I’d like to build an outdoor cooking area and use wood as fuel. This area would be an elevated platform, 2-2.5 feet off the ground and about 6 square feet in surface area, to use with a grate and/or cast iron cookware. I planned to line the combustion area with fire brick.

This area will be exposed to the weather (e.g. sun, rain, snow, ice, freezing temps(0F/-18C)). I would like to use this in all seasons. I'm worried about moisture and heating wet/frozen bricks along with the freeze thaw cycle.

The fire brick I see in my area stores are geared toward fireplaces and wood stoves.

How well does fire brick stand up to the elements?
Will it last for more than a year or two? Is there an alternate?

  • Have you researched outdoor pizza ovens? I know people build them, but I don't have much ice and snow to deal with.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 15:57
  • 1
    if you're talking about insulating bricks, then you don't want them getting wet as they can soak up water. if they heat up faster than a tight pore or dirt will allow steam to escape, they can crack, flake, or even crumble. The freeze/thaw cycle with deteriorate them as well. You might be able to apply a thin coat of something on top of the bricks to protect them, but i would just use a lid, which you need for thick cuts of meat anyway.
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 17:00
  • @JPhi1618, I've seen the outdoor pizza ovens. That is too complicated for my idea. Think fireproof table to cook on. Something to create some coals without stooping to ground level.
    – B540Glenn
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:26
  • The fire bricks do not need to be exposed for them to do their job of retaining heat. You could cover them with a plate of steel, 1/8" or more. It needs to be "complicated" enough so that you do not have to build it TWICE.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 19:21

3 Answers 3


Normally fire brick is not exposed to weather. The fire brick is only used to line the interior of fireplace and the chimney. Actual fire brick is more expensive than ordinary brick. I expect fire brick would be as weather resistant as regular brick unless you mean a porous insulating brick which would absorb water.

  • I understand the expense. I have under 8 square feet to cover so it shouldn't be cost prohibitive.
    – B540Glenn
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:22

Never use fire brick exposed to the weather where it can freeze.

Fire brick is porous and it will absorb moisture, freeze, then expand and crack (spall).


Also, the mortar is the wrong type for exterior weather conditions.

There is high density fire brick, but is not common, used in chemical situations and is expensive.


I have built 3 outdoor barbecue’s each one had fire brick in the pit and lining the flu. One in Ohio and 2 In Oregon the last one is still used regularly after 17 years and is holding up fine. The first one in Ohio I was only there for 3 years but it was ok while we were in that house.

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