third of the way up. Then we waited about 2 weeks before using the fire pit to give it more time to cure.

Hope you found this useful! And as always, if you have any questions, post them in the comments.

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  • Reply Eric

    Hi There, wife wanted me to build this for her so grabbed materials from the list and came home to do the cuts. The boards listed do not work for the lengths given. Says I need 2 of the following lengths: 57”, 44”, 30”, and 17” for the lower section made out of 2×10’s. That’s 296 board inches. 3 2x10x8’s = 288 total board inches. Then for the upper level it’s the same lengths but u only say 2 2x8x8’s are needed which is even less. Not a big deal, just a trip back to store but wanted to give you a heads up on it to edit the write up. Also you say after 48 hours you remove the screws from the 2×12’s yet there are no 2×12’s. Hopefully that will help the next guy in my shoes not have to run back to Home Depot but love the write up and watching your projects!

    October 20, 2019 at 12:15 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Eric. What am I going to do with that Henry? 🙂 Maybe I should fire him. Lol! Thanks so much for spotting these mistakes, and so sorry for the confusion. He’ll make the corrections.

      October 21, 2019 at 8:29 pm
      • Reply Eric

        Lol! I did noticed the updates, only thing I see is the bag count for concrete is still off. When I wrote the comment I hadn’t poured yet and was severely short. Luckily it was cold out and so was able to add some water to slow it down and run to store for more. Took me 14 80lb bags of concrete. It did turn out amazing and the wife loves it 😃

        November 10, 2019 at 8:41 pm
  • Reply Mark

    Great article. Do you have it plumbed for natural gas or propane? Or do you just use firewood on top of lava rock? If you do the latter, do you have anything inside to collect the ash and remnants of the burnt wood? What do you suggest for your inside filler? We are thinking of placing a concrete wood burning fire pit in our courtyard but wanted to know more about day to day maintenance and care.

    March 18, 2020 at 6:50 pm
  • Reply Summer Paris

    Do you have an estimate for what materials cost you?

    May 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm
  • Reply Carrie Cochran

    I was also wondering if you burn wood in it and how you dispose of the ash.

    August 11, 2020 at 12:22 am
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