Use Lava Rock For Fire Pit

Why Use Lava Rock For Fire Pit

So you’ve bought a fire pit, you’ve put it together, met all safety requirements, and maybe you’ve even made a spot for this fire pit. But then what’s next? What goes into the fire pit before you light it?

For a propane fire pit, you do not need wood chips like a charcoal fire pit, but what do you use. There are various options you can consider, and one of them is lava rocks.

We have gone through all you need to know about why you need to use lava rocks for fire pit, the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, and other alternatives to using these rocks.

Why Use Lava Rock For Fire Pit

For starters, lava rocks are good-looking and will give your fire pit a fine finish. But they are good for fire pits because they separate the flames well, which causes heat to spread around more instead of being intense in one area. 

Normally, the heat from a fire pit is directed upwards, but with lava rocks, you can get the heat to spread around the surrounding environment.

Lava rocks can be used in wood and propane fire pits, so you don’t need to worry about them being suitable for a particular fire pit. 

Lava rocks can withstand high temperatures without cracking or exploding; they also protect the bottom layer o the fire pit from damage.

Can You Burn Wood With Lava Rocks?

Wood is known to burn differently from propane, but if you wonder if they can be burnt together, the answer is yes. Although knowing the burning nature of wood, you may need to take steps to guarantee safety around the fire pit.

You will need to place a protective layer of lava rocks that rise 4 to 5 inches from the top of your fire pit instead of the usual 3 to 4 inches. And it is advised that you do not burn any other fuel type without this protective layer.

How Do You Start a Fire With Lava Rocks?

Use Lava Rock For Fire Pit

Some fire pits have an ignition button, while others do not. If your fire pit has an ignition button, start by removing the rocks around the burner, release the gas a little to let the gas lower out, and then push your ignition button. 

The ignition button creates a tiny spark that burns the gas in the fire pit. Afterward, arrange the lava rocks around the burner and adjust the flame using the valve.

If you use a fire pit that does not have an ignition button, still follow the basic process of taking out the rocks from the burner. 

Then open the gas valve, light a long match, and ignite the fire pit. Arrange the lava rocks into the burner and adjust the flame with the valve.

Use the smaller lava rocks as the first layer, and if you are using new lava rocks, rinse them to get rid of dust and allow drying before use. Ensure the lava rocks cover the burner fully, but they should not form a thick layer.

How Many Lava Rocks Will You Need?

The number of lava rocks you need depends on whether you own a propane fire pit or a wood-burning fire pit. 

If you own a propane fire pit, you will need lava rocks that build up to 2 to 3 inches, but you can check the user manual for any section where this factor is addressed. 

You will need more protection for a wood-burning fire pit, so you should use lava rocks up to 4 inches.

A bigger fire pit will need more lava rocks; each cubic foot weighs 25 pounds, so ensure you buy the correct amount of lava rocks. 

Online calculators are available to work out the number of rocks you need; if you have a 24-inch fire pit, you will need I cubic foot of lava rocks and another cubic foot for an extra 6-inch diameter plate.

What Are The Potential Dangers of Using Lava Rocks?

When you use wet lava rocks, they will explode. So if you rinse your lava rocks, allow them to dry out. 

Use a metal cover to cover your fire pit to protect your lava rocks from moisture if you are leaving them out. But buying a metal cover is expensive, but you can always take your lava rocks o a safe place where they will not be in contact with moisture.

If you notice a weird smell from your propane fire pit, this is probably because it is new and used for the first time. 

But if this is an unusual occurrence, turn off your fire pit and contact a professional to do a little inspection. An odd smell may be a gas leak, so be careful.

Other Alternatives To Lava Rocks

If you think lava rocks will not be best for your fire pit, the good news is that there are alternatives that can be used in place of lava rocks. You can use glass beads and fine stones as replacements for lava rocks. 

Like lava rocks, glass does a great job of dispersing the fire around instead of focusing it in one place because they are small and have passages for air. 

Stones may be large and need to be placed carefully so as not to block the flow of gas; this may create a chaotic flame pattern.


After purchasing your fire pit, the next thing is to ensure that the heat is spread evenly but also safe for the users of the fire pit. 

The best material for this job is lava rocks, which do not explode but disperse the flames because of their small and porous nature.

Lava rocks come in different colors and sizes and are aesthetically pleasing. We have explained how to light a fire pit with lava rocks, the possible dangers of using lava rocks, and some alternatives to these rocks you can consider for use in a fire pit.

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We trust this article helped you understand why you can use lava rock for a fire pit. You may also want to check If You Can Use Glass Marbles In Fire Pit?

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