At Mcfall Masonry, we have constructed and developed many, many fireplaces and fire pits. Outdoor fireplaces became very popular around 2000, with even outdoor patio areas being somewhat rare before then. For the next decade, McFall Masonry constructed approximately two fireplaces each month.
The cost for these types of outdoor fireplace are very high. The construction process for a wood burning fireplace is structurally so sound that it’ll likely last longer than the home. Most outdoor fireplaces are approximately 12’ in height. The foundation is normally 30” deep and about the width and depth of the fireplace itself. These foundations are filled with rebar and concrete.
When looking at the fireplace, we usually see nice brick and stone work, but it’s the interior that’s important, with a complete structure of masonry beneath the exterior. The firebox has special fire brick and fire mortar, since using regular brick and mortar will break down and fall apart in time with so much heat.
These outdoor fireplaces are normally placed in an area that is quite visible, making the attractiveness as important as it’s use. Unfortunately what many people do not realize, is that the function is not really there. They certainly don't function like an indoor fireplace which can heat an entire floor of rooms. As soon as outdoor-heat leaves, the firebox will immediately begin to dissipate, and you won't get the advantage of feeling heat unless standing right next to the fire.
Often, a backyard is very small, and a 12’ tall fireplace with a TV installed above the mantle, benches, and walls extending from each side is not practical. McFall Masonry has developed a style much smaller, about 6’ in height, and more suitable for a smaller backyard. The cost is much more reasonable for budgets as well.
The trend of fireplaces has lessened in the past 5 years. McFall Masonry went from building two each month to only about 6 each year. Outdoor fireplaces simply are not as popular as they used to be. Now, what seems to replacing the outdoor fireplace is the fire pit, which you can see examples of on our website.
At McFall Masonry, we have been constructing fire pits for over 30 years. Fire pits have always been popular, but seem to have replaced the popular outdoor fireplace with the demand for several every month.
The cost of a fire pit is a fraction of a fireplace's cost, so they are much more budget-friendly. They are usually designed so concrete surrounds the fire pit, often with stone benches or just patio chairs. Many more people can sit around the fire pit to roast marshmallows and hot dogs, and enjoy each others company. As far as the heat, you can actually feel the heat just a bit more from a fire pit than a fireplace.