Is a Rusty Fire Pit Safe?

Rust in no friend to a fire pit. From just making your fire pit look old to rusted out holes that allow fire and ash to fall out, rust on your fire pit can be a problem.

A rusty fire pit is not safe if the rust is on parts that are protruding and can possibly scratch or cut someone. A rusty fire pit is also not safe if fire, embers, or ash are falling through rusted out holes. It is, however, okay to use a rusty fire pit if some of the pit is rusty and none of the previously mentioned problems are present. Burning a fire in a rusty fire pit is not hazardous in and of itself.

How does rust get on a fire pit

When you buy a metal fire pit, it may or may not be painted. Some metals, like copper, hold up better than others when heated and are exposed to different elements, such as water. This means that some fire pits will not rust easily while others will. Fire pits that are made of metal that will rust easily are painted with high temperature paint. This paint is intended to protect the metal underneath.

If you have had any experience with a fire pit, you know that the paint comes off of some spots after the first use. As a matter of fact, it may have some spots that are missing paint when you first open the box. The exposed, unpainted parts are where rust forms.

Rust forms on the exposed metal because of oxidation. Oxidation is a normal chemical reaction that occurs when metal comes into contact with oxygen. Other things, like salt and water, help to speed the oxidation process up.

The longer more unpainted parts of your fire pit are exposed to the air, the more rust you will have.

Even though fire pits are low maintenance, they do demand some effort to keep them in good shape. Particularly, they require steps to help avoid rusting. A fire pit will rust at different rates depending on factors, such as, construction quality, material, type of fuel used, and the method of storage.

A fire pit serves as an entertainment area outside your home. It can be subjected to harsh weather conditions if left outside when not in use. Without covering your fire pit, rain, ice, snow, and the sun will start taking their toll on it. Even if you buy the best fire pit available, it will suffer if left in inclement weather. If left unprotected for too long, the material used for construction will begin to deteriorate. The fire pit will start to look worn and slowly start to rust. Eventually the paint’s integrity on the fire pit will breakdown and large sections will start rusting..

Your best bet is to cover your fire pit when your not using it. If you own a portable fire pit, keep it safe by store it in a shed or garage. You should definitely store it indoors if you plan to leave home for awhile. Covering it or moving it indoors will extend the life of your fire pit, and will reduce the cost needed to maintain it. If you don’t already have a cover, you can find a suitable cover for your pit fire online or at a local hardware store.

How to clean a rusty fire pit

Cleaning a rusty fire pit is crucial if you intend to use it for a long time. If it is not properly taken care of, you will eventually need to scrap it. How you cleaning a rusty fire pit depends on the fire pit model and what material it is made of.

If you plan on cleaning your fire pit, you need to remove the ashes and debris from it. Before you begin, ensure that the ashes are completely free of fire. Be careful, ashes can smolder for hours after a fire is put out. Once you are sure the fire is out, then scoop the ashes out of the fire pit. Get a metal can and drop the ashes into it. Use water to douse the ashes.

Now, the next step you take to clean a rusty fire pit will depend on the material it is made of. For instance, if you are using a stone or masonry fire pit, you need to scrub the interior after removing the ashes – use a solution of one-part muriatic acid to ten-parts water as a cleaning agent. When you are finished scrubbing your fire pit, rinse it thoroughly with water. Leave it for two to three days to dry.  

If you own a steel or metal fire pit, the process is slightly different. After removing the ashes, you need to spray it with water to clean out any excess material. Then use soap and water to scrub it. Next, rinse it out with water again. Once you are done, turn it upside down so it can dry.

Here’s how to clean your rusty fire pit if it is cast iron. First, get rid of the ash and debris. Then gently scrub it with steel wool. Rinse it off with water. Finally, use a rag to dry it. 

It is also possible to clean a copper fire pit. As usual, remove the ash and debris first. If your copper fire pit has a coating, then spray the fire pit with a hose and clean it with soap and water.

