Breaking down the substrates you can use in your backyard Fire Pit

With the beautiful weather and continued “Shelter in Place” order due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of our neighbors here in northern Georgia have been out enjoying their fire pits – are you? If your answer is no because you do not have one, then this could be a great time for you and your family to have one installed

Raised Fire Pit surrounded by Flagstone Patio

Doing a Google search or two yields plenty of information about which materials are best for you to use to line your fire pit. The best and most often used include:

  • Silica-based sand
  • Lava rocks
  • Fire Pit Glass
  • Rocks
  • Dirt. Yes, even regular old dirt


In this vein we also caution you about using another couple of types of substrate: River Rock or granite gravel.

We mention it because some people have chosen to use one of these substrates. But that is a bad idea because the water in the river rock or granite gravel can heat up and cause the rocks to “pop”. The resulting fragmented material instantly turn into little projectiles that can inflict injury on you and anyone else trying to enjoy the fire.


Sand is the substrate of choice for a substantial number of fire pit DIYers. Dirt also holds some appeal, particularly since it is F-R-E-E. Yet we also caution you on using dirt, as it does have a downside that could cost you money over time. That downside is that dirt, when mixed with the ash from your fire and water creates a muddy, mucky paste that can cause your drain underneath the fire pit – if you have one installed – to get clogged. The clean up can be time-consuming, dirty and/or costly (in particular if you bring someone else in to do it for you).


We recommend you using Sand or Granite Sand as your substrates of choice to line your fire pit. Owner Mike says he leans towards sand because “it is inexpensive and you don’t really need that much to put in a fire pit. And look at it this way: most often when you see outdoor ashtrays in the park or at the beach, what are they lined with? Sand. That shows you that sand is a good product to deal with the ashes left over from your fire.”

The other product that seems to score well with a substantial number of fire pit owners is lava rock.

Are you considering building or hiring a contractor to build a fire pit or outdoor firepit in your yard? Then come on into Stone Distributors and our knowledgeable people will be happy to help you with picking out the right stones and substrates for your fire feature. We also have a large variety of different types of Flagstone, Fieldstone, garden boulders, stones and other landscaping materials available for you right here on our lot for all of your stone-related projects.

Contact us at (678) 354-0566 or by visiting us online at or on our Stone Distributors Facebook page: We continue to be open NORMAL HOURS at this time: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Sundays.

The following article was used in compiling this blog:

Published by Stone Distributors

We are a Natural Stone Supplier for Professionals and Homeowners in the Kennesaw / Cobb County area of Georgia

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