Why would I build an outdoor fireplace versus a fire pit?

Should you add a fire pit or fireplace as a feature on an outdoor living space? One thing is for certain, fire features are hot (no pun intended)!

Archadeck deck in Charlotte with fire pit

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this pretty stained deck and fire pit

So…why would you build an outdoor fireplace versus building a fire pit? Here are some important considerations:

1. Function

Do you want this to be part of a room enclosure like a screen porch or sun room? If so, it will by default have to be a fireplace for venting purposes. If you want to have a large group most of the time, a fire pit actually allows for a large group to sit on all sides and allows for more people to enjoy the warmth of the fire than a fireplace.

2. Aestheitcs

An outdoor fireplace is a focal feature of an outdoor space. By it’ sheer size and design, when build right and placed appropriately, the outdoor fireplace is a most attractive addition. On the other hand, if you have incredible views of water or woods, you may want something much lower profile like the fire pit. Both fire features can be additive to the overall landscape design but placement of the feature is critical.

wood burning stone outdoor fireplace with fieldstone on a flagstone patio in Charlotte

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this flagstone patio and fieldstone outdoor fireplace

3. Price

A stone outdoor fireplace can be as low as $8,000 and go up to $15,000 depending on size and additional features. The stone outdoor fire pit is more like $1,000 and go upwards depending on size and features.

There is a significant price difference as you can see. If budget will not allow for the fireplace, a fire pit will still serve as a great place to entertain friends and family. The one thing you will forgo is the focal point of the space. To see a complete photo gallery of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Sun City Lakes lives outdoors with Archadeck decks and screen porches

Travertine stone patio and landscape design in Charlotte

Archadeck of Charlotte stone patio and landscape design

Sun City Lakes, South Carolina is an active adult living community. The residence and Sun City have a great appetite for outdoor living and Archadeck of Charlotte has designed and built many decks, screen porches, and patios in the community. We feature many of the designs on our extensive photo gallery at our web site charlotte.archadeck.com.

The combination of vast experience of working with SCCL Architectural Review Committee and bringing 25 + years of design and build experience to the area have made for a great combination and value for residents. Whether the resident is looking to expand a deck, design a patio and fire pit/ fire place, or a unique screen porch, Archadeck has been a large partner in the outdoor living space at Sun City Lakes, SC!

What should I look for in an outdoor fireplace? How do I plan for my outdoor fireplace?

EZE Breeze Screen Porch with Outdoor Fireplace integrated and sky lights

EZE Breeze Screen Porch with Outdoor Fireplace integrated and sky lights

Archadeck designed this outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen and patio

stone outdoor fireplace with flagstone patio and outdoor kitchen in Charlotte

Are all outdoor fireplaces created equally? Like anything else, NO! Archadeck of Charlotte has been designing and building outdoor fireplaces for years now in and around the Charlotte, North Carolina area. There are several things to look for when planning your outdoor fireplace design.

First, do you want a gas starter with wood burning fireplace? Do you want a gas ventless fireplace? You should answer this question first so you can begin the planning process. If you are planning on integrating your outdoor fireplace into a screen porch, pergola, or sun room, sometimes gas is a better solution as you do not need to run a chimney up past the peak of the roof.

Secondly, do you want a brick, stack stone, field stone, or stucco exterior? Are you working with a professional contractor that has a lot of experience with designing the flu so that it draws the smoke up and not back at you?

Finally, are you aware of how far from the house the fireplace has to be located to meet building safety codes? Have you considered the size of the fire box? The type of mantle or hearth you may want? How about installing a TV over the mantle?

To get many design ideas and professional advice…go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com 

How close can an outdoor fireplace be to my home?

A common question we get at Archadeck of Charlotte is “how close can an outdoor fireplace be to my home?” there are a couple of wAys to look at it.

The local building codes in the greater Charlotte market requires that you keep your outdoor fireplace a minimum of 10′ from your home. In addition, you can build within 10′ as long as your chimney extends at least 2′ above the highest pitch within the 10′. This often makes the fireplace 16′ and higher and it becomes cost prohibitive!

The other way to look at is use good common sense. Even if you construct the fireplace (and especially fire pit) 10′ away, you don’t want to build a large fire that can get out of control. For some great outdoor fireplace and fire pit photos, go to http://www.Charlotte.Archadeck.com.

How do you make outdoor fireplaces and fire pits safe?

wood burning stone outdoor fireplace with fieldstone on a flagstone patio in Charlotte

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this flagstone patio and fieldstone outdoor fireplace

Paver patio with wood burning fire pit and cover on it and stone sitting wall

Paver patio with wood burning fire pit and cover on it and stone sitting wall

Safety is an important and under valued consideration when designing outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we have to consider out clients safety in our design process and are always looking for new ideas and codes. We have found there are several things you can do to make your outdoor living spaces safer by both design considerations and the way you use them.

First, keeping the fire pit or fireplace at least 10′ away from any part of your house is a building code and something you should begin your design considerations with (unless it is gas and has a direct or ventless system). Secondly, with fire pits, you want the walls of the fire pit to be at least 18-20″ tall or more so kids and pits don’t fall into the fire or coals. Third, keep the size of the fire contained especially if you are near trees or shrubs.

Fireplaces generally speaking are safer than fire pits due to the fact that there are walls and a chimney that keep the fire contained. You still want to keep similar design considerations and not over build your fires. For more information and design ideas on outdoor living spaces, go to www.charlotte.archadeck.com

How do I know if my screen porch is big enough or how to plan for the neccessary space?

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we often find that people choose the size of their screen porch based more on the back of their house rather than thinking through how they are going to furnish the screen porch or how there are going to utilize the space. While looking at the different roof lines, doors, and windows on the back of the house are all elements for consideration, another important element is how much furniture you would like to place inside the screen porch on how you would like to situate it.

Screen porches are really “outdoor living rooms” these days and many people have a table for dining as well as a couch, rocking chairs, TV’s, and small tables. Our advice at Archadeck is to measure the furniture and leave room for chairs to slide out as well as plan on leaving pathways for traffic flow. By taking these items into consideration, you will create a very functional screen porch. To get ideas, click on this link to our photo gallery at http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com 

Archadeck of  Charlotte built screen porch with outdoor fireplace and travertine

Archadeck of Charlotte screen porch with outdoor fireplace and travertine tile

How to build a stone outdoor patio?

Most people that are handy believe that they can build almost anything. Why? The conventional thinking is to save money or simply they just enjoy the challenge! So, what is the proper way to construct a stone patio? To start, you must find an area on your property that is going to make sense to place the patio. Some considerations include drainage, grade, and proximity to trees and your home. Secondly, you will need a lot of shovel power or access to a bobcat. Regardless of the type of stone or paver your choose, you will need to level the land where you want to place the patio with a slight pitch to move water the direction you want it to go. You will then need to purchase and install crushed ABC stone, aggregate, screening and then tamp it all do0wn. Ideally you want to build a 4″ – 6″ base prior to putting your stone or pavers down. Once you lay out your patio stones, then an ideal solution is to spread polymeric sand and allow it to harden. These should be useful steps for those that want to tackle this themselves. For professional installation and some great photo ideas, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.comor

Paver patio with stone firepit in Charlotte

Archadeck of Charlotte designed an built this stone paver patio with a stone outdoor fire pit