Can You Use River Rocks In A Fire Pit?

Can You Use River Rocks In A Fire Pit?

We often get the question ”can you use river rocks in a fire pit?”, and it’s understandable.

Whether it’s around the firepit, the firepit itself, or inside it, who wouldn’t like to see those beautiful stones -that naturally reside near water bodies- decorating structures around their home?

While river rocks create stunning scenery, does that mean they’re compatible with fire pits? In the article below, we share the full answer.

Can you use engineered bricks in a fire pit?

Can You Use River Rocks in a Fire Pit?

Just because river rocks look good and you can technically do whatever you want, doesn’t mean you should. When it comes to fire pits, you should not use river rocks in any aspect of the structure, neither to build its parts nor as a source of heat.

Why You Shouldn’t Use River Rocks in a Fire Pit

There are two main reasons why you shouldn’t involve river rocks in a fire pit, be it in construction or combustion.

1. They may explode when heated

River rocks are different from the sort of stones you can usually get at the home improvement stores in your area. Generally, river rocks aren’t porous, which means there’s air trapped inside them.

As such, when you place river rocks near or around a burning fire, the trapped air will heat up. Do you know what happens when air heats up? Well, let us remind you — it expands.

When the air trapped inside the rock expands, this results in exerting a great amount of pressure on the stone that leads to exploding.

Using River Rocks In a Fire Pit
Using River Rocks In a Fire Pit

2. Collecting river rocks may be illegal

If you weren’t convinced enough with the possibility of the rocks exploding, what if we tell you there’s a chance that collecting river rocks is against the law.

That right — in federal/state parks, taking natural resources is often considered an illegal practice.

If you try to go around that and collect the rocks from private land, you must acquire permission from the owner to be there and do that. Trespassing laws are the same everywhere, but they’re never good news!

Can You Place River Rock inside a Fire Pit?

The choice of stone or wood is crucial in gas-powered fire pits. You should use fire glass or lava rocks, but never use river rocks or stones that you’ve collected on your own from outdoors because they likely contain water.

When such rocks are heated, the trapped water will cause them to explode.

What to put in the bottom of your fire pit?

Can You Use River Rocks to Build a Fire Pit?

You shouldn’t build any part of a fire pit using materials that are:

  • Flammable (for example, plywood shipping pallets)
  • Non-porous ( for example, river rocks, pea gravel, and compressed concrete blocks).

The latter materials hold water, so they’ll trap steam and explode eventually.

Do River Rocks Work in a Fire Pit?

No, river rocks, sandstone, gravel, and natural rocks are not suitable for use in fire pits because they present a high risk of cracking or exploding when exposed to heat.