How To Use Lava Rocks For A Fire Pit

Fire pits are a fun addition to any backyard. They provide a relaxing atmosphere and add warmth during cold winter nights. However, fire pits can also be dangerous if not used properly. If you want to use your fire pit safely and effectively, then you should learn how to use lava rocks in a fire pit.

But if you want to use a fire pit, you should consider a few things before purchasing one. One of those things is whether or not you want to use lava rocks in your fire pit.

Lava rocks are small pieces of volcanic rock that contain minerals and other elements that create heat. Lava rocks can warm up water or even cook food. They also help to keep the area around the fire pit warm.

You can use lava rocks in fire pits for many reasons. However, the two main reasons are their visual appeal and safety. Lava rocks add to the natural aesthetic of a fire pit while also providing some level of protection.

Lava rock is not just for looks! Lava rocks burn less soot and do not produce charcoal, which can be great for your fireplace filter. It also creates less smoke, making it easier to breathe. Lava rock is more resistant to cracking and breaking, meaning that it will likely last longer than other types of stone or tile.

A lava rock fire pit is a good option for anyone who wants the traditional look of the campfire without the mess. When you build a fire, you need to gather up logs or other materials to burn. A lava rock fire pit means that you don’t have to worry about all of that prep work, but it does come at a cost.

Some of the benefits of this type of fire pit are:

– You get more heat than with an open flame because the rocks retain heat longer than wood or other materials

– They give off smokeless flames, which makes them easier on your eyes and your lungs

– Lava rocks make for nice seating around the fire, providing comfort and warmth

– They are easy to clean up as they won’t leave ashes or cinders behind

For centuries people have been using lava rock in their fire pits. 

Why Use Lava Rocks for a Fire Pit?

Whereas wood fire pits must be refilled continuously by someone to fuel combustion, most of the appeal of a gas fire pit comes from the fact that keeping them burning involves almost no effort.

Even so, they require some medium, usually stone, fire glass, lava rock, or similar non-flammable materials, to function optimally and safely.

The purpose of this medium is twofold. First and foremost, it serves to distribute heat more evenly throughout the entire area of the pit. But it also has another equally important job, which is to prevent the burner (along with the burner pan, ignitor, gas line, regulators, and other essential components) from becoming damaged due to prolonged, direct exposure to the same intense heat they produce.

In other words, the medium provides a heat-resistant buffer between the fire pit burner and the heat itself.

It’s, therefore, crucial to choose a medium that can take the extreme heat, day in and day out, and for hours on end. That’s where lava rock enters the conversation.

lava rock ideas

Benefits of Lava Rock

Lava rock is capable of withstanding incredible temperatures without deforming or losing its attractive texture and color. Its well-documented reputation as a clean-burning thermal conductor makes it a prime candidate to use as a medium in gas fire pits.

Lava rocks are great at heat retention and distribute heat evenly and for long periods. For gas fire pits, this provides all-around long-lasting heat with no cold spots. It also shields the burner from the surface flame because it has natural insulating abilities.

On top of that, it’s readily available and inexpensive. You can pick up bags of lava rock in various sizes and colors at any home improvement store or gardening center for around $2-3 per pound, which means getting your pit up and running won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

All of these qualities—durability, heat resistant, aesthetic value, water resistance, and affordability—promise to make it an excellent choice for any indoor or outdoor fire pit.

What Are The Alternatives To Lava Rock?

Lava rock has many advantages, but some people do not like its look, maybe its rustic appearance. There is not much choice of colors or sizes available, so you may want to look at other options.

Fire Glass

Fire glass is not glass, as you know it, since ordinary glass will become too hot in a fire pit and explode.

Fire glass is a unique type of glass specially formulated to withstand the extreme temperature of a fire pit. It is vitrified or tempered glass.

These products come in various shapes and sizes. Fire glass has a reflective backing and smooth finish that will provide the most luster and sparkle possible. The 1/2″ reflective tempered fire glass is the most popular type.

Tumbled Lava Rock

Tumbled lava rock is a lava stone with rough edges removed. It is more rounded and uniform than traditional lava rock. This rock can be a base, or you can fill your fire pit with it.

