I have a paver patio with a natural gas fire pit made of stone. The bottom of the fire pit is pavers. The burner ring will sit approximately 6" from the pavers, maybe a little more. The pavers were not selected with a fire pit in mind; they could be ideal for heat resistance and fire pits, or they could be normal pavers which crack under temperature changes.

If I fill the pit with fire pit certified lava rock, will that spacing be safe? Will there be enough insulation to protect the pavers? If it will be unsafe, what should be done to mitigate that? Is there a material that will be better than lava rocks?

Some more information:

  • Assume that wind is not a big issue - the flames are not tall enough to get over the fire pit walls
  • Assume that the material won't erode away (it's kept contained)
  • I plan on minimizing exposure to the elements, keeping it covered when not hot/in use

Currently the plan is (bottom to top) pavers, ~6" of lava rock, burner, 2-3" of lava rock. Ultimately, I am wondering if this is safe enough.


1 Answer 1


I doubt enough heat will travel downward to damage the pavers, though you might consider a couple inches of sand below the lava rock as extra security.

Even if you crack a paver, is that a big deal? Keep a few extras on hand for when or if you move the heater.

  • You are correct, cracking the paver is not an issue, I just wanted to make sure that it was safe. Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:30
  • I wasn't clear on that. What's the safety concern?
    – isherwood
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:39
  • The safety concern is the possibility of the pavers breaking/exploding if under enough temperature change. Commented May 25, 2017 at 15:38

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