If your copper fire pit doesn’t have a coating, you can use chemicals or natural solutions to clean it. With chemical cleaners, you can easily remove soot, tarnish, and patina, but they can be harsh on you and your fire pit. A natural cleaning solution can be made by combining one cup of salt with one gallon of vinegar. Simply put a piece of cloth into the cleaning solution and scrub the fire pit with it.

If you are using a gas fire pit, keep it clean with soap and water. Use small pieces of cloth to wipe the burner clean.

How to paint a rusty fire pit

Perhaps your fire pit is rusted and getting a new one is not in your budget, but you would like to spend some quality time with your family, roasting marshmallows, and making memories. Then there is a solution. All you need to do is revamp it with paint.

Repainting a rusty fire pit is not a difficult task. First, you should get a strong wire brush to scrub the fire pit. Try to remove all of the rust you can with the wire brush. Whatever you can’t remove with the brush should be removed with sandpaper.

Next, wash it with a hose and allow it to dry. Then, get high temperature paint and follow the direction on the can. Be sure that you spray the front and back, inside and outside, as well as the base and cover. This paint tends to dry faster and coat well. It is ideal for getting your rusty fire pit back into service quickly.

Will a copper fire pit rust?

Compared to cast iron, copper has a very high melting point, which makes it resistant to corrosion. It will take a very long time of repetitive use before a copper fire pit will begin to rust. It is rare to see a copper fire pit rusted. This is one of the qualities that make them ideal for outdoor use.

Will a stainless steel fire pit rust?

Stainless steel fire pits are quite expensive. One of the reasons why the price is on the high side is because of its rust-free durable material. A stainless steel fire pit can last for many years without rusting. However, it is worth mentioning that stainless steel is steel covered with a layer of chromium oxide. The chromium oxide layer can be affected by high temperatures. Continuous use under high temperatures can destroy the coating. The exposed steel will then be subject to rusting.

How to keep a fire pit from rusting?

Rust-proofing is recommended to increase the lifespan of your fire pit. The method you use to keep your fire pit from rusting will depend on the metal used for the pit bowl and the stand.

Most store bought copper and steel fire pits have a rust-proof coatings. However, if you want to enjoy your fire pit longer than usual, paints, oils, and silicone are all recommended to keep your pit from rusting. Use the following simple steps to rust-proof your fire pit.

Step 1: Determine the type of metal used for your fire bowl and stand. Visit your local store to get high heat, weatherproof spray paint designed for the type of metal your fire pit is made of.

Step2: Clear out the fire bowl and clean with a degreasing dish soap. You can also use shampoo and water. Use a towel to dry the metal. Ensure that you pay attention to the corners, screws, and other hidden areas.

Step 3: Paint the interior and exterior parts of the metal fire bowl, including the stands. Leave the paint to dry according to the instructions provided with the paint.

Step 4: Use a petroleum-based weatherproof oil to coat the exterior part, including the base of the metal fire bowl. Simply wipe the oil over the metal using a soft cloth.

Step 5: Use a vinyl cover to protect the top and sides of the fire pit to prevent condensation and other moisture from making contact with the metal when not in use.

Fire pits that won’t rust

Stone, brick, and concrete fire pits won’t rust. If you want a metal fire pit that will be very difficult to rust, then get made of copper, cast iron, or stainless steel.

Does fire burn off rust?

Technically, you can burn rust off if you have an extremely hot fire. The fire would have to be so hot that it melts the oxidized part of the metal. In any fire you have in your fire pit, rust will not burn off. The fire will not be anywhere close to melting the metal. If it does get that hot, you will have bigger problems then rust.

We can safely conclude that a rusty fire pit is not ideal. It will break down over time. By keeping your fire pit outside without proper protection against weather conditions, it will soon begin to show signs of corrosion. If proper care is not given to your fire pit, it won’t take long for it to rust badly. 

Clean your fire pit when necessary. If your fire pit is already rusted, use the methods explained above to restore it and protect it against the elements.