Tumbled lava rock is also easy to clean because it has a smooth surface.


Sand is another option for your gas fire pit. Sand can be used with lava rock or fire glass or on its own. It does not look as nice as some other choices but is very cost-effective. 

Sand is hard to clean, and it may be easier to replace it periodically.


Dirt is very cheap, heat resistant, and easy to install.

There are many disadvantages to dirt. Ash from your fire can get mixed into the dirt, creating a mess, particularly if it gets wet. Dirt is a relatively high-maintenance choice.

glass rock

Figuring Out How Much Lava Rock to Use

The exact quantity of lava rock you install in your fire pit will depend on the specific dimensions of your pit. As a general rule, however, two to four inches of lava rock should be enough to let you take full advantage of the material’s desirable attributes.

You can probably get away with using less of the rock (somewhere around two inches) in a compact decorative pit. For larger pits, it’s best to use a little more (three to four inches), as your fires will likely be burning longer on average.

Arranging Lava Rocks on a Gas Fire Pit

Start by putting down a one-to-two-inch layer of rock at the base of your gas burner pan, making sure the layer is roughly the same thickness at all points. Tamp the stones down gently by hand to make sure to create a solid foundation.

These smaller rocks will fit closely together, forming an insulated protection barrier that will keep the burner and other vulnerable structural elements off-limits to the heat of the flames above.

Once you’ve got your initial layer laid out, pile on another one to two inches of rocks, this time using a mixture of large and mid-sized stones. You also have the option of mixing in a few handfuls of lava glass or lava glass beads if you want to introduce some other colors into your fire pit and build a more dazzling blaze.

Lighting a Lava Rock Fire Pit

Lighting a lava rock fire pit, and keeping it burning, couldn’t be simpler. The method of ignition may be different for different types of pits.

First, fill the pit with lava stones on the side of the pit where the gas line connects to the burner. Then, press the power button to switch on the pilot light.

Next, open the valve to the gas line slightly. Exercise caution here—if the valve is open all the way, sparking the gas could send up a wicked fireball and leave you with fewer eyebrow hairs than you had before.

After the gas has been flowing for a few moments, you can proceed to ignite the fire.

If you’ve got a manual-light fire pit, light lava rock fire using a long-stemmed match or candle lighter and hold the flame up to the burner briefly. The escaping gas will catch and continue feeding the fire, resulting in a nice controlled conflagration.

If you have a pit with electric push-button ignition, hit the button when you’re ready to get things going.

Remember that you can adjust the size and intensity of your fire by opening or closing the gas valve in small increments using the valve control knob.

fire pit lava rock

Lava Rock Safety

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that wet rocks explode when they get too hot.

The combination of hot rocks and moisture creates steam, which causes pressure to build up inside the porous stone’s many surface cavities. If they heat up too much too rapidly, it’s possible for the rocks to eventually burst, sending small pieces of burning rock flying several feet in any given direction.

With that in mind, you’ll want to let your lava rocks dry before lighting them following a downpour or particularly dewy morning. Fortunately, this shouldn’t take too long, as lava rocks are fast drying.

It is a good idea to cover your fire pit whenever you’re not using it. Investing in a quality cover can keep both your pit and your surrounding property safe from potentially dangerous mishaps.

fire pit

Best Lava Rocks For Gas Fire Pits

Gas fire pits are an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors while also providing heat. They’re inexpensive, portable, and easy to set up. However, if you’ve ever used one before, you probably notice that they tend to produce a lot of smoke.

If you want to use a gas fireplace without having to worry about the smoke, then lava rocks might be the perfect solution for you. These stones are designed to burn hot enough to provide heat but won’t create too much smoke.

You’ll find lava rocks at most local hardware stores, although you may have to search around to find the exact ones you want. You should check out these recommendations.

Venetian Princess Lava Rocks

These rocks are naturally porous and absorb heat quickly, making them ideal for use in a gas fire pit. They also add an attractive rustic look to any outdoor area.

