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Outdoor Fireplace Table – 5 Mistakes to Avoid


In this post, you will learn:

  • How an outdoor firepit table enhances your home decor
  • How a gas outdoor fire pit table can be a great home improvement project
  • Why an outdoor fire pit table extends your outdoor living window
  • How to avoid placement problems with your outdoor fire pit table
  • How to avoid choosing the wrong gas outdoor fire pit table
  • How to determine if a wood or outdoor propane fireplace pit is best for your outdoor living space
  • How to avoid buyer’s remorse
  • How a MagikFlame outdoor electric fireplace table is a clean, safe alternative

Installing an outdoor fireplace table is a growing trend among homeowners. With all of the options available, from a gas outdoor fire pit to a wood fire ring with a spark screen, it’s not difficult to find one that fits your outdoor lifestyle. Whether you’re planning a new home or a remodel, it’s a perfect time to add a fireplace to enjoy those endless summer days.

Before you take the leap into year-round outland living, educate yourself about safety, environmental, and placement issues that could turn your outdoor firepit into a money pit. Then, do your best to skirt costly problems by avoiding the following five major mistakes.

Outdoor Fireplace Table – Placement Problems

Avoid placement mistakes with some advance planning and good fire sense. Your first concern should be fire safety. Another issue is accessibility. Some unsafe placements to avoid include:

  • Under a canopy or roof: This creates a couple of problems. First, open fire pits outdoor may not burn very hot if the roof tampers with its oxygen supply. Another concern about placing a fireplace beneath a roof is that smoke and other toxic fumes may become trapped beneath. Finally, a wooden roof could catch fire, while a metal roof could deteriorate if creosote builds up.
  • Too close to anything flammable: According to the National Fire Protection Association, a square backyard outdoor fire table should be at least 10 feet away from anything flammable like your house and outbuildings, trees and shrubs, and wood fencing.
  • Fire pits outdoors too close to your property line: Be sure to observe local building codes when you decide where to place a fire bowl. Otherwise, smoke and ashes are likely to blow into next-door neighbors’ territory. Instead, avoid putting any type of combustive device – even a gas outdoor fire pit table – where emissions may annoy your neighbors. If you live in an area with a neighborhood association, check to see if they have any regulations regarding backyard outdoor fire pits.
  • On the uneven ground: If you want to put a gas outdoor fire pit or wood fire ring on a dirt surface, make sure the ground is flat and level. It’s a good idea to add a layer of weed-blocking fabric over the entire area around the pit where you plan to put seating to keep it free of plant matter. Then, add a generous layer of non-flammable material such as sand or gravel on top. If you don’t level and fireproof the fire pit area, you’ll end up with hazards like poorly contained sparks and the risk of tripping.
  • On flammable platforms: An outdoor firepit on a wood deck or patio? It’s just not a good idea. Even a stainless steel fire pit poses the risk of igniting the flammable wood directly beneath. If you have a brick, cement, or natural stone outdoor propane fireplace patio, a wood, or gas outdoor fire table is fine, as long as it’s far away from anything flammable. Avoid placing a tabletop patio fire pit on a wooden picnic table or plastic platform.
  • Near a high-traffic area: Bypass the mistake of putting your outdoor table with a fire pit near pathways or other high-traffic areas of your landscape. Even if you want to see the fire from your living room or kitchen window, resist the temptation. The best place to put it is out of the way so that one will walk too close to the flames.

Outdoor Fire Pit Table – Natural Gas, Wood, or Propane

Natural gas, wood, or propane? What about a portable electric patio heater? You have a wealth of choices when it comes to outdoor heating. Rather than buying that discounted steel fire ring on impulse, do your homework before making your purchase decision. As their popularity grows, more types of outdoor heaters become available, including:

  • Fire pit table: a piece of patio furniture, often with a tile top, that has a center cutout where you can light a fire
  • Fireplace bowl: a large, rounded container for wood or outdoor gas fire that sits on the ground
  • Fire ring: a portable metal sleeve that surrounds a fire, with or without a bowl
  • Fire column: a narrow column that sits on the ground/patio with a fire bowl on top
  • Tabletop fire pit: a small, portable metal or pottery bowl that contains a small fire
  • Outdoor fireplace

If you have a small backyard with a patio, you might opt for an outdoor fire pit table because it conserves space. Be aware, though, that entertaining at a gas fire pit table may not be ideal.

If you live in a windy area, you’ll have to deal with the smoke and sparks right in your face unless your unit has a glass wind guard. The fire will tend to heat cold drinks and snacks if you use it as an iced coffee table.