Venetian Princess Lava Rocks are from natural volcanic rock, so they’re entirely safe for use around the home or garden. They also look great on any patio or decking area. Venetian Princess Lava Rocks are from natural lava rock that comes from volcanic eruptions on the island of Hawaii.

 Venetian Princess Lava Rocks

Venetian Princess Lava Rocks:

  • Lava Rocks range in size from 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter
  • Available in Black or Red
  • 10 Pounds or 40 Pounds
  • Heat Resistant – Ideal for use in fire pits, fireplaces, and decorative landscaping applications
  • Easy to install – Place lava rock around the base of your fire pit or fireplace
  • Great for entertaining – Add some color to your patio or deck
  • Easy to clean – Hose off after each use

There are many reviews on Amazon. 

Dragon Glass Lava Pebbles

These are great for adding color and sparkle to any garden or patio.

These won’t crack or break when exposed to heat which makes them great for a gas fire. 

Dragon Glass Lava Pebbles are from natural volcanic glass, which burns hot enough to melt ice cubes and snow on cold winter nights. They can add an extra layer of insulation to help keep you warm during the colder months.

Margo Garden Products Dragon Glass Lava Pebbles

Margo Garden Products DFBLP2-20 Dragon Glass Lava Pebbles, 20 lb, Black

These decorative lava rocks are from Asia and have a gray, oval appearance. They are very affordable and come in bags of 20-pounds of rock. You can purchase these lava pebbles in a single bag, two bags, three bags, up to 4 packs for a total of 80 pounds of lava rock to suit your needs best.

What We Like:

  • Beautiful appearance
  • Strong enough for use in gas fire pits
  • Gathered from natural sources
  • Affordable
  • It comes in 20-pound packs of 1, 2, 3, or 4 (up to 80 pounds of lava rock)


Can you mix lava rock and fire glass in a fire pit?

Yes, it is possible to use both types of rocks together. However, the combination will not produce as much heat. If you are using lava rock or fire glass for your fire pit, remember that these two materials have different densities and require different amounts of fuel to keep them burning. Lava rock burns at a lower temperature than fire glass, so you should be able to get more heat from a given amount of fuel by using lava rock.

How to Use Lava Rocks for a Gas Fire Pits?

Lava rocks are the perfect fire pit accessory. They can be used as an accent piece or even as a centerpiece of your backyard gathering area. You’ll find that they look great in any outdoor setting and will add a unique touch to your home.

In addition, they protect the fire pit from hot spots, which can lead to cracking.

If you have been looking for a way to make your outdoor space more inviting, then filling your pit with lava rocks might be what you need! 

Besides being able to withstand extreme temperatures, lava rocks can help with drainage by acting as an effective way to keep your fire pit from getting too wet during rainstorms.

How Do You Arrange Lava Rock on a Gas Fire Pit?

You can arrange lava rocks in various ways, depending on how large your fire pit is. It’s important to note that larger lava rocks tend to burn hotter than smaller ones. So, if you want to create a more significant flame, you’ll want to choose more prominent pieces.

When arranging lava rocks around your fire pit, start with the most prominent pieces first. Then work your way down in size. 

How long do lava rocks hold heat?

Lava rocks are very durable and will last for years. The larger the stone, the longer it will retain its heat. Smaller pieces will burn out faster than large ones.

Lava rocks are a great way to add some warmth and comfort to your patio or deck. 

How to Use Lava Rocks in a Fire Pit or Gas Fire Pit?

Fire glass has become a trendy element lately because it produces a lot of heat without consuming too many resources. It also looks fantastic in a fire pit. When buying fire glass, always check the manufacturer’s instructions before using it. Some manufacturers recommend placing the fire glass directly on top of the coals, while others suggest putting a layer of lava rock between the coals. Either method works fine, but there are pros and cons to each.

If you cannot cover your fire pit, let any wet lava rocks completely dry before lighting your fire pit. Wet rock can explode or fly out of the pit, causing injury.

Can I Use River Rocks In A Fire Pit?

Sandstone, river rocks, natural rocks, and gravel are not good ideas for gas fire pits because they are more likely to crack or explode under high heat.




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