Plus, if you are hosting guests, you’ll have to converse through the flames of a square fire pit table like the Ventura, which can be difficult.

A backyard outdoor fire pit is a conventional heater. This one only requires a cleared and leveled area. You can also place it on a cement or brick patio base. The round outdoor fire pit design encourages people to gather for warmth and camaraderie. This type of fire container comes in lots of trending colors, from white to glacier gray. However, even with a spark screen, a fire bowl is subject to the vagaries of weather, such as wind gusts and rain.

If you want to enjoy a campfire experience, consider a fire ring. Designed to sit on the ground and keep embers and flames contained, it is about the closest you can get to a campout atmosphere during the endless summer nights.

You can place a bowl inside or line the inside area with lava rocks. The stones will absorb the heat from the fire and stay warm when the last embers have died. The downsides of a fire ring as the backyard outdoor fire pit include the risk of tripping since it sits low to the ground. Also, pets and wildlife are more likely to investigate the ashes and trail them around the yard. There’s the smoke and sparks to consider too.

Like a patio heater, a fire column offers a dramatic way to light up your nighttime get-together. It provides warmth and light in a relatively small area around it. Unless you are having an intimate dinner for two, you will likely need multiple fire columns sprinkled throughout your outdoor furniture to heat outdoor living spaces adequately.

Outdoor fireplace tables are permanent structures made of non-flammable materials like cinder blocks or brick. It has a chimney to draw smoke away from your seating area. A screen made of fire glass helps. Your neighbors won’t suffer from smoke and particulate irritation because the smoke will rise above their homes.

On the negative side, this type of structure may require the input of an architect, depending on the size and design of the structure you want. Usually, a home builder is on the scene when construction takes place. Unlike any of the portable solutions described above, building an outdoor table with a fireplace takes time, sometimes weeks. It is also your most costly option.

Choosing the Fuel for Your Outdoor Fireplace

For an outdoor heater, your primary fuel choices are wood or gas. Following are a few pros and cons of each.

Fuel Types and Their Pros and Cons

Wood pros:

  • Wood is readily available.
  • It’s the more traditional option for an all-around outdoor fire experience.
  • You can save money by cutting it yourself.

Wood cons:

  • You have to maintain a supply of seasoned firewood.
  • The smoke and emissions from wood fires may bother family members, guests, and your neighbors.
  • Wood is an ongoing expense over and above the cost of the fire pit.

Gas or liquid propane fire table pros:

  • Burns cleaner than wood.
  • You don’t have to process or replenish a gas supply.
  • It’s easy to start, adjust and enjoy your fire.
  • You have on-demand access to natural gas.

Gas or propane cons:

  • Produces toxic emissions.
  • The fuel cost fluctuates.
  • It doesn’t deliver the smell, sounds, or sparks of a wood fire.
  • You have to have a gas access line or propane tank
  • You may need to buy a conversion kit.

The outdoor patio fire table uses small propane containers hidden away within an interior tank holder, so you do not have to worry about a big propane tank and the possibility of an explosion. An outdoor electric fireplace table is typically not an option for an open-air environment. Some weather-resistant patio heaters are electric, though.

Choosing Unsuitable Materials for Your Outdoor Fireplace Table

Flammables like railroad ties or landscape timbers are unsuitable for building a firepit. Readymade fire pits come in a variety of non-flammable materials, such as:

  • Brick
  • Natural stone
  • Steel
  • Cast iron
  • Copper
  • Combination

Many premade outdoor propane fireplace options come with brick cladding or brick details. Because the brick makes the unit heavier, you probably won’t want to move it around much once you place it in its designated spot.

If you have the skills, you can build a masonry fire pit yourself, which you will likely place on a permanent spot. The brick doesn’t rust like some metals. It is prone to cracking, though, especially during exceptionally cold weather.

Natural stone is a great look for outdoor fire tables or a side table. Like brick, it is heavy, so place it in a dedicated location. Inside the pit, wood fires will eventually darken the stone with soot.

As the years go by, a steel fire pit resists corrosion, so it is outdoor hardy. Stainless steel is lighter than stone, so it lends itself to repositioning. Steel fire pits like the Endless Summer 30 come with a powder coating protecting the steel frame from harsh weather. Eventually, though, the coating wears away, making the steel more prone to rust outdoors.

A cast iron outdoor propane firepit has rustic good looks. It is also heavy, so even a visiting moose may have trouble knocking one over. One downside is iron’s tendency to rust once the coating wears away. Also, the weight of the iron makes repositioning your propane gas fire pit a daunting task.

A copper outdoor propane fireplace or ring adds a charismatic gleam to outdoor great room company parties. This metal offers exceptional durability and has a melting point of nearly 2,000 degrees F.

However, copper develops a greenish patina. You have the choice of cleaning your copper tabletop outdoor fireplace frequently to keep it shiny or embracing the patina for its weathered appearance. Also, beware that all metals absorb heat from the fire and become hot to the touch. This could put family and pets at risk of burns.

Backyard Outdoor Fire Pit – Buyers’ Remorse

Although a backyard outdoor fire pit sounds like a great idea at the time, think twice before you bring one home. Like exercise equipment, a fire pit may quickly lose its appeal and end up filled with dust and debris instead of cheery flames.

If any of the following is true for you, you may not really want or need a wood-burning fire pit:

  • Outside time is downtime; all you want to do is relax.
  • You live in a climate where you rarely need outdoor heating.
  • You are trying to cut down on utility bills.
  • You have small children or pets that could get burned.
  • You are away from home frequently.
  • Your yard is extremely small.
  • Your neighbors are very close.

Even an LP gas or butane outdoor fireplace table presents many of the above problems. Think carefully before making your purchase.

What is the Best, Fuel-Efficient, Environmentally Friendly Alternative?

Backyard recreational fires are not environmentally friendly. Toxic emissions and particulates from wood fires create particle pollution.

This can be especially problematic in cities already struggling with air quality issues. Natural gas fire tables burn cleaner than wood fires, but they are not emissions-free. When the wind blows your way, you could be breathing carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from your gas outdoor fire pit. It also releases greenhouse gases into the air.

Instead of dodging weather patterns, chopping wood, and breathing smoke, bring the party indoors. Your best alternative to a modern outdoor fireplace table is a safe, efficient infrared electric fireplace that mimics the look of a real flame.

The MagikFlame, an outdoor electric fireplace table, is a clean, zero-emissions alternative to a messy, toxic outdoor wood-burning fire pit or a gas fire table. You don’t even have to sacrifice one scintilla of the fireplace ambiance you love.

MagikFlame used Holographic technology to create a real flame effect. Each unit includes 30 different fire styles to choose from. Each MagikFlame outdoor table with a fire pit produces crackling log sounds just like you remember from childhood. Glowing embers nestle on a bed of realistic glass rock or ceramic logs. Cozy radiant heat from the quartz infrared heater warms the room quickly and completely.

Your interior designer can help you decorate an entire room around a MagikFlame wood surround. Each of the five freestanding models has decorative craftsman elements like crown molding and hand-carved corbels. They blend beautifully with virtually any style of interior design.

You can have your MagikFlame in place and running within hours. No leveling, ground clearing, or gas piping required. You won’t need a chimney or venting because the MagikFlame outdoor fire pit table produces zero emissions.

Your guests won’t inhale any smoke or toxins because there aren’t any. All you need to do is plug it into a standard outlet. Push-button controls make adjusting the fire a clear and simple process.

When your living room is crowded, you don’t need to worry about anyone brushing against the tabletop outdoor fireplace. It doesn’t get hot, so it presents no contact burn risk to children, adults, or pets.

It’s great for winter holiday gatherings, but what about those summer days when you want to be outdoors? You can still enjoy your outside living spaces all day long. You may even enjoy it more without smoke, sparks, and ashes to worry about.

Once the sun goes down, invite everyone to gather around your stunning outdoor fireplace table. You can turn the heater off, if you choose, and still enjoy the full ambiance of the flames.

Gel Fuel efficiency is an added bonus. Infrared heaters convert 100 percent of the electricity they use into heating. MagikFlame freestanding outdoor fireplaces and inserts produce 5,200 BTU, enough to warm up to 1,000 square feet. Despite this astounding heat output, the infrared quartz heater in every MagikFlame appliance uses less power than other similarly sized room heaters.

Remember, too, that an outdoor fireplace table has to work harder to produce enough BTU output, so it consumes more fuel than an indoor fireplace. It has to battle wind, rain, and snowfall.

Indoors, the MagikFlame outdoor fireplace tables reduce your energy use further by acting as an economical zone heater. Rather than heat your entire home – or the whole outdoors – simply close the doors to your unoccupied rooms and enjoy ample, cost-effective zone heating where you’re at from your MagikFlame.

Find out more by visiting the MagikFlame outdoor electric fireplace table buying guide. MagikFlame offers convenient online credit card purchases and financing too.

Contact the excellent customer service reps with any questions or concerns.

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